So it has been a while, and since there isn’t an Upfest festival this year, I am going to have to post another series of pictures from Upfest 2018 (there are still so many more waiting) starting with this utterly awesome piece by Insane51.
This extraordinary artist from Greece specialises in 3D street art and has created dozens of huge pieces which look fuzzy because they are double images, but when viewed through the red and blue specs stand out from the wall in good old-fashioned 3D.
This particular piece went up over about three or four days and was impressive enough in its halfway stage when the female portrait was complete. Insane51 then added the blue skeleton layer to the piece. The magic really happens when you view the whole thing through 3D specs one eye at a time. Rather helpfully, Insane51 did the job for us on his Instagram feed.
Definitely one of the finest walls at last year’s festival and a real crowd-pleaser. I got rather lucky and managed to grab a few words with him and during the course of our conversation he gave me a little goody bag of some stickers and the essential cardboard specs. It would be great to see him return again and wow us with his extraordinary talents.
This is an unlikely piece of door art next door to what I guess is my local pub, The Prince of Wales, which incidentally was painted by one of my favourite Bristol artists Andrew Burns Colwill…but that is another story.
I wasn’t looking for this door, which I think has been there for some time, but kind of noticed it while I was waiting at the pedestrian lights to cross the road earlier this summer. Actually it is more of a gate than a door, but it is utterly magnificent.
The gate actually guards the entrance to two further doors (so you get three for the price of one). I would think it was commissioned by Bamba Bazaar, a shop that specialises in beads (I bought some beads there once) and was constructed by Scroller Metal Work.
It would be nice if more businesses put in the effort to commission something beautiful and practical like this, but it is really rather un-British. I would expect to see something like this in Barcelona or Paris and perhaps take it for granted, but here in Bristol it is a hidden gem. It pays to look around.
Bringing a wonderful splash of colour and some real class to Upfest was this fabulous small piece by Emily Donald. Some of you may remember her equally brilliant work from last year’s festival.
This talented artist from Cornwall has made this technique of using rays of light combined with flowers and birds her own. There is a lightness, peacefulness and joy about her work which makes it very easy on the eye. It would be pretty cool to have one of these hanging on the wall at home. Once again some great work from Emily…I hope she is able to return next year.
Jimmer Wilmott is one of the warmest and most welcoming artists I have met. On the two occasions I have been fortunate enough to cross paths with him he has exuded enthusiasm from every pore, and his rather quirky and fun-loving personality is reflected in his pop surrealist art.
It was great to see him at work at Upfest and to witness one of his ‘canvasses’ come to life – I have seen many of them on Instagram, but none ‘in the flesh’. Seeing the layers and the brush work during its genesis and then the final painting was a privilege. The last time I saw him he had created an eyeball using spray cans at Dean Lane skate park.
I think he got a bit carried away during our conversation and was inviting me to go with him to the Cheltenham street art Festival and paint with him. I had to remind him that I have no artistic talent and a total of 2 hours spraying experience. I am however tempted.
Set in a wall on a hill very close to where I work is this beautiful old weathered door. It is the perfect ‘secret garden’ door, but it is not the secrets that hide on the other side of this wall that grabbed my attention, rather it is the small stone sculptures that pepper the outside of the wall along its length.
The artwork is by the late Bob Ballard, an artist from Bristol, and I found this tribute on the Society of Graphic Fine Art website which tells you a little more about him:
Bob Ballard was born in London in 1944. He had worked full time as an artist since 1989, when he won a Goldsmiths Travel Bursary (drawing and studying Romanesque art in Spain). Thereafter he was awarded many prizes, including the Bruckhaus Derringer Award from the Royal Watercolour Society. Bob’s work encompassed abstract and representative styles in a wide range of media, such as sculpture, print, oils, watercolour and pastels. Later in his career he was a senior lecturer at the University of the West of England, and senior tutor and research associate for COREOX, University of Oxford. Bob was a council member for both the Society of Graphic Fine Art (SGFA) and the Bath Society of Artists (BSA). He lived in Bristol with his wife Maggie.
Bob Ballard attached a number of small sculptures to the wall which the curious would notice. Little gifts of artwork that brighten up a day. I love this wall, I love the door and I love the sculptures.
I found this quote from Bob Ballard on his Facebook feed, which I rather like:
“ In my work I always try to place the unknown next to the known. Defamiliarisation is the essence of art. The closer you look at it the greater the distance from which it stares back at you.”