3357. Vale Street

When I arrived in Vale Street (yesterday), my first observation was how incredibly steep the hills around the area are and where Vale Street joins Park Street is quite treacherous [I have just read a Guardian article that says Vale Street is the steepest residential street in England] – fortunately it rarely snows in Bristol, but when it does this must be a no-go zone.

Banksy, Vale Street, Bristol December 2020
Banksy, Vale Street, Bristol December 2020

I picked up on a sense of excitement and a bit of a local buzz as trickles of people arrived to look at the brand new Totterdown Banksy and I overheard a conversation which painted quite a picture of a normally quiet and tranquil area… ‘nothing ever happens on our street, it is normally very quiet’ I overheard one young woman say.

Banksy, Vale Street, Bristol December 2020
Banksy, Vale Street, Bristol December 2020

Banksy hits walls when people least expect it and in places that tend not to be regular graffiti spots – this was on the side of a house that is in the process of being sold. The occupants have taken the house off the market and are probably reassessing the value of the property. [Update – the owners have not pulled out of the sale, but rather are safeguarding the artwork from being cut out and sold, which I think is a wholly admirable thing to do].

Banksy, Vale Street, Bristol December 2020
Banksy, Vale Street, Bristol December 2020

The stencil is called ‘Aachoo!’ and features an old lady who is sneezing so hard that she has dropped her handbag and her walking stick and worse, her false teeth have flown out in front of her. It is all so very Banksy. Incredibly, the Perspex sheet was placed over the piece within hours, which I suppose is a good thing because a lot of his work in Bristol gets tagged or vandalised – goodness only knows why.

Banksy, Vale Street, Bristol December 2020
Banksy, Vale Street, Bristol December 2020

Thanks to Paul H for pointing out the Banksy Diana banknotes that were attached to one of the pillars in front of the stencil. I hadn’t noticed these and I daresay nor had most other visitors – their eyes fixed elsewhere. What is extra interesting about these banknotes is that they were added after the photograph that appeared in the Guardian was taken. If that is the case then they were either put there by another artist or Banksy returned to attach them to the pillar – mysterious.

Banksy, Vale Street, Bristol December 2020
Banksy, Vale Street, Bristol December 2020

When I have done street art tours for colleagues at work, I call the tours ‘It’s not all about Banksy’, but today and on those very rare days that he sprays his stuff in his old home town it is all about Banksy.

In search of Banksy

.

Head for Totterdown

the steepest possible streets

there behind Perspex

.

by Scooj

Banksy must be back in Bristol for Christmas, and he has sprayed a new piece in Totterdown, a part of Bristol I rarely visit. It was only painted two days ago, but already it has a protective layer of Perspex covering it. Pity really, but his works often get tagged and vandalised within hours.

2898. Leonard Lane (25)

This wonderful stencil piece in Leonard lane is by John D’oh and was one of several that were painted during a bit of a spree I think. The caption ‘People think I’m Banksy’  is a reference to Massive Attack star Robert del Naja (on the right), who has been suspected of being Banksy and who some still think might be him.

John D'oh, Leonard Lane, Bristol, November 2017
John D’oh, Leonard Lane, Bristol, November 2017

It is a classic piece of John D’oh single-layer stencil work, and is emblematic of the whole Bristol street art scene and sub-culture. I have more to publish from this John D’oh session in 2017 and will get round to more of them if the lock down persists.

2577. Marsh Lane

It is a funny thing, but I have always been quite nonchalant about Banksy. I love his art, I love it that he comes from Bristol but I tend to stand up for all the other artists whose work is extraordinary and who are not Banksy. However, even I got caught up in the frenzy of excitement that surrounded his visit to Bristol last Wednesday night/Thursday morning.

Banksy, Marsh Lane, Bristol, February 2020
Banksy, Marsh Lane, Bristol, February 2020

It is not often the artist comes back to his home city, so it always feels rather special when he does. The other thing about his work is that you have to get there quick to see it, because there are some crazy people who try to vandalise his stuff, particularly in Bristol – who knows why. And guess what, since I wrote the last sentence two days ago, an idiot has indeed vandalised the piece with some rather nasty message over the stencil girl.

