Pulling Faces & High Fives With Fakanapan

After a busy month working with new and old friends it was nice to make the acquaintance of the mighty Fanakapan!


As many will know the planning for a mural can sometimes have a lead in time of months and certainly its more often the case with Nuart Aberdeen as the team both in Aberdeen and abroad work out the logistics for each artist, an even more troublesome affair due to travel restrictions and ever changing guidelines. Also the diminishing availability of smooth, non granite walls in the city centre has thrown up some challenges (we’ve painted most of them!) so this years productions were always going to be a challenge. But sometimes the perfect wall crops up just in time for the perfect artist and the NHS Health Clinic on Gerard Street proved to be a perfect example.


Over the past decade Fanakapan has worked hard to carve out his own path in the street art world with his unique metallic balloon artworks. If you take a trip to the star yard in London you’ll often find a new piece by him. Indeed he’s one of the few artists who continues to paint in the streets, venturing out with just some cans and a ladder.  There’s also a simplicity to the work, free and floating off the wall but there’s layers to it too, both in process and execution. Something that seems at first quite simple is actually full of meaning and has often come from months of research and development, or maybe it’s all just hot air!


When we saw the design for his Aberdeen wall we knew it was going to be a big hit with the NHS staff. Just before arriving in Aberdeen Fan was busy finishing off a new piece in London calling for a pay rise for NHS staff, a piece which took over a month to finish due to a broken wrist. It not just balloons rising up we had to consider when working but Fanakapan but also his extracurricular pursuits like base jumping which led to said broken wrist! Although not 100% fixed Fanakapan was able to work around his injuries and pushed through the pain to get his wall finished in 4 days.

On his first day in the city we took Fanakapan for a tour around some of the other artworks and introduced him to KMG’s giant Ken on Palmerston Road. He was impressed by the scale of Katie’s piece but also her pink balloon tribute to Fan’s work. He was so taken by it that he spoke to KMG about adding one of his metallic balloons to the end of the string creating a collaboration of sorts. Finishing his other wall meant we had a few days to fill so phone calls were made and Fanakpan set about creating a reference image for his second piece for Nuart Aberdeen.


Over the course of a day we watched as Ken’s reflection slowly emerged from a giant 5 balloon, a literal high five, both to KMG and to the people of Aberdeen. It’s a brilliantly simple visual metaphor but it’s hard not to be impressed by Fans ability to create 3D looking effects from spray paint and photos. We’d swear he’s using silver paint but not a metallic can in sight. The piece was finished in 6 hours and capped off the day with a slap up feast from The Pigs Wings and a few celebratory drinks in the garden before sending Fanakan off home to finish setting up his new studio space.


It’s been a pleasure to welcome Fanakapan and all the artist’s to Aberdeen where they’ve each left their mark on the city but also on new friends. Hopefully we can all continue to laugh and pull faces while Fanakapan continues he quest for the illusive metallic pink unicorn balloon!


Thanks for everything Jay 🙂 🙂 🙂

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