A couple of weeks ago, I took a day off and decided to take a trip up to Weston-super-Mare to photograph some epic new pieces by Irony and Dan Kitchener. On the way home I decided to call in at Burnham-on-Sea, because I had seen a few pieces on Instagram and anyhow, I had never been there before. I am so glad that I did, not least because I got to see this magnificent piece from Andrew Burns Colwill.
ABC is without doubt one of the best fine artists in Bristol, and he carries his canvass work seamlessly across to large walls without appearing to break step, and the end result is pieces like this one.
Now, I haven’t done any research, and perhaps I should have done, because I have no idea what this is all about. I mean I get the donkey bit, with the association with a holiday beach, but the toilet completely baffles me, and could have a plethora of meanings. Perhaps in this instance it would be better not to swell on the meaning and instead to focus on the quality and skill of an artist at his absolute best. It is worth a trip to this sleepy seaside town for this piece alone.
From my favourite Bristol artist, Andrew Burns Colwill, is this outstanding new mural for Upfest’s 75 walls in 75 days event. Everything about this triptych piece is pretty much perfect. From the wall selection and use of the spaces to the highly political content, let alone the brilliant execution using his soak stain technique.
My interpretation of the three suited figures in a pool represents the drowning of our Government and in particular senior ministers who, let’s face it, haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory over the last few years. On the left could be Sajid Javid, our SoS for health who took over the role from the utterly incompetent and indiscreet Matt Hancock. It doesn’t really matter who it is as they are representative of the Conservative Party political gang who care more about power than they do about the citizens who put them there.
The central panel is more obviously a caricature of our utterly ridiculous Prime Minister who is now completely under the control of his power-hungry wife Carrie Johnson who seems to have more influence over government policy than he does. The pantomime continues, although it is more of a tragedy as our country slips into isolation and irrelevance.
The final panel, with the red budget box, is obviously our beloved (not) chancellor Rishi Sunak who appears to have hoodwinked the entire country into thinking he is our saviour. I don’t feel particularly saved. The bar amongst the cabinet is so low, that anyone with the slightest talent shines like a beacon, but it is all comparative. So the piece certainly portrays a failing government and failing ministers and it is delivered in a tranquil, calm and resigned manner that gives the piece so much power. It is brilliant.
Andrew Burns Colwill is also amazing at creating those tiny little details that add so much to a piece, like this little drip of water oozing from a real crack in the wall. A sensational piece and commentary on our current political state. Bravo!
I genuinely miss my occasional conversations with Andrew Burns Colwill. I haven’t seen the artist for well over a year now, possibly two, and that is far too long. During that time I haven’t seen too much of his street work either, so it was with great joy that I found this recent piece by him on the wall of the North Street Standard.
One of the things that chimes for me with all of ABC’s work is the environmental theme at its heart, and this piece is more overt than some of his work, with a direct call to action emblazoned on the left hand side.
The Earth sitting at the top end of an hourglass is a fabulous visual metaphor for the urgency of the predicament we find ourselves in. As the Earth drips down into the lower half of the hour glass, a face is seen in the centre, as if the soul of the planet was being drained out.
This is a fabulous piece of fine art from one of my favourite people in Bristol.
We all must do what we can, and we can do what we must.
There is so much going on in this magnificent piece by Andrew Burns Colwill, but it is not busy…on the contrary it is calm and peaceful which is somewhat at odds with a fragmenting world it represents.
I like Andrew Burns Colwill very much, both as an artist and as an acquaintance, and I managed to catch up with him a couple of times during the festival. He had started early, so by the time I first found him on the Friday, his work was already well underway.
The piece combines several ideas and themes, but the obvious one is a representation of the biggest issue of our time (other than climate change), Brexit. The world is represented by an apple, and we hold it in our (multicultural) hands.
A bite has been taken from the apple and is seen sinking in the water below. A closer look at the lost piece of apple shows the UK cut-off and drifting away all alone. One can read in so many metaphors into this work – brotherhood, loss, a gift, urbanisation and so on, but for me it is the isolation of the UK that stands out.
A most brilliant piece, and one of the highlights of the 2018 festival.
