Kelburn Castle Graffiti Project

Some time ago we heard about the Graffiti Project at Kelburn Castle in Fairlie, Ayrshire, and decided that we had to stop off there on our Muddy Marathon.

To put you in the picture, Kelburn Castle is home to the tenth Earl of Glasgow and is said to be the oldest castle in Scotland to have been continuously inhabited by the same family. When experts advised that the castle’s walls would soon need to be re-rendered, the Earl’s two children, Dave and Alice, saw this to be an excellent opportunity to do something a little different and, earlier this year, enlisted the help of four Brazilian graffiti artists to do a collaborative piece of work on the castle walls.

The result is astounding.

Kilburn Castle Graffiti Project.

We were worried that the grey November Scottish sky and the steady drizzle would dampen the whole effect but, on the contrary, we decided that seeing it at this time of year was even better than seeing it in the sunshine as it compounded the contrast between the modern, urban art form and its ancient, rural setting.

Graffiti montage.

Impressive from a distance, but even more delightful up close: the amount of detail they manage to get with a spray can is just amazing. We stood there for ages, just looking up, trying to spot which artist did which bit and wondering how on earth they managed to link it all together

Emma looking up at the graffiti.

Apparently, all the artists and organisers lived together in the castle for about a month, sharing and exploring ideas, and the project attracted an amazing amount of media attention. The BBC even came out to document the progress of the project – starting with a last-minute rush to white-wash the walls to make a ‘canvas’ for the artists – and the feature was broadcast on The Culture Show. While we were there, a good few months after the project was completed, Dave was still fielding calls from journalists!

The Graffiti Project will be up for another couple of years, at which point the re-rendering work will be done and the castle will be returned to its normal state. However, Dave is now turning his hand to other ventures and is building a reputation for putting on great parties and music festivals at the castle. Like any big building or estate, it is, no doubt, a constant struggle to maintain and upkeep the castle, so it is wonderful to see a new generation of ideas and enthusiasm at work.

We highly recommend that you go and see the Graffiti Project for yourselves if you are ever near Glasgow. If you have children, there are plenty of other things going on in the castle grounds to keep them occupied.

In the meantime, take a look at this: