Iain MacArthur is an artist and illustrator based in London who only occasionally paints street art pieces, mostly focussing his efforts on designs for t-shirts and skateboards etc. (so his Upfest biography tells me).
This is a really interesting and somewhat challenging piece that shows a cut-away black and white face with a host of colourful strands bursting out like ideas or thoughts. The whole piece has a distinctive illustrative style, and the circles with the little motif inside them are particularly striking. I’d be interested in seeing more from Iain MacArthur.
I love wheatpastes (in case you hadn’t noticed) and at Upfest 2018 we were blessed with a series of poignant and thought provoking stencil paste ups by About Ponny. I was particularly moved by these small scenes, each one depicting the marginalised or forgotten, the vulnerable or neglected.
This one, produced in sepia tones, shows two small children sheltering under a small basket, and has overtones of iconic images from the Vietnam or Cambodian conflicts. There is so much emotion and sadness and pity captured in this image. Really, truly this is an outstanding piece of art.
Inkie is no stranger to Upfest, nor indeed to the streets of Bristol, and this piece sitting above a burner he turned out in 2017 is a festival classic, and has a strong connection with the piece he did for Upfest 2016 also featuring Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
This piece combines the tools of the trade both for Inkie and for the draftsman and engineer, both local heros in their own field.
I think that Inkie does a great job for Upfest every year, and isn’t at all shy abut shouting out the Upfest brand at every opportunity.
From recollection, I think that Inkie didn’t quite manage to finish this wall during the festival, and I had to return some days later to get some pictures of the completed work. Well worth the wait though.
It seems I am drawn to the amazing work of Bex Glover, having recently shared two new pieces by her in Bristol. This was her Upfest 2018 piece and is neatly tucked away in the Hen and Chicken pub back yard and can still be viewed (having had a reprieve due to the absence of a festival this year).
Bex Glover’s elegant style is instantly recognisable and thoroughly accessible. Usually a natural/wildlife theme drawn out with simple clean lines and a colour palette that is so very easy on the eye and consistent between pieces. I am a big fan of her work and this is another example of her enormous talent.
Some artists got lucky (deservedly so) at Upfest 2018, receiving more than one wall to paint, and L7M was one of them. This is the second wall that I have written about, and both of them are absolute beauties.
In both of his Upfest works he featured delicate hummingbirds so full of movement. It is interesting to see how this piece looked during the painting process and how it developed into the finished article. A truly magnificent piece on one of my favourite Upfest locations.
Over the course of the three day Upfest street art festival, visitors are treated to a huge display of artistic talent, which includes a some exceptional stencils, most of which are allocated these meter square boards at the St Francis church location. This extraordinary four or five layer stencil is by midlands self-taught artist RJ77 (there is hope for me yet).
This mysterious image is rather compelling and looking at it I want to know more. What’s the story? Is it simply a pose or is there more going on? I am a bit of a sucker for these monochromatic stencils, and I’ll have to look out for more from RJ77.
One of my biggest regrets of Upfest 2018 is that there were a few outstanding pieces that I never saw in their finished state, including this perfect collaboration between Braga Last1 and Kowse.
I’m afraid you’ll have to make do with work in progress shots as that is all I have (first world problems huh?), but I think you get the idea of just how great this piece is even from these pictures. Braga Last1 has been a regular at Upfest and always turns out brilliant work, quite often containing a self-portrait. Kowse’s other piece at Upfest 2018 I think was probably my favourite of the whole festival, so having these two together is a dreamy collaboration.
There are several oblique references to The Simpsons in this piece, the Homer skull, Krusty haircut and clown’s nose and a Simpsons fish… there may be more. All in all a wonderful collaboration from two extremely talented artists.