This was most certainly one of the highlights of my Upfest experience last year even before I knew that it was by an artist whose work I admire greatly, Braga Last 1.
I saw this piece early in its genesis on one of my first circuits around South Street Park, but inspite of Braga being scrawled all over it, the penny hadn’t dropped. It wasn’t until the end of the second day that I was able to see the finished piece and grab a few moments chatting with Braga Last 1, or at least I should say with his girlfriend as he struggled a litle with English.
The piece is a self-portrait with a crazy bag of stuff in a back pack…but where is he off to? If you take a closer look, this is actually a Brexit piece – there are some clues in the bag.
If you look carefully, you can see that in the rucksack is a book ‘Brexit for Dummies’ a brilliant title. What saddens me is that Europeans view our departure as utter folly, and I can’t help agreeing with them. I feel embarrassed and ashamed that our nation voted to leave and I am left feeling closer to the Europeans than to my own countryfolk. I fear an unhealthy legacy for many decades to come.
One of the first large pieces I saw at Upfest 2017 was this fabulously pink ice cream delight from Buff Monster on the side of the Salvation Army building which has played host to some wonderful work in previous festivals.
There seems to be quite a big thing for monsters in the street art world, and I guess it relates to having a licence to spray whatever comes from the imagination. There are some great monster artists out there of which Buff Monster is one.
This is a great big piece of fun which has been beautifully sprayed and is a real asset to this part of East Street.
I hadn’t seen any of Buff Monster’s work before this (one of the brilliant aspects of Upfest), but was lucky enough to find a piece subsequently when I was on holiday in New York. It is always great to see something by an artist you are familiar with…comforting.
The boards erected in South Street Park played host to some of the very best work at Upfest 2017, and this piece by Krimsone and Scott Nagy was right up there with the very best. This amazing collaboration shows street art storytelling at its very best.
The magical story unfolding here is of a young child in bed, and a bedroom that is transforming into a dream-like fantasy world, and his bed is in fact a little boat. The whole image has the look of an illustration from a children’s book.
Both artists are from Australia, and if it weren’t for Upfest, how on earth would I ever get to see their amazing work? Such is the draw of the festival that artists from all over the world make the journey to Bedminster. I sometimes wonder if Bristolians know how lucky they are.
This is such a skillfully painted piece, such a shame that it was only temporary.
Just across the road from South Street Park in a school yard the fabulous combination of Paul Monsters and Loch Ness were busy at work. I’m not sure that many people got to see the final piece, which had been slow to finish due to the weather combined with the fact that after Upfest, access to the school yard has been restricted.
Two fine bristol artists who use bright colours in their work, but with very different styles. Paul Monsters works with geometric patterns creating 3D shapes and shadows that draw the eye in to examine in detail what is happening.
Loch Ness, who also uses lots of colour in his work tends to spray monsters or animals with pieces that tell a story.
The whole piece is a major asset for the pupils of the school, who probably don’t appreciate how lucky they are to have such a beautiful piece adorning this playground building. I got lucky, and managed to take these pictures when the gates were opened for the contractors to remove a cherry picker (which had been used by Nol in the same yard).
Angus was a very busy fellow at Upfest last year. Not only did he create this magnificent mosaic, but he also found time to collaborate with Chinagirl Tile and also lay down several other mosaics dotted about the place. Added to all of that business, he still had time to schmooze and chat with visitors over the two days.
This piece will be familiar to anyone who has played Street Fighter – I do not count myself amongst this happy crew – specifically it is move called ‘hadouken’…now go and consider yourself educated. Writing about street art really does take you on many new discoveries, tapping into the popular culture that influences the artists.
The very first post I wrote from Upfest 2017 was this piece by Apset and Ionas, a couple of Greek artists who had arrived in Bristol but had not been allocated a wall. The sprayed a wall in Dean Lane skate park, but then got very lucky and managed to find a hoarding in South Street Park where they produced this fine piece.
Both of their Upfest works incorporated an animal paired with a portrait. I think that the animals are by Ionas and portraits by Apset. Both works are great collaborations and something a bit different.
I hope that they are coming back this year, and that if they do, that they get allocated a spot, without having to agonise too much. A much needed little ray of Thessaloniki sunshine at a damp Bristol Upfest.
Really, this is one of my favourite pieces from the whole of Upfest 2017, not only because of the quality of work, but because of the cheerful resilience of the artists in persevering with their work in spite if the inclement weather.
A fine collaboration between N4T4 and Philth which really brightened up the walk between North Street and Ashton Gate.
These two artists have painted together at the last three Upfests, and although not a true collaboration, their pieces complement each other perfectly.
I walked past these two a few times, and took my favourite picture of the festival (above) of them cheerfully painting in the rain. Such dedication.
The N4T4 piece on the left is a wonderful example of his portrait style, incorporating colours and shapes which combine to make the whole. A blast of exquisite colour and a stunning face.
Contrast this then with the grey scale portrait by Philth on the right. He is as well known for his floral designs as he is for his portraits and this piece is overflowing with flowers that lift the piece to another level.