Photographing street art is a bit of an artifact of my desire to explore and innate curiosity. Last weekend I went to the recycling centre – we continnue to clear out our home, but like a plate of spaghetti, the residual never seems to diminish. I decided o take a different route out and was rewarded with a few walls on Alfred Street that I have never been aware of. The pieces there are not new, but are utterly splendid.
Front and centre is this magnificent (citron crested?) cocatoo by Aspire. I can honestly say that I think it is the best piece I have seen from this artist, maybe ever. There is something about the composition, its weirdness, toadstools and alien spaceships and this unphased cocatoo, that simply blows me away. Aspire moving to London was a real pity for us in Bristol, but what a treat to be able still to find ‘new’ work by him. More to come from this hidden spot.
This is the kind of fantastic work that we are missing ever since Aspire left Bristol for London. How lucky we are that he returned to us for Upfest 2018 and painted this new wall with these magnificent puffins.
Aspire specialises in painting birds and he seems to be improving with every new piece he creates, it is just a pity that I don’t get to see much of his work ‘in the flesh’ any more, and have to rely on Instagram for my fix.
This particular piece is quite unusual for two main reasons. Firstly I can’t recall seeing any sea birds from Aspire before and secondly there are lots of birds in the one scene, where more commonly he will paint only one. Love this piece.
It may be an old piece, but that in no way detracts from its class and beauty. Aspire left Bristol about two years ago, and this piece dates back to some time before then I suspect. My recent discovery of St Mark’s Avenue has been a bit of an archeological expedition, digging out perfectly preserved specimens from another age.
Aspire specialises in birds, and I think in particular has a thing for Blue Tits – this is one of at least four that I have posted in his gallery. It is such a pity that he is only an occasional visitor to Bristol, his pieces were really rather special. Our loss is London’s gain.
This is a really unusual piece by Aspire in a rather unusual setting. The nomadic community garden just off Brick Lane is an example of extreme Bohemian living. A collection of allotment huts, some of which are mini cafes, and a few small plots surrounded by graffiti and street art. It is a completely bonkers public space that has to be seen to be understood.
I would normally associate birds and other wildlife with Aspire, so this rather ghoulish portrayal of Mother Teresa came as a bit of a surprise package. It is definitely by Aspire as it is signed with his characteristic signature in the colours used for the piece. My sister didn’t like this, and I tried to explain to her that it was not typical of his work. Personally I like to see artists switch it up from time to time. A fine piece.
Since Aspire left Bristol for London, it is always such a pleasant surprise to see a new piece by him, because it is always just so unexpected. I guess when he was here, I just took it for granted that there would be a regular supply of amazing birds from this extraordinary artist – now, every single one is treasured as a very special and rare gift.
This beautiful kingfisher is on one of the boards outside the Full Moon pub in Stokes Croft, and I think it might have been done as part of a special event held there, although, I have been away a lot recently and missed it. As always, Aspire never disappoints and the slightly blurred appearance of the bird and the background give a feel for natural movement which brings the piece alive. Still loving his trademark pixels. Stunning piece.
I’m not quite sure how this spot has passed me by until a couple of weeks ago. On the site where my old garage used to be – the place where I got my car MOTd – there is now a large development under construction. I believe that an hotel is being built, although I’m mystified as to why they have chosen to locate one here, it is not exactly a prime site.
There are several Bristol artists featured on this hoarding and the first of these I am witing about is Aspire. His work is always a real treat to find, especially as he now lives in London, and seeing new work by him in Bristol is a rarity. His depiction of birds is in the same category as ATM and Louis Masai and is always an eyebrow-raiser in these urban locations.
In this piece Aspire has painted four pigeons, although these are so beautiful I’d prefer to call them rock doves. In the centre of the picture is, I think, a partridge. I’m not sure of the significance of this…maybe there isn’t any, but it is an unusual assembly of species. Aspire’s work is always brilliant and this piece simply confirms that.
This part of Stokes Croft is quite a difficult area to set up a business, especially in the food sector. There are already quite a lot of cafés and restaurants which cater mostly to the Bohemian set from Montpelier. This particular restaurant ‘Meat Liquor’ was targeted more at the young student market, but I understand it had to close after less than two years, due to incidents in the area and in the restaurant. The area has the highest incidence of drug dealing in Bristol and maybe the closure was connected to that. Anyhow, the hoardings have gone up, and not long after that the graffiti art arrives.
This, I believe, is a collaboration between Ryder and Aspire (the bird man) who must have been visiting from London where he now lives. The writing says Ryder and the bird I think is a turkey, so this must be a festive piece. I looks a little like it might have been done reasonably quickly, but it certainly adds colour and vibrancy to the hoarding.
For the second year running I managed to miss (probably by moments) Aspire at work during Upfest. Actually I have not yet met him, and now that he operates out of London, the chances of that happening are rather remote.
Aspire was allocated one of the really nice walls this year and by the time I got there on the Saturday morning, he was finished and his gear was neatly piled up ready to go. I always know with Aspire that he never fails to delight with his brilliant birds and trademark pixellations.
In this piece he features a rather charming male bullfinch in all his finery.
Well this was a red letter day, oh yes. The day street art arrived in Redland (although we must not forget Cheo’s mural at Redland Station). Big bold and screaming out REDLAND for all to see.
This is a magnificent collaboration between 2Keen, Ryder and Aspire, and during its creation I have had the fortune to stop and talk to 2Keen on a couple of occasions, seeing as it is not at all far away from where I live.
What I did not know is that 2Keen is one of the original Bristol graffiti artists and is held in very high esteem indeed by his peers. This is the first piece of his that I have been aware of, although I might have seen others without realising who they were by.
For those of you not familiar with the geography of Bristol, Redland is a very middle class, aspirational and residential part of the city, and although there is probably widespread appreciation of Bristol’s street art within the local community, it isn’t the sort of thing one expects to see at its heart. I so dearly love it.
2Keen told me that he had mixed reviews while he was working on it. Some people tried to move him on, some stopped to chat, the police took a look and admired the work, but to the shame of Redland some people spat at him. Well heeled…my arse!
I believe the writing is by Ryder, the dodo on the right by the magnificent Aspire, fresh from his Stokes Croft pigeon, and the rest of the fabulous Alice in Wonderland work is by 2Keen.
I’m not sure if it will ever happen, but 2Keen said he’d take me out to spray a wall somewhere and teach me how it all works. I just need to find him again and take him up on the offer. Happy days.