It was a version of this stunning stencil in Frogmore Street in Bristol, together with Kid Crayon’s wheatpastes that drew me into the extraordinary world of street art about five years ago. It is called ‘The Big Deal’ and represents the drug dealing that JPS witnessed in his home town of Weston-super-Mare.
Knowing what the piece represents adds a layer of sophistication to the two young and ‘innocent’ characters that appear to have appeared from the 1960s (we all dressed like this in those days) although the box over the shoulder of one of the children might be a wartime gas mask. I cannot explain just how much I love this piece, which is on Carlton Street in Weston-super-Mare, not only because of its quality of a piece, but also of how it engaged directly with me and drew me in. My favourite.
I love wheatpastes (in case you hadn’t noticed) and at Upfest 2018 we were blessed with a series of poignant and thought provoking stencil paste ups by About Ponny. I was particularly moved by these small scenes, each one depicting the marginalised or forgotten, the vulnerable or neglected.
This one, produced in sepia tones, shows two small children sheltering under a small basket, and has overtones of iconic images from the Vietnam or Cambodian conflicts. There is so much emotion and sadness and pity captured in this image. Really, truly this is an outstanding piece of art.
Even when it seems like there is nothing much going on, mainly because of the damp weather, I find that I am rarely disappointed when I go to check a wall to see if there is anything new.
My reward for nipping down to the M32 roundabout a week or so back was this magnificent, and rare, collaboration by Silent Hobo and Logoe. I met this pair painting together about a year ago, and they clearly enjoy each other’s company.
Judging from the ‘Rad Dads’ slogan, I am guessing that this is a message about the status of the artists. I wonder if the depiction in the Silent Hobo half of this piece is a self-portrait (almost certainly) and whether he actually painted this piece with a child strapped to his chest.
Logoe’s writing is distinctive, from the little I have seen, having a sort of joined-up hand writing look to it. Overall I love this collaboration and the sentiments of pride in, and love for their children. Great stuff for the Christmas holidays.
Without question, watching Arladiss painting this piece was my most joyful experience at Upfest 2017. This was the second piece she worked on in South Street Park during the festival, and I was lucky enough to see her adding the final touches.
The charming portrait of a child appeared to be finished, but Arladiss had other plans. The youthful joy she brings to her paintings of children is complemented with a bit of child-like fun to bring about the final touches.
Arladis held a paintbrush loaded with paint and proceeded to splatter the piece with great gusto. Just watching her do this was an experience. She was so obviously enjoying applying this final touch and was beaming while she did it.
Her sense of fun rubbed off on the few spectators who gathered to see what she was up to and, for a moment we all reverted to a childish state. Her sense of fun is so infectious. I love the piece, and her other Upfest piece, and am thrilled to know that she will be returning for Upfest 2018.
This was a wonderful and carefree piece beautifully painted by the cheerful and smiling Arladiss, an artist I believe to be from Norway. I noticed that this wasn’t the only piece she worked on during Upfest, although I’m not sure it was planned that way. It seems that the weather may have deterred one or two of the artists and that in South Street Park, where Arladiss was painting, there were a few vacant boards.
You can see from her Facebook pages that most of her work features children enjoying and being a part of the local environment. Indeed, her Upfest profile says that ‘she wants children in a neighbourhood to see the importance of their existence, and show them that they are a vital and beautiful part of the community’.
Her enthusiasm for her work was infectious, and it was fun watching her paint. The combination of the child striking a child-like pose and the birds swirling around her, give a tremendous sense of innocence and freedom.