Architecture / Creativity / Design / History of Art / Uncategorized / undergraduate

Untitled by Fintan Magee

fintan magee


My personal favourite Nuart piece is the untitled graffiti work done by Fintan Magee in 2017, just off Loch street. A world travelling artist with Scottish origins, Fintan Magee has been referred to as Australia’s Banksy by some news reporters due to his dreamy but politically charged graffiti murals. He is unspecific about the meaning of his piece in Aberdeen, simply stating that his work is generally a merging of personal memories and social issues.

In immediate analysis of the work, it provides a splash of colour against the grey backdrop of the buildings surrounding it. The vivid blue and warm red colours used in his mural are primary colours which contrast with each other, making it even more noticeable against the neighbouring colourless granite flats and shopping centres. The piece depicts three children standing in the rubble of destroyed buildings, where green plant shoots are beginning to press their way up through the dishevelled mortar. There is a careful attention to details in the use of light and shadow, exaggerating the folds of clothing, skin tones, and texture of the bricks. It is not made explicit by the artist, but I would interpret the meaning of the mural to be related to the concept of rebirth from disaster. The bricks in the background are smudged with grey and ashy, giving connotations of catastrophe. The most recent large tragedy in the local community has been the collapse of the oil industry. Perhaps this figurative collapse is what the rubble represents more literally in this mural. However, the lighting glinting on the skin and shoes of the children indicates a new sun rising, which creates an atmosphere of warmth and hope. The new growing plants hint at nature reclaiming her space in an industrial area and the possibility of new life, which the Nuart festival along with various other artistic ventures is bringing Aberdeen in the wake of the oil crisis.

The texture is especially interesting as the painting red bricks are sprayed onto a cement wall above a physical brick wall, playing with the idea of art mirroring reality. Magee also plays with physicality, using the architecture of the building he paints on to physically split the image in two, adding a third dimension to the painting. The location is also meaningful, as it is on a street nearby Aberdeen College where a new generation like the ones featured are building new lives of their own, not centred around the oil industry. All in all, it is a thought provoking and uplifting mural which brings character to an otherwise utilitarian area of Aberdeen.


One thought on “Untitled by Fintan Magee

  1. What a fabulous formal analysis that also considers the image in relation to its surroundings….I like the connection with the nearby Aberdeen College that you pointed out.

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