In recent months I have become aware of a tag appearing all over the place, that is better than your average tag, and of course being a fish it gets my seal of approval. I have no idea who it is by, but I think they might belong to DBK crew, as those letters are never too far away.
The first of four tags was in The Bearpit not too long ago. Lots of drug references here.
I am not too sure what the letters spell, but to me it looks like ‘SOA’ and then I guess it is possible that the tail fin is also a letter.
As with all tags, the graffiti artist has got the consistency down to a T and can probably run one off pretty swiftly.
As I am writing this, It occurs to me that the whole thing says SOAK, and that the fish tail does form a letter, the letter K. Soak is a graffiti artist in Bristol who I featured not too long ago. It all makes sense now.
I was very fond of the Andrew Burns Colwill piece that was previously on this container in Anchor Road, but I have to say that this vibrant ‘Welcome to Bristol’ mural by SPZero76 is an absolute gem.
What a lovely welcome, and I guess the topic might have something to do with the location of the Bristol tour bus that runs from nearby. The artwork shows a rather pimped boat surging through the mine-infested waters of Bristol harbour, with the M Shed and distinctive cranes in the background.
Of course no SPZero76 piece would be complete without his lovable and slightly unhinged dog, or in this case two dogs. The execution of the piece is absolutely first class, so clean and tidy, but what makes the whole thing is the frenetic humour and little details to study. A tip top piece.
Well this is the one really, a very very special piece by Andrew Burns Colwill.
In a modest setting behind the Harbourside shops and restaurants stands a container. Painted on the side of the container is one of the best pieces of free street art in Bristol. It is amazing. I have watched as people shuffle past it without looking and then someone will glance at it and recognise what a magnificent work it is. Certainly one of my favourite pieces in Bristol…ever.
There is an elaborate story unfolding in this picture. In the middle we have two figures sitting at an hourglass table playing a game of chess. One is a modern/future man, the other on the left looks to be ancient Mayan or something like that clutching a scroll. There are remnants of a bridge behind them one side built of wood the other of stone, representing the eras these two characters come from, maybe.
Then if we zoom out a little we see more of their surroundings. Above them, floating in the air lifted by balloons with faces, is an island with a city – what it represents I am not sure, but some similar motifs were portrayed in Colwill’s Upfest piece from last year. To the right, the ruined stone bridge can be seen in its full glory, and a bomb shell is sticking out of the ground. To the left the bridge becomes closer to its environmental beginnings…more organic, and there are flowers in the foreground.
Taking another look to the right we observe evidence of civilisation in the form of a stone city on the hill, married with weapons of destruction.
Further to the right still, soldiers are emerging from a war torn forest – looking like a scene from the Great War.
To the left hand side we can see pyramids through the mist in the distance, so maybe the red-robed character is ancient Egyptian. On this side too, there are more figures, tribesmen wielding spears lurk in the trees.
The whole piece would be a fine addition to any art gallery, but here it is for all to see if only they would look. I believe the picture to be about the struggle between the environment and our close connection to it and the consequences of progress. Now I am no expert and I haven’t had the pleasure of talking to Colwill so my description and conclusion are based on what I see. What do you see? Have you looked?
This rather threatening Nick Walker stencil from 2013 caused the tiniest storm in a teacup when a Bristol resident complained to the Council about the work, complaining that it was an abuse of childhood. The way the law works is that the owner of the property can choose not to have the graffiti removed if that is what they wish, in in this instance the owner liked it and it has stayed.
The same stencil appeared as part of a commission of Nick Walker’s art in a hotel car park in Indianapolis. How good is that?
There is a final and rather sad end to this blog (updated in March 2016, whilst compressing images) which is that the door was stolen, and it now looks like the picture below. I think that the thief tried to flog it, but couldn’t so handed it into the authorities in the NW of England…or I might be making that bit up.