There was a period early last year, when it felt like every available space in multiple spots was being filled with a portrait mega-tag by Asre, aka Runaway Joey. These distinctive characters are based on the same central core elements, but they are ‘pimped’, so that each has a distinctive look and theme. This is a mini-gallery of pieces by Asre from April last year. At another point in time, I will have to do another of these galleries to sweep up a bunch of other Asre pieces in the first half of 2022.
This was a small piece in Jamaica Street that reflects the basic character template.
A Moon Street cheeky character wearing a red hat, beautifully picked out with the customary three layered thick border.
Asre shows his versatility with this quick column piece under the M32.
Rounding off this mini-gallery with a piece behind the fence in Dean Lane, this time the character is wearing a blue hat.
One of the curious things is that Asre’s prolific activity simply dropped off a cliff later in the year, so I guess there might have been a lifestyle change at some point. It would be nice to think that he will return to our streets in due course.
I photographed this piece on the day I first met Runaway Joey, or Asre as he signs himself. He was painting another face only yards away from this one. We stopped for quite a long chat, and I was touched to find out that he not only knew who I was but also had been chatting with his friends about me and what I do, later describing me as a ‘top bloke’ in an Instagram post later that day. It is so gratifying to know that that some of the artists I write about have read this blog and appreciate what I do here. For the record, Asre is a really decent guy who made plenty of time for a chat about his work. I look forward to meeting him again.
This wall used to ‘belong’ to Laic217, and is one of my favourite walls in Bristol (definitely a candidate for my ‘one wall, many faces’ series of posts). The face from Asre is rather more elaborate than some that he paints, with rather scary teeth, a green face and a magnificent crown. There is something menacing and slightly evil about this piece, which also introduces some different elements to the typical format Asre uses for this series. There is so much more to post from Asre, I am struggling to know where to begin. I have some much better photographs of this and will try to replace these when I have a moment.
Last Saturday was one of those very special red-letter days for me. I took the dog for a walk, that ended up being a bit of a marathon, during which I visited four spots and met nine or ten artists, several of them for the first time. Among the artists, it was an enormous pleasure to meet Asre, or Runaway Joey as he is known, for the first time, and very touching to find out that he knew who I was and had been keen to meet me and had even read some of my posts… my work here is done.
This is one of a multitude of variations on a theme by Asre, with the stylised cartoon face that we are becoming accustomed to seeing all over the place. This poor fellow looks like he has come a poor second in a boxing bout, with a severe black eye. Once again, the strong clean lines and solid fills are nicely worked, and the boxing glove provides additional interest – I like the way Asre has highlighted the glove with pink and white, giving it a cool 3D effect. There is so much more to come from this prolific artist and all round great bloke.
So far on Natural Adventures, we have seen a few pieces from this artist under the name Asre, but they were all the same character, this is another one from his portfolio, a rather cheeky comic strip kind of character. The artist’s Instagram handle is @runaway_joey, and somehow this character seems to fit that moniker rather well – he looks like a Joey.
There are several of these around Bristol, but this one on the River Avon wall has lasted really well. Full of character and very nicely sprayed with some nice thick clean lines – Asre is no one trick pony, that’s for sure.
I am always slightly surprised that anyone would paint this particular spot; the wall is uneven and on a bit of a corner, but it is popular and has quite a high turnover. Maybe it is accepted that nothing here will last too long, whereas some adjacent walls are more sought after, and therefore inclined to have more longevity, especially with some of the more respected artists in Bristol painting them.
Bogat and Asre (who goes by the name @runaway_joey on Instagram) paint alongside each other quite often, and judging from the shout-outs are obviously good friends. On the left is an unusual octopus piece spelling out BOG from Bogat, which is a little different from the long faces he normally paints.
Asre on the other hand gives us exactly what you’d expect, with one of his trademark faces wearing a hat, and in this one also smoking a joint. The two artists have used the space well and are becoming part of the furniture after bursting onto the scene earlier this year.
Alas, this piece from Asre didn’t last very long, which is a pity, because this wall tends to have a very low turnover and the writing/character combination is a good one. Although Asre has only really come into my radar in the past six weeks or so, he has managed to become part of the furniture very quickly indeed.
This piece combines some fine writing skills with one of Asre’s faces, and certainly makes an impact immediately. I don’t know much about the artist, but prior to his pieces appearing in Bristol, I suspect he was painting elsewhere, because the work is very accomplished, and his face well practised. I believe this was a birthday tribute to self.
Rarely has an entrant to the Bristol street art scene been as dramatic as that of Asre. Although this is the first piece of his to appear on Natural Adventures, it most certainly will not be the last. In the last week or two, I have photographed more than ten of these character faces, most of which, if not all, will have been painted this year.
Asre is one of several new character artists in Bristol, and their numbers seem to be swelling. I wouldn’t quite call it a school or a movement, but it is definitely a thing. Asre’s cartoon-style characters are very nicely finished with thick line borders, but the feature details are really nicely worked too. I suspect the artist could probably create one of these with his eyes shut, given the amount of practice he puts in. Watch this space for more. A nice shout out to Bogat and and Klashwhensober too.