Tom Miller is no stranger to these pages and remains one of the most wildly creative and surreal forces in the Bristol fine art and street art scene. There is so much going on in this colourful explosion of thoughts and ideas, but it looks like a conflation of a motorcyclist with a bird with a lamb?
There is so much movement in the piece and a blurring of the real with the abstract that confuses our senses a little. You could study the piece for hours and still wonder at the end what on earth it is all about. The best way to find these things out is to ask the artist, but unfortunately I didn’t get to meet him this time… perhaps when I next see him.
The Honeybourne tunnel is one of the key venues for the Cheltenham Paint Festival, but it is also one which is at risk of being painted over once or even twice before the end of the festival and almost certainly shortly after the festival as it is one of Cheltenham’s most popular graff/street art spots.
This is a gorgeous piece ‘the power of a hug’ by Creative Ginger, an artist who I have never heard of before but who seems to be based in the North East of England and paints for festivals, commissions and also runs a graphic design wing too. The artist ran the risk of being a bit schmaltzy with this piece, but just about manages to get away with it, and there is no doubt that it is eye-catching. Very pleased to have been able to see it.
The thing about Paul Monsters’ work is that it is consistently outstanding. His geometric designs and colour schemes couldn’t possibly be by anyone else, and this one for the Cheltenham Paint Festival is a real beauty.
One of the really noticeable things about Upfest and the Cheltenham Paint Festival is that a large proportion of the artists are from Bristol and it makes me realise just how blessed we are, and how much a part of the culture street/graffiti art is. Paul Monsters is at the heart of that culture and his work emblematic of it.
It is impossible to imagine the Cheltenham Paint Festival without a piece by local artist DFC1848, and more impossible to imagine that I wouldn’t post it, so here for you is his excellent piece from this year.
I won’t drone on about how much DFC1848’s work has developed over the years, other than to say that it has developed over the years. The fun piece featuring a cartoon shark and dog (and another unknown consumed creature in the mouth of the shark) is clean, sharp and colourful. A really fabulous piece and great example of this cartoon-style genre.
When street art and fish come together it generally makes me very happy. This was one of the first pieces I saw at the Cheltenham Paint Festival and it set the tone of high-interest and high-quality pieces in the town. The colourful piece is by Tash Creates, a self taught artist from Hertfordshire.
The design and proportions of the piece are first class, although of course it is an imaginary fish. It is funny how we can paint or draw a fish, and everyone knows it is a fish, and yet it isn’t a fish we have ever seen before, if you know what I mean. Anyhow, I think it is sufficient to say that I really like this piece. It would be great to see Tash Creates visit Bristol some time.
A west of England paint festival somehow wouldn’t quite feel right without a stencil piece from Bristol’s Stephen Quick. In this piece we have a dog in a space suit, and I have a feeling that the dog ‘Gryffin’ might be A portrait of Stephen Quick’s own dog, which I am sure I have seen somewhere, perhaps on social media. I read that the piece was inspired by a poster advertising the new Buzz Lightyear film. I also read on Stephen Quick’s Instagram post that he was recovering from Covid whilst painting the piece and was very fatigued, not that it shows in the final product.
I must admit that the piece has grown on me somewhat. When I first saw it, something just didn’t feel quite right, maybe the grey space to the left, I don’t know, but it is a rare thing that I don’t immediately click with one of his pieces. I am glad to say though that on reflection it has grown on me and it is yet another great stencil from the artist, which reminds me, I still haven’t posted his Upfest piece from earlier in the summer yet.
I can’t quite recall if I have ever seen a Fark piece outside Cheltenham, and I don’t think I have, but I might need to check my archives to be sure. This year at the festival, we were treated to three of his offerings, although I think I only photographed two.
I love the simplicity of his work, a classic example of the ‘less is more’ expression. Reminiscent of the Miffy character books, Fark’s birds have a charm all of their own. The message too is simple… ‘be excellent to each other’ – a phrase that could easily have come from #DFTE. This is a warm and peaceful piece and so very easy on the eye.
It would appear that Erviti, a studio artist from Bristol, is really enjoying her street art work, and barely a month goes by without one of her imaginative and creative studies appearing in some spot or other. This time she showed up in the Three Pigs back yard with this vase of lilies.
Erviti’s message next to the beautiful vase and flowers is loud and clear:
The climate crisis is here, plz panic, act now, thanks.
Sentiments I applaud. We must all redouble our efforts to act now. It is interesting to watch Sunak and Truss both campaign against the green agenda, one dropping the green levy on energy bills (as if it were the problem causing higher prices), and the other wanting to delay the UK’s target of net zero by ten years. What a couple of insufferable muppets.
The genius behind the Cheltenham Paint Festival is Dice 67, and as organiser, he is well within his rights to reserve a premium wall for his own artwork, and I wouldn’t think that anyone would object to that in any way at all.
Here, Dice 67 has created a magnificent homage to Killing Joke (the band) which when I first saw it, I thought was was a Harry Potter piece featurng Professor Severus Snape, but the likeness wasn’t there. This is an absolute masterpiece, and demonstrates Dice 67’s development as a street artist, which is quite remarkable.
I sit here writing this morning’s posts listening to the chirp of cicadas, overlooking a small pool which I will be enjoying in a few minutes, with the mountains of Croatia at my back.
I didn’t think I was going to make it to the Cheltenham Paint Festival this year, as my wife was away and I was on dog duty. The solution to the problem was to bring the dog, and I have to say he was unbelievably well behaved the entire time we were there.
The day itself was only a partial success though. Within fifteen minutes of arriving, I managed to drop and break my camera beyond repair, so I had to use my ageing iPhone to take the rest of the pictures, with a fast diminishing battery life. To say I was a bit grumpy was an understatement. That wasn’t the end of the tale of woe though. Last week I received a parking fine for not paying the correct amount in the Cheltenham car park. Grrrr. I put in only one hour by mistake and was there for at least four. So these photographs come to you at great personal cost and not a little irritation.
This piece was the first I saw and is by the magnificent Sophie Long. A pair of hammerhead sharks, in great swimming positions, painted in greyscale and blending in perfectly with the grey buffed boards. Perhaps the most surprising thing about this piece is the absence of her signature drips. Perhaps she was trying something new, or perhaps I never got to see the finished piece. I feel that it stands up perfectly well without them.