2113. Upfest 2018 (140)

This is a really interesting small piece by Bristol/Bath artist Harry Grech who I understand from his Bio has a passion for using spray paint. I don’t think he does much street work, or if he does I haven’t seen any which is more the pity because this is magnificent.

Harry Grech, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Harry Grech, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

A wonderful blend of a classical subject and modern a modern style combine to create something quite special and fairly unique. I didn’t see the artist at work so am not sure what technique was used, but it looks like a stencil which might have been oversprayed with the angular sections… so difficult to tell. It would be great to see more of his work.

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2112. Upfest 2018 (139)

This was my favourite wall from Upfest 2018 and it was the first time it had been painted by street artists. I love it that every year, the organisers of the festival find new places for artists to paint, especially as these pieces on permanent walls live long after the festival ends.

Michel Velt, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Michel Velt, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

This is a gorgeous collaboration between Michel Velt and Elafil. The stunning portrait is bt Michel Velt, an artist from the Netherlands. I cannot tell you how much I admire this piece, it has such life and emotion in it – I feel like I could speak to the woman portrayed. Beautiful without being over-photorealistic if you know what I mean.

Elafil, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Elafil, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

Elafil painted probably my favourite piece of the 2018 festival and here he gives us a little extra piece of 3D writing just for good measure. It is clear he had some paint left over from his piece in South Street Park to use in this fine collaboration. I love, love , love this wall.

Elafil, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Elafil, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

2111. Upfest 2018 (138)

I have always had a soft spot for Loch Ness’ work, but even more so since he gave me my first spray painting lesson last May. This rather trippy piece the pub garden of the Steam Crane is bright, colourful and slightly peculiar.

Loch Ness, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Loch Ness, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

I must have taken the picture after Upfest itself as during the festival this garden is absolutely heaving and taking clean shots of this wall is near impossible. The piece features a kind of skeleton on its side, although I actually think that the wall is on its side, because the drips go from left to right. In order to see the piece as it really is, I have turned the photograph 90 degrees and hey presto! you can see it much more clearly.

Loch Ness, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Loch Ness, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

Always great to see work from Loch Ness.

2110. Upfest 2018 (137)

This distinctive mural is by Danish artist No Title. From his biography in the Upfest programme we are told that he is influenced by organic natural structures and the systems of the body. Well this piece certainly runs true to form then.

No Title, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
No Title, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

The simple two-tone scheme lends itself to picking out the details of the piece and works as a kind of reverse silhouette. Interesting work, full of symbolism.

2109. Upfest 2018 (136)

When I first saw this piece by Marvin or Marlon it was partially covered by a canopy to protect it from the rain/sun and as a result all I could see was the frog. It wasn’t until I returned the following day that I could see the frog in the context of the whole picture.

Marvin or Marlon, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Marvin or Marlon, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

This is a very clever stencil, with a black and white section showing a shopping trolley abandoned in a wetland and to the right a contrasting full colour stencil of a tree frog. The picture tells a story of environmental degradation and the beauty of nature that is compromised.

Marvin or Marlon, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Marvin or Marlon, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

The star of the piece though must be the frog, although my photograph doesn’t even begin to do it justice. Another cracker from Marvin or Marlon at Upfest.

2108. Upfest 2018 (135)

At the launch of the ‘Cannon Fodder’ show last Friday I was lamenting the lack of wheatpaste artists in Bristol with Jimmer Willmott. It was Kid Crayon’s brilliant wheatpastes dotted around the city that inspired me to write about street art in the first place, but he has moved away from the form. However, what was very exciting was that Jimmer said he was thinking about doing some… now that would be amazing.

The exception to the rule occurs during upfest, when wheatpasters descend on North Street and festoon walls and lamp posts with their paste ups. One of the frequent visitors I look forward to each year is Face the Strange, and who can blame me with pieces like this one?

Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

Face the Strange challenges the viewer by presenting ordinary images, often models from magazines, that have had major head surgery. This bizarre piece combines a suited worker with a seahorse… but of course why not? I am a big fan of this kind of distortion, particularly when combined with marine life. Fun.

2107. Upfest 2018 (134)

Well here’s a whole box of fun from Boaster… a little bit too much fun perhaps. I love the style of this piece, and it reminds me a little of the imaginative creations that 3Dom produces from time to time. A wild cartoon-style reimagining of a crate.

Boaster, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Boaster, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

No stranger to Upfest, Boaster produced a posh monocle-wearing blue whale in 2017, and he obviously enjoys stretching the things we see around us and giving them new identities or personalities. A really enjoyable and humorous piece, definitely one for the quirky surrealists.