I think it is fair to say that some of the Upfest pieces are much more memorable than others. Some you really want to photograph and some others you forget that you even saw them until you review your pictures. This is definitely one of those memorable ones.
The bright piece is by Mister Samo, who I have not encountered before but who has a really interesting biography in the Upfest programme as follows:
Samo is a Portsmouth based trans artist, public speaker, and activist who focuses on intersectional gender identity and community. Highlights include painting at World Pride 2019, producing I EXIST (a trans bodies art book), founding an LGBTQ+ safe space scheme, and having his works collected by people across the world.
There is something very appealing about the piece and without doubt it demands to be looked at. The stylised yellow figure set on the blue and pink background stands out a mile, but as well as the bold colours, the finer details are what make the piece rather special, such as the hand and the beautifully drafted flowers. A very nice piece from Mister Samo.
Two artists that you could probably set your watch by are Face 1st and Mr Draws – both produce pieces with reassuring regularity, providing some stability and reference points in this topsy-turvy world.
This piece is quite typical of Mr Draws’ work, although it feels a little bit laterally compressed, he usually likes to spread his letters out a little more. If this was by a different artist, I might describe it as a ‘dregs’ piece, meaning that it was an opportunity to finish up almost empty cans. However, Mr Draws loves to use lots of colour in his pieces, so this might simply be a joyful burst of colour.
I simply had to dig this piece out of my archive because I was lucky enough to meet the artist, Ceus, earlier this week painting a new wall very close to this one in Dean Lane. I was not alone in struggling to find out who the artist was, but now the riddle, from last October, is solved. It turns out that Ceus is another Spanish street artist. He lives in Bath and doesn’t have much time to paint as he has a very busy life in the restaurant business. A nicer bloke you couldn’t wish to meet.
This piece is a real stunner, and it was such a shame not to be able to post it last year, but good things come to those who wait. Ceus is a really talented artist, as this piece demonstrates, and the burst of colour on a white background works exceptionally well. It is obvious now to see that the letters spell out CEUS… hindsight is a wonderful thing. I like everything about this piece, and it is a nice warm-up for the piece he painted this week, which I have to return to before it gets painted over. A gem.
Having only recently started to post pieces by Dopes, it was particularly gratifying to find this absolute beauty recently. Sprayed during a recent paint jam celebrating the opening of a relocated eatery, this piece really stood out, and ticks a lot of my boxes.
The multi-coloured, beautifully and skilfully patterned fills are truly exceptional, and the white spots and trims provide the depth and 3D look. Dopes’ letter shapes are all very nice too, particularly the elaborate D. This is a belter of a piece of graffiti writing from the RAW man.
I haven’t seen a new Elvs piece for quite a while, so I was doubly pleased to not only find this graffiti writing, but also to find Elvs working on it. Of course, I chatted for a little while, conscious that these guys sometimes like to have a bit of peace and quiet. I asked why he hasn’t been painting much recently, and one of the reasons is that he is now the proud owner of a dog, a very big dog. Well you don’t need me to tell you just how much time a dog can occupy.
There is something about this piece that elevates it above many of his others (a high bar indeed) and I think it might be the exquisite colour selection and blending as you move up and down and along the letters. The piece is flawless and beautifully finished, and with a piece like this, the buffed background makes a big difference. Let’s hope the dog lets him get out more!
The slowness with which I have photographed and posted some pieces this year is an artefact of the lockdown as there are some parts of town that I simply don’t go to any more since I stopped going into the office. Anchor Road is one of those places. This piece by Paul Monsters was painted quite some time ago, but I only photographed it last weekend.
This container has had some memorable pieces on it, notably from Andrew Burns Colwill and SPZero76, so it is fitting to have an eye catching geometric design from Paul Monsters here too. Using his customary colour shades and shapes Paul has turned a drab surface into a vibrant living 3D piece of art for the citizens of Bristol to enjoy, and keeps up the fine tradition associated with this otherwise rather ugly storage unit. Excellent work.
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.
Moon Street, once one of the most vibrant and active graffiti streets in Bristol has become something of a forgotten backwater since the gentrification tsunami struck the Stokes Croft area about two years ago. Since that time decent pieces are few and far between, but every now and again there is a little gem, like this dazzling piece from Lee Roy.
Everything about this one screams out ‘look at me.. I’m here and I want to be seen’. As I have said in an earlier post of a piece from Lee Roy, he seems to have gone into overdrive in the last few weeks and is chucking up his unique brand of graffiti writing all over the city. I particularly like this one though. Great for the somber mood we seem to find ourselves in these days.
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.