It is only a few months ago that The Bearpit was a street art hub, and very much a ‘go to’ destination for street art tours and hunting in Bristol. But then the Council stepped in, painted all the walls with anti-graffiti paint, cleared out all the containers and a double decker bus that had been a cafe, but once closed became a squat.
It was as if the graffiti and street art was symbolic of the squallor and so it had to go. In my view it was the chronic homelessness problem in Bristol that was responsible for the decline in amenity value and increase in anti-social behaviour, but the Council know best and have created a sterile space.
Nothing happens there any more. No more artists, no more skateboarders, no more gardeners – it is a joyless place. I wonder where they have shifted the homeless people to. I know a bunch of them live in the underground car park near my work.
One of the last pieces I photographed there was this wonderful wheatpaste by French artist Tian, which was one of a series of wheatpastes he left us in and around the Stokes Croft area last spring. I guess on his next trip to Bristol he’ll have to give The Bearpit a wide berth.