This brilliant swirling ‘Bristol’ by Voyder really felt like the signature piece for this year’s Upfest. Visitors to the festival were queuing up to take selfies and group pictures in front of this piece. I wonder how many of them knew it was Voyder’s work – it matters not, they saw it for what it is, a joyful celebration of Bristol art.
Voyder is a prolific graffiti artist and many of his pieces seem to be inaccessible, especially if you aren’t prepared to enter derelict sites, so it is especially nice to have one of his pieces in an area with high footfall. Around the time of upfest, Voyder was spraying quite a lot of these ribbon effect pieces, most memorably the Lichtenstein piece neat the Tobacco Factory, now long gone. This is just more stunning stuff from one of the best Bristol writers.
Well, here it is, the ‘official’ piece by What Have I Done Now. This Alice in Wonderland work seems to create a graffiti wall all on its own. An anarchic Alice (the piece is called ‘A is for Alice) stands looking at a colourful wall (with drips!) and casts a beautiful shadow. I can’t quite read the words on the left of the picture, but I think it says ‘curiouser and curiouser, (?) I am. Which way do I go?’ which is a slight corruption of the original quote.
I am very fond of the Alice in Wonderland story, having read it more than once, but also having listened to the most incredible double album musical version of the book starring Karen Dotrice, Bruce Forsyth, Dirk Bogard, Tommy Cooper and many other incredible actors. I listened to this hundreds of times with my sister when we were kids. This artwork has sent me on a hunt for the album and, goodness me, the Interweb has come up trumps. I cannot tell you how happy I am to be able to listen to the album again after some forty years or so – you can hear it on YouTube here. I thoroughly recommend it. Happy now.
You may recall that I posted paste ups of a mouse and a cat by 23 Magpies recently. Well here is another one of the treats that she left behind at Upfest. This time, always on a wildlife theme, we are presented with a charming wheatpaste of a newt drawn onto the cover of an Ian Maclaren title page.
Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush was Ian Maclaren’s first story about rural Scottish life. I have no idea if this is of any significance to the piece by 23 Magpies, or if it is a random bit of book used as a background context for the little newt. Whatever the intention, the execution is once again excellent. I think there may be more to come from 23 Magpies in these Upfest posts.
There is something dark, political and edgy about What Have I Done Now’s work. His paste ups are full of menace, like this one (called laugh riot) of a riot police figure, waving a US flag and adorned with Mickey Mouse ears. Taking a swipe at some attitudes in a small wheatpaste without words is part of the skill of this kind of street art.
This piece was situated in the small lane at the bottom end of Dean Lane skate park where it joins North Street. I think some bits of it still remain. I have also found in my Upfest archive his ‘official’ piece for the festival and I will post it shortly.
This is one for the fans of political street art, an art form that seems to be slightly out of vogue at the moment.