One of the first pieces that I recall from Upfest 2018 is this magnificent hummingbird by L7M, a very well-known artist originally from São Paolo who first picked up a can at the tender age of 13. Obviously practice makes perfect.
The vibrancy and movement in ther piece is remarkable, and the hummingbird itself is absolutely stunning. L7M was one of the featured artists last year and we certainly got our money’s worth as he did another excellent piece a little further down North Street (to follow).
Many years ago I recorded a Supertramp concert from the the TV, using a cassette recorder and microphone pointed at the TV speaker…it was how we did things in those days. My brother was having a small party of teenage friends on the same evening, so my recording was polluted with the sounds of a party going on in the background. When I played the recording back, I heard one of my brother’s friends exclaim ‘wow wee!’ at the start of one of the songs (he obviously liked it), and to this day, I can still hear that boy’s voice in my head, and do so every time I say wow wee. This digression is relevant only in that when I saw this brilliant piece by Peter Sheridan at last year’s Upfest, the voice in my head said ‘wow wee!’.
This was absolutely one of my firm favourites from the festival. There is so much to like… the composition, the colours, the perspective and the brilliant execution. Even the observation of how the bark on this particular type of tree looks (similar to a silver birch or cherry bark). An absolute belter, and for comparison, I have included his unflattering but brilliant piece depicting Teresa May (boo) and Pokeman Go in 2016.
With this wheatpaste we enter the complicated world of large corporates ripping off the work of street artists to use as a backdrop for marketing their goods without acknowledgement or payment to the artists. This is a long-standing and difficult issue and one that is becoming more of a conflict zone as street art becomes more and more popular. This article on the BBC website explains it really well.
Face the Strange and many other artists ran a campaign highlighting a particularly high-profile marketing strategy by clothing company BooHoo after they had featured work by Bristol’s own SPZero76 and Kid Crayon amongst others on some London walls without bothering to identify or contact the artists. It is clear from this paste up that this kind of corporate behaviour is unpopular and that payments/acknowledgment should be made to the artists.
This is a minefield if you venture into it too far, so I tend to keep to the periphery of the discussion, for example it has the potential to bring legal protection of potentially illegal activity and how do we square that one? I just wish people would treat others with respect and decency, I think that is all most people are expecting.
I am really taken with this piece and could look at it all day, there is something I find most engaging about it…perhaps it sings to the biologist in me. The artist Decimart is from Jerez de la Frontera in Spain and appears to travel around for his work.
I am most pleased that I managed to get pictures of the piece at different stages of its development, but am sorry that I missed out on meeting the artist himself. This was a particularly tricky spot to work in, especially on the Saturday, because of the high winds that funneled through this space. In fact some of the boards, including this one, had to be secured more firmly in place or they would have blown away.
In spite of the wind and rain, Decimart has managed to produce one of my favourite pieces of the festival. I would dearly love to see him make a return in the future.
I have just taken a good long hard look at this piece by Harpoart prior to writing about it and the thing that screamed out at me was how much this looks like a stained-glass window study. It turns out on doing a little research on the Interweb that he is not only a street artist, but is also a stained glass maker.
Harpoart has created this stunning owl, at least I think it is an owl, on an approach, set on a wonderfully textured blue background. There is a lovely sense of movement about the piece.
I’m not sure that I have seen any of this Brighton artist’s work before, I don’t think so, but perhaps I should make a mental note to make a trip to Brighton some day.
What a clever juxtaposition is presented to us by Spanish artist Sr.X in this piece that shows Joseph Stalin painted in a period propaganda pose, holding Mickey Mouse in his hands. Surely these represent two opposite ends of the political spectrum and what fun to squeeze them together like this.
I like Sr.X’s work and have not long ago posted an enormous work by him in Shoreditch. I am surprised that he was allocated such a tiny board for Upfest 2018 and would hope that maybe sometime in the future he gets to paint one of the bigger festival walls. All good.
Well, I’m not too sure where to start with this one from Object… really. The piece features a fairly grotesque headless, winged, multiple-armed torso with a speech bubble containing a well-used phrase ‘eat the rich‘. The phrase itself is attributed to Jean-Jaques Rousseau and alludes to the suggestion that when the people have nothing more to eat, they shall eat the rich.
As political as ever, Object… is tireless in his championing of the underclass, the unrepresented and the unfortunate. His work always comes across as very passionate, and often pained by the injustices of the world…visceral is perhaps the word I am looking for. I realise his work might shock or leave you cold, but I am actually a fan of this thoroughly decent man and artist.