The Celtenham Paint Festival was a bit of an unusual affair this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Slightly last minute and slightly reduced in ambition there wasn’t quite the atmosphere one would expect at a paint festival, but the quality of the art and variety of artists was nonetheless up to its usual standard.
Fark is not an artist I am familiar with, but am very much drawn to this piece. The strong lines, uncomplicated scenes and bold colours are reminiscent of Dick Bruna’s work, a Dutch artist and author whose ‘Miffy’ books were a cornerstone of my early childhood. There is a lot to like in this simple painting of a songbird and who can argue with the central message of love? We need to get this artist to Bristol!
There were so many Bristol artists at the Cheltenham Paint Festival, which should have come as no surprise really as it is only a short distance away. One of those artists was Pekoe with this rather nice portrait piece.
Pekoe’s portraits are easy to identify, usually by the fabulous styling of big hair filled and decorated, and this piece certainly doesn’t disappoint on that score. I stupidly haven’t met Pekoe yet, but I guess it is just a matter of time, being in the right place at the right time, although with a new lock down in place that might be a little while away.
Mr Draws really came up with something of a surprise at this year’s Cheltenham Paint Festival with this environmental piece of an elephant and the slogan ‘ system change not climate change’.
I caught up with Mr Draws in the centre of town and he told me that he had used a technique for the first time which is used by many artists called a doodle grid. He reported that he enjoyed it and that it had worked really well. There seems to be a bit of a mixture of techniques and styles within the piece, for example the rather abstract foliage, the well proportioned elephant and the twigs with leaves. A strange combination but one with a clear strong message.
Kingfishers are a favourite subject for street artists and it is amazing how these little bird can give such inspiration, I wonder what it is about them that makes our hearts sing, is it the colours? The fleeting glimpses? The fishing? Who knows, but they are certainly a very popular.
I don’t know anything about the artist Graffoflarge, but he clearly has a sense of humour by fusing a kingfisher and duck in this piece. The artwork is really interesting, being made up largely of lines and the background is beautifully done to provide the perfect backdrop for the subject. Vibrant and fun, a classy piece.
It is time for another short series of posts on this year’s Cheltenham Paint Festival back in September, starting with this lovely collaboration from Bristol artists Inkie and Soker. This is one of those collaborations where the artists share a wall and colour scheme, but each piece is otherwise independent.
On the left is a stunner from Inkie full of intricate detail. This is a piece which the artist obviously spent a lot of time on and that time has paid off because in my eyes this is a near-perfect piece of graffiti writing.
On the right of the wall Soker has similarly smashed it. To anyone seeing this and thinking this is just another piece of graffiti, think again… this is world-class writing from two of the very best, and how lucky are we that they both come from Bristol. The more I look at this piece, the more I enjoy it. Bravo!
No street art festival in the south of England is complete without something, and often several somethings from My Dog Sighs. The artist seems to be particularly fond of the Cheltenham Paint Festival and this year’s main piece was no disappointment.
This is a superb take on urban pigeons in a style that My Dog Sighs has made his own. These clusters of pigeons, identifiable by their necks and iridescent purple and green breasts have faces as varied as their real life counterparts and have a sort of bewildered indifference about them.
I very much like the way the beaks are attached to the faces with string and the human faces, almost as if these are people in pigeon costumes, but that would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it?
This was one of my favourite pieces at the Festival this year, and a little different from some of the ‘big-ticket’ pieces he has done in previous years. I feel a My Dog Sighs gallery coming on soon.
This year’s Cheltenham Paint Festival felt a little strange because of the far-reaching impacts of the coronavirus epidemic. In a way the Festival lends itself to social distancing because of the dispersed nature of the pieces across the town, but keeping one’s distance while talking to the artists, or the emptiness of some of the venues added a surreal layer to the whole experience.
I found this piece in the Two Pigs, and had to don a facemask to walk through the gaming pub to get to the back yard where a few pieces had been painted. I was there completely alone, which felt odd. I was however rewarded with this outstanding small piece by Sam Art, which is clearly a commentary on the state of our planet at this time. Some of you might remember his extraordinary photorealistic piece from last year’s festival. A fabulous artist.
The Agent is well known in Bristol not only for his Minion stencils, but also for being the father of another significant street artist in Bristol, Angus. At the Cheltenham Paint Festival this September he knocked himself out with this sequence of stencils on the inner panels of an iron railway bridge, along the course of the old Honeybourne Line.
In his single layered stencils The Agent appears to get most of his inspiration from TV or movie cartoons. There don’t appear to be any hidden messages or politics in his pieces, just a whole lot of fun.
Even creating these ‘simple’ stencils is not quite as easy as it might seem, and taking that step from ‘I could do that’ to actually doing it is the key to achieving many things in life. I am not preaching, far from it, I am perhaps reminding myself to pull my finger out and do stuff.
No The Agent wall would be complete without a minions piece, and here he delights us with a fine ‘bananas’ piece. And finally a rainbow flag…
John D’oh always has a strong presence in Cheltenham and his “gallery” of stencils this year was quite outstanding. With his razor sharp commentaries on the state of the nation and beautifully cut stencils, there is no mistaking his work.
This stencil I think dates back a little while and references the Sincura Group who held a Banksy collection exhibition of street art pieces and then contraversially sold them off in a sealed bid auction. Not really the point of street art and willful profiteering. Very nice stencil… any bids?
Cheltenham is home to a small number of artists, but thanks in large part to Dice67 and his Cheltenham Paint Festival, it is firmly on the street art map of the UK. One of those local artists (although he might be from Gloucester, I can never quite remember) is Flava136 whose piece for this year’s festival was simply beautiful.
It is just such a pity that we don’t see more of his work in Bristol. His monster character is becoming more and more stylised and the design elements becoming more prominent. This piece is so clean and tidy and is a great showcase of his fine work. Flava136 is an artist I’ve yet to meet, but I’m sure it will happen soon enough.