This is definitely one for the cat lovers. Last year, the walls and shutter of ‘For the Pets’ pet shop on East street were adorned with some ultra-cute animals painted by Roo – a difficult act to follow, but Taker One has taken up the baton and excelled.
There are three cats painted on the sides of the corner shop in a photorealistic style and using mono colour tints, creating a fabulous effect. The cats are absolutely gorgeous and full of character.
Each cat is painted in a different colour tone, but my brain doesn’t interpret this as in any way strange, they simply look like cats. These cats definitely deserved a permanent wall, and it is reassuring to know that they will be here, most likely, until the next Upfest.
Taker One is a mural artist from Hungary, and these cats add to his spectacular negative/positive portrait piece from Upfest 2016, which was a real hit. I sincerely hope that this extremely talented artist is able to return again to Bristol and wow us with his incredible art.
A noticeable difference between Upfest and the everyday street art scene in Bristol is the ratio of character pieces to graffiti writing. At Upfest I would guess that there are three character pieces to each graffiti writing piece, whereas on the street, it is much more like a 1:3, 4 or 5 ratio the other way round. This is just a brief explanation of why there are so many character pieces from Upfest on Natural Adventures.
This is a rather touching piece by Elf, featuring a creature cuddling a little baby. I don’t know much at all about the artist, but her full moniker is Elfkunst, which translated from the German means Elf art, so I guess she is German speaking (German or Swiss).
The work is eye-catching and beautifully presented. All the lines are neat and tidy. The little details and patterns bring the whole thing to life. Cute, cuddly creatures, with a touch of mystery and edge.
You get to meet an awful lot of colourful characters at Upfest, both participating artist as well as other visitors. One of my favourite people to meet is Octofly, a wonderful character artist from Italy. Octofly is always up for a chat and has an infectious cheerful disposition.
This is a witty piece featuring a dinosaur sipping on a cup of tea, entitled Tea Rex. To be witty is one thing, to be witty in a foreign language is next level. The whole piece on a rather slender board is delightfully well composed and sharp as anything. A really great piece from Octofly.
I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s Upfest, which was made even better by my daughter accompanying me on one of the days. It is the first time that any family member has shown any real enthusiasm for my passion and I felt very supported. Fortunately there was a really good mix of works in progress and completed pieces for my daughter to enjoy.
This gorilla piece from Jay Sharples is a classic piece of character street art. The background is in complete harmony with the portraits which are perfectly clean and crisp. It is always a pleasure to see his work when he visits Bristol for Upfest.
It will take me all year to post everything I want to post from Upfest, so you will have to be patient. I have to intersperse the Upfest pieces with the contemporary work that appears on the streets of Bristol every day. This is a wonderful piece from Koop, an artist I have seen a fair bit on the Festival circuit.
Korp creates these rather endearing creature characters – I think that they are worms – and this is quite the best one I have seen to date. There is something about the colours in this one that work so well. The feathers are beautifully worked and the whole piece is very neat and tidy with crisp, sharp lines. Look out for more from Korp, coming soon.
Diff is a Bristol street artist who is horribly under-represented on Natural Adventures, and although I have published a few of his pieces before, I still have several in my archives. I will have to dig them out. This most recent piece, for Upfest is a real winner in my view.
There is something rather tender and touching about the stencil piece, and the positioning and posture of the kissing characters is just about perfect. Young love beautifully captured in a contemporary way. Such a pity this piece was only on view for two days – perhaps he could recreate it somewhere else in Bristol… hint, hint.
It is obvious from many of my posts on Natural Adventures, that I like butterflies, and this outstanding piece from SoFreeSo is an absolute beauty. The Swiss artist specialises in dreamy portraits and butterflies, and her pieces really come to life through the eyes of her subjects.
There is a lot to like about this piece, the overall composition and colours work very well, especially on sunny days, and those drips are to die for. Interestingly, the incorporation of eyes onto the wings of butterflies is an idea created by mother nature (or evolution if you prefer), where many species of butterfly have developed ‘eye spots’ on their wings to mimic a larger, more scary animal and deter would-be predators.
I managed to bump into DJ Perks several times over the two days of Upfest this year, which is always a pleasure, and we swapped notes about some of the pieces being painted at the festival. This Popeye piece was DJ Perks’ official Upfest piece, but he did another quick one on the afternoon of the second day (to come).
DJ Perks is making great progress with his writing and character pieces, and this one featuring the spinach-eating sailor standing in front of some chiselled rocks spelling PE(R)KS tells a lovely story, the letters and the character being directly related tom one another. More great fun from DJ Perks.
Although Upfest was Highly populated with local artists this year, there were also at least twice as many who had travelled across Britain, Europe or the world to the city. Iain Macarthur is an illustrator from London whose work tends to focus around the deconstruction of faces/heads, of which this Upfest piece is a fine example.
This colourful piece explores what lies behind the face, and the answer here seems to be a tangled mass of blue and red organic tissue. Definitely an interesting study, and one that doesn’t present as gory or distasteful. A nice piece, well-designed for the tall, thin board.
This stunning piece, by Rosie Woods, is a little bit tucked away and perhaps overlooked by many, but in my view is one of the finest abstract pieces in Bristol at the moment. We were honoured to have Rosie Woods at Upfest, because although she grew up in London, she now lives in Australia, and that is one hell of a trip… perhaps she was over in Europe visiting relatives and painting at a variety of festivals/commissions.
The colours, depth and textures in this piece are seductive and compelling… it is really sumptuous. I have looked at a lot of Rosie Woods’ work on the Interweb, and am definitely a big fan. I very much hope that she will pay us a visit again, if ever she makes it over to the UK again.