Pretty much my favourite collaborations are those between Billy and Merny, their naive styles complement each other so well and they both tell fabulous stories with their paintings. This collaborative wall was painted a couple of weeks ago.
To the left, as is usually the case with their collaborations, is Billy’s piece, that claims ‘it used to be different here’. It would appear that the piece is a commentary on the huge development that is going on on the other side of the hoardings. The woman in a strawberry dress, overlooking a new housing development, has the look of a Dick Bruna character, the artist who created Miffy the rabbit. Everything about this piece is perfect… the story, the artwork and the location.
To the right of Billy’s piece is a rather bleak message from Merny in which a man, perhaps a teacher, is pointing at words on a board that read ‘no one cares’. I would suggest that maybe this is a reflection of the troubled times we live in where we have an inept and out of touch government that is looking after the interests of the wealthy. The signature numbered labels create interest and humour to the piece.
What a fabulous collaboration from these two. I was pleased to get photographs as often their pieces don’t last long, which is both irritation and disrespectful.
So far, this year has been a good one for Billy, with her joint exhibition at the Centrespace gallery, and a series of inspirational pieces, such as this recent storyboard piece at Greenbank.
The cartoon-style storyboard is split into four segments with the narrative saying ‘I don’t shut up, I grow up, and when I look at you, I throw up’. My reading of the piece is that is is a criticism of our Government and Boris Johnson in particular at the refugee fiasco and National embarrassment brought upon us by their hostile approach to people in need.
The piece is beautifully illustrated, I love the world maps on the girl’s t-shirt, and other details like that, cleverly presented in her naive style. A really great piece from an artist whose work I am really enjoying right now.
Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside. Leonard Lane could hardly contrast more with a seaside scene, which helps this gorgeous mural stand out by Billy. Billy Colours, to give her her full name, together with Mr Penfold and Rtiiika, decorated the wall opposite the Centrespace Gallery at which they were exhibiting alongside Zoe Power, Merny and Beth Kirby in mid-February. Regrettably, I never made it to their show, which I am gutted about, but I have a busy life and things like that often fall outside the ‘to do’ list.
The naive style and simple captions tell such vibrant stories in a direct and honest way. It might sound patronising to say that her pieces are charming, and I definitely don’t want to be patronising, so to say they have a spellbinding charm about them might be a better way to say it. Lady in a hat as a caption works very well for me, and this piece left me feeling happy.
A week or two back , Billy and Merny had a great time painting a few spots. I love it when these two get together as their naive style shines a bright light on the incredible diversity of art in Bristol. Their work is always full of messages and commentary, usually reflecting the contemporary political landscape.
This piece would seem to be a dove of peace, and perhaps the colours selected represent both Ukraine and Russia, locked in an horrific war of dictator Putin’s making. It is the written message that is so powerful in this piece, recognising that these are dark times and that the National mood is low. Billy simply says ‘I hope you are ok’. I hope we are ok too.
This wall under Brunel Way was taken over a couple of weeks back by the Bristol Women’s Collective in a fabulous paint jam which resulted in several small and very interesting pieces. This one is by Billy, and really ticks a lot of boxes for me (in other words I like it).
The abstract design, inspired by a swirly rug in Old Market, obviously, is simply painted and presented, but combined with the words tells a wonderful story and encourages the mind to wander into the market and imagine. An unmistakably Billy piece, and fabulous at that.
Although it isn’t something that should be too much remarked upon or even overthought, there is a really large contingent of female street artists in Bristol, which probably goes against the stereotype of being the province of young male delinquents (a stereotype that is so misinformed I might add). One of the regular ladies wot paint is Billy, whose colourful murals never disappoint.
This one on the long wall at Greenbank is particularly beautiful and calming. The message is simple and positive, ‘a nice flower in the park’ and the bold shapes and design a pleasant antidote to wildstyle writing or photorealism. This naive style of street art is equally valid and often very powerful in its simplicity and voice. Lovely work from Billy, once again.
Billy is an artist whose work I really admire and enjoy. Her childlike naive style betrays a clever storytelling ability through art and words that make her pieces talk. Add to that the wonderful colours that she uses with such freedom and you have a vibrant and meaningful piece of art that we can all relate to.
In this wonderful little lane in Brislington, Billy brings us a ‘wish you were here’ postcard-style holiday piece featuring a sunbathing nude and a curious blue character on a beach next to the sea. I wonder if this is more about our past reminding us what a holiday actually looks and feels like. It has been such a long time for us all since out last proper holiday. First world problems!
A wonderful and enjoyable piece.
Aah, such deep joy. This is my favourite collaboration of the year so far. For me it simply speaks of spring, of life, of happiness. The colours are strong and vibrant and the execution of the two elements of the collaboration by Billy and Sepr is so natural and so very easy on the eye.
On the right of the piece is a classic Sepr character holding an old wired telephone handset stating that ‘it’s for you’ and expecting at any moment to hand the phone over. The colours are magical and the green shadow is outrageously bold but somehow works brilliantly.
To the left is a visual interpretation of what is being heard in the earpiece of the telephone handset. ‘Hello, this is spring, can I help you’ says Billy’s half of the mural both in words and visually. A rural landscape with a lamb and daffodils and a spring rainbow are contained in a speech bubble. This is magnificent and I would challenge even the coldest hearted critic of street art not to find some happiness in this piece.
I’ve not seen these two collaborate before, but if this is anything to go by I sincerely hope it is not the last time.
There are some artists whose work is capable of lifting a mood, and for those fleeting moments while I am looking at their work I am transported away from my troubles. Billy is one of those artists. Bright, simple and colourful her work usually carries a message which gives depth and meaning to the artwork.
This piece ‘what a mess’ was painted alongside Merny’s truck piece, the pair often paint together, and helped to lift this spot into a blaze of brightness. I don’t know if the ‘mess’ relates directly to the subject of the piece or whether it is deeper than that and describing the state of our country. On either level it works.
Sadly this piece along with Merny’s didn’t last too long, and the aggressive tagging that partially covered them over was annoying to say the least. I just don’t get some people.