Banksy, Marsh Lane, Bristol, February 2020
Banksy, Marsh Lane, Bristol, February 2020

These pictures are a little bit low-res, I have obviously kept the high res versions in my archive, to avoid copyright theft – something I rarely do. So sorry about the quality. The piece itself features a girl in a hoodie firing a catapult of beautiful red flowers. Is this a love message to Bristol?

Banksy, Marsh Lane, Bristol, February 2020
Banksy, Marsh Lane, Bristol, February 2020

The location of the piece is significant, because it is just around the corner that Banksy learned to spray paint under the watchful eye of John Nation, a youth club worker at Barton Hill youth club. John is the godfather of Bristol street art, and what he doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing about.

Banksy, Marsh Lane, Bristol, February 2020
Banksy, Marsh Lane, Bristol, February 2020

There was a constant stream of people gathering at the wall when I made it down there on Friday, and it was great to witness their sense of awe that something special had happened here and that they were able to share in it. I couldn’t resist photographing this gentleman with his motorbike, he said the selfie was for his motor club which I thought was very sweet.

Banksy, Marsh Lane, Bristol, February 2020
Banksy, Marsh Lane, Bristol, February 2020

You can get a sense of the flow of people from the final picture. The nice fellow in the yellow check shirt had come over from Swansea just to see this wall. I bet they are all glad that they did when they did knowing that it has now been vandalised.

A special day for a hunter and a special day for Bristol.

2610. Stokes Croft

Oh what a beauty… a little piece of heaven just dropped onto the wall beneath Banksy’s Mild Mild West, and it is an absolute humdinger by Hazard. Painted only last week, Hazard has smashed it out of the park (to use a modern phrase – my kids would be laughing if they read this, but not much chance of that ever happening).

Hazard, Stokes Croft, Bristol, November 2019
Hazard, Stokes Croft, Bristol, November 2019

I love Hazard’s work, and it is great to see that she is capable of so much more than her trademark portraits. This piece is so good in my view that I actually think it is my favourite of hers… ever. She has captured the colours and proportions of the pigeon perfectly and has somehow created an irridescence on the bird’s breast with greens, whites, yellows and purples – what a job eh? And.., the flowers, flipping heck, the flowers!

I think I might be able to call myself a pigeon fancier, at least this pigeon.

I believe that there is some explanation on the fence in front of this piece, but it wasn’t there when I took these pictures, so I can’t tell you what it says.

Happy days.

2318. St Michael’s Hill (4)

Well, well, well this piece by John D’oh caused something of a stir locally, and I shall try and give a brief description of why. It first appeared down a little side lane off St Michael’s hill about three weeks ago. I had spotted it from a bus on my way to work and registered it as one to come back to to photograph. The first lesson here is always take pictures of street art when you see it, because if you wait it will be gone next time you pass by, and this is exactly what happened with this.

The following week I was on my way to five-a-side football and it was still there and I made a mental note of coming back ASAP to take some pictures. On my way home an hour and a half later it had been buffed with white paint.

At pretty much the same time, there was a story on the Bristol Live website that it might be a Banksy, and stories like this always cause a stir. The piece is actually a clever adaptation of a Banksy work painted in Los Angeles entitled ‘Playhouse foreclosure‘. The core elements are the same, but the builder is absent, and the little girl is standing on the other side of the playhouse facing the other way.

John D'oh, St Michael's Hill, Bristol, July 2019
John D’oh, St Michael’s Hill, Bristol, July 2019

The central point of the piece however was to enter into the realms of debate over the copyright of street art. It is critical of the stance taken by Banksy (and his lawyers) who recently won a case against a museum in Milan for selling Banksy Merchandise. Banksy has always had a pretty firm position of being against copyright and intellectual property rights, so this piece is simply highlighting the hypocrisy.

Having said that, this is a really difficult area for street artists and one that causes a lot of lively discussion. I know that John D’oh admires Banksy greatly, and has in the past used Banksy’s work and inspiration for his own work. In this instance I think he is being deliberately provocative to highlight this copyright/ideology minefield.

