A Dundee businessman has offered his office building as a “blank canvas” for graffiti artists in a bid to “inspire change” in the city.
Derek Mawhinney bought Dunsinane House back in June with plans to turn the premises on Kilspindie Road into offices.
He told at the time how he had been sacked from a company based in the same property a decade earlier.
Working alongside graffiti artist Adam Milroy, he has now handed over the outside of the building to artists from Dundee and beyond, as part of the Dundee Graffiti Jams annual event.
Derek – who bumped into Adam while he worked on the Tay whale Waterfront mural – said: “I just asked him why we’d never seen nice graffiti like in American and Germany in Dundee, and he said there had never been a landlord daft enough to give him a whole building to do.
“It was just at the point I had bought Dunsinane, and I kind of thought it was an ugly building as it was anyway.
“I said I might have something that might be of interest and we got chatting from there – and we decided we’d do it.”
A group of artists got together at the weekend to start giving the building a makeover.
It is hoped that more artists will visit the city and have an opportunity to add to the artworks.
Derek said: “I think as the building adapts and grows, some of these original pieces will stay, but certainly as most artists visit the city, we’ll start to see more and more pieces done that will stay forever.
“It’s by invitation only, it’s not a case of people being able to just come up and spray.
“The building is for the people and it’ll grow and develop as they work at it, so I think it’s something that will inspire people as well.”
Derek now hopes his idea will help to spark more creativity locally.
He said: “I’d love to see more of it in Dundee, we’ve got such a big art community but it’s almost as if we don’t embrace it.
“I think we need to embrace it more and I hope that this small building in Dunsinane can inspire so much more change.
“I hope that this is the start of something quite spectacular for the city.
“What I really did was provide a blank canvas for guys to go out and do their thing, we really didn’t have much of a sway on what they did or how they did.
“I’ve always had this desire to see Dundee with a bit more colour and a bit more light.
“The building was very clinical, very boring and I just didn’t like the feel of it, whereas now it’s starting to feel like something and it’ll stand out of the crowd – and hopefully be a really nice place for people to come and work as well.”
Adam, who is a tattoo artist, said: “Every year we host the Dundee Graffiti Jams, it’s actually the longest running annual event of its kind in Scotland.
“When Derek came to me about Dunsinane House I took one look at it and thought, ‘we could host the jam up here’.
“As far as I’m aware, there’s not been anything organised to this level on one building on this side of the country.
“It was just like a big climbing frame where we could paint anything we wanted, it was absolutely amazing.”
Adam says Dundee has begun to make a name for itself in the graffiti scene.
He said: “Dundee has a very rich history of graffiti art, but only recently with the exposure of street art, graffiti has been getting more recognised as a sort of art form.
“It’s good to have an opportunity to not just showcase our work, but to send the message that it does require skill, technique and creativity, just like any other art form.
“Now we’ve got an entire building in our city covered in it, people will have an opportunity to go and take it all in.
“All I can say is credit to everyone that was involved. I bust the gut behind the scenes, with the help of Derek this year too, but it’s the people that take part that matter most – without them we’ve got nothing.”