So I decided to round off this batch of last year’s Upfest posts with a very Bristol piece. This wonderful side of a bus was sprayed by the ASK crew, which comprises a great many of the Bristol graffiti/street artists I have covered in Natural Adventures passim. It would be fitting to end the 2016 posts with this, but I still have plenty more. I have decided to intersperse them with future posts, but obviously I’ll be concentrating on Upfest 2017 over the coming weeks.
Please don’t ask me to identify all the members of ASK, it could take me a while. The ASK (After School Klub) crew tend to dominate the street art scene in Bristol, but there is always plenty of space for others, and I don’t think they are too precious. Great colourful bus, but pretty dismal pictures. Nice eye – probably by Voyder.
This is an extraordinary piece by Random, called ‘Prisoner 46664’ and is a portrait of Nelson Mandela. Random, originally from Liverpool, lives in North Wales and works with stencils, sculpture and wheatpastes, which scores lots of points with me.
The work is an ingenious stencil with letters cut into it, placed over a red background. The letters are like a wordle of key associations with Nelson Mandela, such as ‘Freedom’ and ‘political’ and ‘rebel’ and ‘statesman’.
I have said it in a previous post, but the children at Ashton Gate Primary School are the luckiest in Bristol. so many pieces decking the walls of their playground. I believe that it was a one-off though, and they’ll not be using the school again for Upfest. The reason for this is that it is a bit off the beaten track, and the artists reported that not many people came to see them working, and they felt a little isolated.
This is a wonderful piece by 3rdeye, an established artist who has been involved in the graffiti scene since the 1980s.
His characters are simple and bold but have some emotional depth and feeling. I really like this work. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to photograph it properly, so the composition is slightly out of context. A great colourful piece.
You rarely meet anyone who doesn’t have a fondness for Baloo and his ‘the bear necessities’ song from the Disney adaptation of Kiplings’ the Jungle Book. It was the film I saw most frequently as a child – six times – in the days before videos. I had the LP, and pretty much know the entire film word for word, even now.
A digression. This is a fine stencil from Bristol born and bred Mr Bear. I must confess to not knowing much at all about this artist, and I haven’t come across his work, or at least, not knowingly. He is a member of SSOSVA and started painting in 1997 under the moniker ‘Bas’.
Rumbl is another street artist from the rather large Dutch contingent that attended Upfest 2016. I must confess that when I first saw this piece I didn’t much like it. Now that I have looked a little more carefully and researched some of his other work, I think I get it now, and actually rather like it.
This is a perfect Upfest wall and he has made a good job of it. He has a love of American illustration of the 1960s and you can see that clearly in this work. The stylised horse and cowboy boots…sort of Woody meets Lucky Luke meets John Wayne. I do now rather like this – pity it took me so long to post it.
I have a terrible feeling of being rushed to get these Upfest 2016 posts published, because at the time of writing this one, there are only about two weeks to go before 2017’s festival gets underway. I popped into the Upfest shop today and picked up my map. Very exciting indeed. This year there is going to be a very long wall (fifty or so artists) at Ashton Gate.
Back to this pair of works that I photographed together because of the interesting contrast between them. On the left is a piece by Von Grey, a psychedelic offering that has undertones of Sgt Pepper about it, which is no surprise as his biography states that his work is heavily influenced by 1970s album covers, ancient artefacts and modern subculture.
The piece on the right is a fabulous gorilla by Daub who judging from his Facebook and Instagram accounts appears to be remarkably fond of this gorilla, and why not, it is a magnificent beast. It is interesting that the gorilla is superimposed on a background that appears to tell its own story and I fear it is somehow not all good news.
Guts is a graffiti artist I have only recently been posting about on this blog, and when I took this picture at last year’s Upfest, He hadn’t crossed my radar at all.
His Upfest catalogue entry reads ‘Guts is a Bristolian artist who makes lowbrow weirdness for people who like that sort of thing. He mainly works in spray paint, acrylic and posca on canvases and other stuff he finds lying around’. Reading this reminds me that so many street artists are incredibly modest about their talents, and I think that Guts is among them.