So how did I get my pictures? Well the great thing about stencils is that they can be used again and again, and within a couple of days, John D’oh had returned and repainted the piece (you can see the white paint that had been used to buff the original). Who buffed it in the first place and why, well we might never know, but all’s well that ends well.

 

 

Thursday doors – 2 May 2019

Doors 70. Some Bristol doors from the Kingsdown area – 2 April 2019

If you head towards town on the Cheltenham Road (A38), to your right is a hill which leads up to Kingsdown. These doors are on the sleepy and rather steep streets in that area that appear to have little traffic, making standing in the road taking pictures less hazardous than usual.

Taken a few weeks ago on a rather sunny morning. Enjoy.

Two reasonably ordinary garden gates and Banksy's Rose Trap behind perspex, Kingsdown, Bristol, March 2019
Two reasonably ordinary garden gates and Banksy’s Rose Trap behind perspex, Kingsdown, Bristol, March 2019

Door on a steep hill, Kingsdown, Bristol, March 2019
Door on a steep hill, Kingsdown, Bristol, March 2019

Another door on a steep hill, Kingsdown, Bristol, March 2019
Another door on a steep hill, Kingsdown, Bristol, March 2019

The Hillgrove, Kingsdown, Bristol, March 2019
The Hillgrove, Kingsdown, Bristol, March 2019

Windows from a bygone era... a smoke room, can you believe it?
Windows from a bygone era… a smoke room, can you believe it?

One of those doors that was a door but is no longer a door, Kingsdown, Bristol, March 2019
One of those doors that was a door but is no longer a door, Kingsdown, Bristol, March 2019

A secret garden door. We like those. Kingsdown, Bristol, April 2019
A secret garden door. We like those. Kingsdown, Bristol, April 2019

That’s your lot for this week.

If you like doors and want to see more from around the globe then visit the inspiration behind Thursday Doors go and take a look at Norm 2.0 blog where there are links to yet more doors in the commemnts at the end.

by Scooj

 

2124. Thomas Street North

I have been writing about and photographing Bristol street art for about four years now, and I suppose I like to think that I know quite a lot about the contemporary scene. Now when you talk to people about Bristol and street art or graffiti, the conversation pretty much always starts like this:

“oh, Banksy, he is from Bristol isn’t he?”

To which I reply

“yes he is, but there are a whole ton of brilliant and talented street artists in Bristol who are not Banksy”

Generally the point I am making when I do this is that Bristol is not a ‘one trick pony’, and that 99.9% of the street art in Bristol is not by Banksy, “come and take a look at the vast array of talent on offer”. Some shrug their shoulders “m’eh” they say and look for some other iconic brand to schmooze with. Others open their eyes and enter into the secret garden that is Bristol street art. Welcome.

A digression.

I didn’t even know about this Banksy piece until about a fortnight ago, and found it while I was fannying about on Google streetview. What this goes to show is that I have so much more to learn, and I am open to that, completely. The piece is called Rose Trap and must be quite old. It is protected by a piece of Perspex and sited outside a residential back gate, such an inauspicious place.

Banksy, Thomas Street North, Bristol, March 2019
Banksy, Thomas Street North, Bristol, March 2019

The piece is so typically mischievous, as you’d expect from Banksy. I know little of the history of this little gem, but I expect there is quite a lot of information about it on the Interweb.

Banksy, Thomas Street North, Bristol, March 2019
Banksy, Thomas Street North, Bristol, March 2019

Finding this treasure is one of the little perks of this hobby (is it a hobby or an obsession? Is there something in between that sounds a little more cerebral?). Banksy.

2098. The Bearpit (179)

Right, there is some stuff going on in this piece by Bristol artist HAKA, but I’m not too sure I can enlighten you too much. Obviously there is a Banksy reference here to his flower thrower piece, but instead of flowers there is a baguette. I am assuming that this peaceful rioter is a member of the French movement Gilet Jaune. It is good to see a piece that plays with contemporary cultural influences.

Haka, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2019
Haka, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2019

I got lucky when I took these pictures, because there were some council workers doing something with the drain immediately in front of the piece. The man in the picture looks as if he has just stepped out of the wall. He needs to be careful he doesn’t get bonked on the head with a baguette. Nice work from Haka who has been very busy lately.