I think this is the one, my favourite piece of Upfest 2018. The reason this works so well for me is that I have long admired this wall for all its textures and character and have photographed it before when it had no graffiti at all (I have searched through my pictures, but can’t find the ones I have taken here in the past, which is really annoying).
The artist, Kowse One, is not even mentioned in the Upfest programme, and this certainly isn’t an official wall, but he did work on a fabulous collaboration with Braga Last One ( to come). I think he comes from Marseille, but beyond that I know little of him.
The piece itself is perfect in every way. The use of the rendered part of the wall and its juxtaposition with the bare brickwork, the colours used contrasting so well with the surrounding, the accomplished portrait work and the lettering on the face reflecting some of the tags nearby make this an enchanting and exciting piece. There is some real edge and brilliant improvisation. I love it, I love it.
I really could kick myself sometimes. I never actually got a final picture of this piece by J. Sharples, because I think that I had assumed that I had already got one. The best I have is the feature image of the artist still at work but nearing completion.
The piece is very similar in style and subject to the fabulous work that he created for Upfest 2017. This time there are two gorillas in bold pink and blue colours in a highly stylised form, and splendid they are too. Always great to see work from this artist.
To celebrate 10 years of Upfest (I can’t believe I have only been to three of them) D7606, a wheatpaster and I guess unofficial artist at the festival scattered ten paste up balloons, each with a famous face, high up on the main streets of Bedminster.
These are the first two that I found, one with Twiggy and the other with Elizabeth Taylor. Finding each was like a prize, and the hunt was great fun. I bumped in to D7606 several times over two days and as ever, he was very happy to talk about his work and experiences.
I love the addition of a string to each of the balloons which was loose and able to blow around in the breeze. D7606 told me he had to paste them high up, so that they didn’t get pulled down. Several of them have gone already, but not to trophy hunters, rather, they have been pasted over with new advertisements. These balloons were a worthy addition to the 10th Upfest…hats off to D7606.
Sticking very well to the Simpsons theme of this year’s Upfest was this vibrant piece by Bao, a featured artist for the festival, on one of two prominent walls. I believe this is the first time this particular wall has been used at Upfest, and although a good wall, it is a devil to photograph, being a parking spot for shoppers on North Street.
Bao is from Hong Kong, and she has travelled the world plying her trade. Her pieces are filled from top to bottom in a cartoon style with a ton of detail and little scenes to look at. Here Bart is having some kind of dream maybe, with multiple images of him and of his environment. I love the Simpsons sofa and cat in the centre of the piece. A wonderful work.
I round off the first 10 Upfest 2018 posts with this rather nice little shutter piece by Silk Crystal, which was one of at least two ‘extras’ that accompanied his official Upfest piece. This happens a lot on North Street, and I would think that probably upwards of 40% of shutters there have been enhanced by Upfest artists over the years.
Silk Crystal is a silk screen and street art company that operates around the North Devon coast and works a lot to commissions. This particular piece chimes for me with its marine theme (a lot of these this year) and certainly improves the shutter – now to get to work on the rest of the shop’s appearance!
I have seen a few pieces by Bristol artist J. West around the place and posted two or three of them on this blog in the past. He is an animator turned artist and much of his inspiration has come from a spell working at Bristol Zoo Gardens and from David Attenborough TV shows.
I haven’t seen too much of his work, but that which I have seen appears to be bilaterally symmetrical and this Upfest piece is no different. I am sorry that I didn’t stop to talk to him because I think we probably share inspirations, but he looked pretty busy, and it is never easy chatting to people with a mask on.
I will keep looking out for his distinct style of work, but for me, this piece I think is my favourite that I have seen so far.
Jimmer Wilmott is one of the warmest and most welcoming artists I have met. On the two occasions I have been fortunate enough to cross paths with him he has exuded enthusiasm from every pore, and his rather quirky and fun-loving personality is reflected in his pop surrealist art.
It was great to see him at work at Upfest and to witness one of his ‘canvasses’ come to life – I have seen many of them on Instagram, but none ‘in the flesh’. Seeing the layers and the brush work during its genesis and then the final painting was a privilege. The last time I saw him he had created an eyeball using spray cans at Dean Lane skate park.
I think he got a bit carried away during our conversation and was inviting me to go with him to the Cheltenham street art Festival and paint with him. I had to remind him that I have no artistic talent and a total of 2 hours spraying experience. I am however tempted.