I have known about this mural for several years, but just never stopped to take a picture of it until very recently, and it looks as good close up as it does from a distance. It is by the hugely talented and lovely Bristol Artist Andrew Burns Colwill.
Painted in 2011, this mural depicts a giant looking out of a window and uses the trompe l’oeil technique to provide a false perspective that there is a window in the wall and that render has fallen, exposing brickwork underneath. It is in fact a flat wall.
I love the little details in the piece…the rose in the window sill and the ivy dropping down from the top of the window, and of course the cracks and the brickwork make this a truly magnificent piece, that I expect the good people of Westbury-on-Trym take for granted.
There is something rather forlorn about the giant’s expression and there is an untold story unfolding – the words ‘and the giant looks on, still waiting…..’ – tell us all is not well and I fear a broken heart is just around the corner. A most wonderful piece.
Set against dramatic skies, that I don’t recall being as dramatic as they look in these pictures, is one of the greatest murals in Bristol to date. This is a masterpiece by the utterly brilliant fine artist Andrew Burns Colwill.
Taking up an entire wall of an end-of-terrace building the mural depicts a fabulous representation of the diverse cultural heritage of Easton. This is a part of Bristol that has embraced multi-culturalism and celebrates it with an annual feast.
I am not fully acquainted with all the characters that ABC has depicted here but I am pretty sure that they will be well known characters and figureheads from the Easton community.
I love the feast, I love the celebration, I love the sky and I love Andrew Burns Colwill. I truly believe he is one of the great story tellers of our city and he tells the stories through his vivid paintings. A true gent and a man I admire greatly – Andrew Burns Colwill is one of the outstanding talents of the city and represents much about its outspoken independence, its unique place in the UK, its tolerence, its rage, its compassion and acceptance.
Andrew Burns Colwill is a great Bristol artist and one who has championed environmental awareness vigorously in recent years, particularly with his 20:50 vision pieces. At Upfest 2017 he really excelled himself with this magnificent polar bear sitting on what at first appears to be a piece of ice, but which is actually a pick up truck floating in a sea of plastic.
His ongoing commentary on the destruction of our planet, and visions of what it might look like in 2050 results in a series of haunting images, of which this is one. A prophet of what might be, if we don’t pull our fingers out and get things sorted. Andrew Burns Colwill, like many others in the environmental movement, has been talking about plastic for some time…at last it feels like the government is listening.
This is one of the best pieces of the 2017 festival, and the good news I understand is that it is here to stay. The Coopers Arms pub, where this piece can be found, will be keeping it. ABC’s fine art pedigree shine through in this work and he is truly the king of murals in Bristol. I salute you.
On an environmental leave day a couple of weeks back I was litter picking down on the New Cut, the diverted course of the tidal River Avon in Bristol. During the litter pick, one of my colleagues asked whether I had looked at a piece of street art she has been telling me about for a little while. During the lunch break, I took a short walk into Bedminster where the mural was, not far from the New Cut.
I found the piece, and instantly saw that it was by Andrew Burns Colwill, his style is so distinctive. This piece has breathed new life into what was previously a bland wall and brought with it an exotic feel – street art for a local community. It is beautiful.
This work has a lovely watercolour quality to it. The details of the piece poke through a misty haze, and the derelict archway give it a classical feel, the whole thing being soulful, peaceful and romantic. I’m not sure if the church is based on a real one or whether it is from Burns Colwill’s mind, probably the latter.
I am a big fan of Andrew Burns Colwill’s work, and have found him great company on the few occasions I have met him. One day I will go for that drink with him and get that interview he agreed to some months ago!
I first saw this mural at Upfest 2016, but wasn’t sure who it was by or whether it was a festival piece. It turns out that it is by the magnificent Andrew Burns Colwill and it was not his Upfest piece, but a commission.
Colwill is a truly brilliant artist with a very colourful history, who has just completed a magnificent exhibition entitled ’20/50 Vision: Tomorrow’s Habitat’ at the It’s All 2 Much Gallery in Stokes Croft. The works place some of our most treasured species into future places where all is not as it should be. A global warming/pollution warning to us all.
This piece is altogether more mainstream, and for a marine biologist like me a real treat.