A MYSTERY Scottish artist has placed almost 2,000 padlocks across the country as part a project to encourage free love.
An Aberdeen artist, known only as Dymagate, has hidden his Freelove Padlocks and their keys in his home city, Dundee, Glasgow and London.
Most of the locks – decorated with a love heart – have been attached to railings in public areas.
The lucky finders use the keys to remove the padlock which they are encouraged to keep.
Among the messages on the padlocks are “Free Love,” “Have some free love, you deserve it,” “Care a little more, it feels lovely” and “Take me if you need me.”
In a rare interview, the anonymous artist said he was inspired by a trip to Europe.
He said: “I came across lots of street art.
“I’ve always wanted to contribute but never felt I was an artistic.
“I didn’t know what my thing was, but two weeks later I bought some pens and started drawing everything.”
He explained that he created the first Freelove Padlock by accident.
He said: “My mum phoned me to tell me my little brother and his girlfriend were expecting a baby.
“When we were on the phone I started to doodle on a padlock I had picked up.
“I drew a heart on the front and a message on the back and the Freelove Padlock was born.”
Dymagate decided to start placing the padlocks around Aberdeen to see what people thought of his work.
He said: “I put the padlock, with the keys attached on a wire fence in the city centre.
“I did it in the hope that someone who needed it might stumble across it and the next day it was gone.
“I uploaded the photo of the padlock to Instagram and the response was brilliant, it spurred me on to share more.”
So far there have been over 1,500 padlocks hidden in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
He has also left over 300 in Glasgow, 30 in Dundee and one has been spotted in London’s Hyde Park.
The project has also become popular on various social media sites including Instagram, Tumblr and twitter, as #padlockbombing, with people finding the locks and posting messages about their discovery.
Aberdeen University Student, Debbie Finlayson, took to Tumblr to post a photo and a message about finding her padlock.
She wrote: “Look what I found on the way to work! I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to stand under pouring water for 5 minutes to get it 🙂 still so #happy!”
Another Aberdeen resident who found a padlock in the city Tweeted her photo of the padlock.
The woman, named Kirsty, wrote: “Finding this has made my day!”
Dymagate explained: “I like the idea of someone who really needs it finding one, and having a spring in their step and a story to tell.”
Dymagate remains anonymous just like English graffiti artist Banksy.
Banksy specialises in satirical graffiti that appears in various places mainly across London.
In March this year, a small collection of Banksy’s work sold for £400,000 at an auction in the English capital.
In Rome, on Ponte Milvio bridge, a similar padlock project has been happening over the past six years.
Thousands of visitors come every year to the bridge to leave love padlocks with messages and throwing away the keys.
However, in September this year council authorities in Rome were ordered to remove the padlocks to protect the ancient structure.
Dymagate continues to hide more of the padlocks around Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire every week.