Yardworks has arrived. Our first festival, back in 2017, was Scotland’s largest gathering of graffiti and street art, with over 125 international and local artists presenting their work across 400 metres of walls, outlining the draw and demand for public works of this kind.
With an almost word-of-mouth online presence, our first festival felt like an overnight sensation, with over 4000 visitors making their way down to the Galvanizers Yard for an outdoors celebration.
One of the highlights was the inaugural installation the highly popular graffiti maze, letting people truly get lost in the art. An impressive construction spanning 200 metres of concrete and steel sheeting, it provided a smooth surface perfect for intricate art and design. The audience also loved pieces including Bart Smates and Steve Locatelli’s Vultures, on stacked containers, and Smug’s skeleton and bird gable end.
Across the festival we held a series of workshops for anyone to flex their creative skills, inspired and guided by some of the most talented artists around. Amongst many others, this included Sketching Graffiti Characters, by Mr. Vues Oner, Upcycled Sculptural Art by Barry Neeson, and Sign Painting & Hand Lettering by Ciaran Glöbel.
About Yardworks Festival
Since launching in 2017, it’s safe to say the word is now very much out, with the annual Yardworks festival now attracting the global elite of the street arts and graffiti scene. Highlights so far have included the graffiti maze (200 metres of super smooth concrete and steel, painted live in front of the audience), Mia McGregor’s global-participation art project Cubes, a talk from author, photographer and subway artist Martha Cooper, and the commissioning of the huge, Classical-art-inspired mural by PichiAvo that you see today in our Galvanizers.
Then there’s the guests. 2019’s international artist list included Smug, Does (Netherlands), Insane51 (Greece), Saturno (Spain), Mr Baker (Germany), Balstreom (Denmark), Wellin (Denmark). From the UK, we had Voyder, Rogue, Mark Worst, Gent, Ziner, Bonzai, Sled, Soda, Curtis Hylton and Philth.
For local artists, it’s a chance to learn from the best, meet their heroes, and get inspired by what people are doing elsewhere. For the audience, it’s a weekend of witnessing murals being created live, from scratch, in front of you, child-friendly art workshops and activities, or just drinking it all in with a pint and street food in hand. For Glasgow, it’s a visual celebration of the city’s artistic ambition, its style, and the importance it places on nurturing — and sharing — the joy of creativity.
Outside of the festival, it puts the city on the map as a stomping ground for international artists, who drop in to SWG3 year-round to mark a piece of our territory in their own inimitable style. For local artists, it represents something absolutely essential to the community: a place to express themselves in a safe and legal space.