4757. Upfest 2022 (54)

Snub 23, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022
Snub 23, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022

This wall is a powerful and significant wall, reasonably new to Upfest, that although is impressive, is really difficult to photograph. Because it is high up, the bright sky behind it tends to lead to underexposure of the artwork, so I have to do a little bit of post-production work just to make these pictures reasonable.

Snub 23, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022
Snub 23, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022

The mural is by Snub23, a regular at Upfest, and one who pretty much always gets to paint one of the premium walls. Snub23’s work these days usually features comic book-style characters, caught in a narrative and almost as if they were ripped out of the pages and stuck up on the wall. What is the rest of the story behind this magnificent piece?

Snub 23, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022
Snub 23, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022

Technically, this piece is beautifully painted, with fabulous detail in the character’s mask and in the material around his neck. The background is a perfect, patterned backdrop for the scene, providing an almost pixelated or white noise environment, which is very effective. This is a great Upfest piece from Snub23.

3846. Upfest 2021 75×75 (30)

Upfest is the gift that just keeps on giving, and I cannot remember a time when so many high-quality pieces have been painted over such a sustained period. Given all the problems that the pandemic has thrown at us, I think the Upfest team have done an astonishingly brilliant job this year.

Snub 23, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21
Snub 23, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21

This superb piece by Snub 23 looks as if it has been lifted straight out of a comic book, it is quite remarkable. The artist has used the dimensions of the wall perfectly and has created a really interesting perspective with the curvature of the tunnel behind the main character.

Snub 23, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21
Snub 23, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21

The bright colours used for the hero of the piece contrast nicely with the grey scene and there is a sense of purpose about his stride. The whole thing reminds me of Dan Dare from the Eagle Annuals I used to read as a kid (they weren’t mine, they had belonged to my uncles when they were young). Amazing piece.

2588. Queen Charlotte Street (3)

Only a matter of a few days ago I posted a fine piece by Kedals at the Cheltenham Paint Festival, then on rifling through some old folders in my archive, I came across these two fabulous wheatpastes in March this year. Kedals has such a unique style that comes through in his larger murals as well as his wheatpastes.

Kedals, Queen Charlotte Street, Bristol, March 2019
Kedals, Queen Charlotte Street, Bristol, March 2019

The first of this pair of striking posters features a portrait of a rather portly man sporting what looks like a straw or canvas hat and smoking a rather large cigar. The whole thing is decorated with bright colours and shapes and is st for the eyes.

Kedals, Queen Charlotte Street, Bristol, March 2019
Kedals, Queen Charlotte Street, Bristol, March 2019

The second of these portraits looks like it might be called ‘booze cruise’ although with a Kedals piece who knows what the title or sub-text is? There is a lady smoking (smoking seems to be a bit of a theme) puff, puff, looking up at a vintage car with the words ‘gear 4 gas’. Curious and compelling stuff. I’ll keep looking out for the work of this unusual Bristol artist.

2578. Cheltenham 2019 (23)

Kedals is an artist whose work I have come across a couple of times in Bristol but only in the format of wheatpastes, so it was something of a surprise and indeed a great pleasure to see this painted wall in the Honeybourne Line tunnel at this year’s Cheltenham Paint Festival.

Kedals, Paint Festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019
Kedals, Paint Festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019

What is amazing is that the style he has adopted here is exactly the same as the one he presents on his wheatpastes. Pulling together elements from the great cartoon/comic genre Kedals has kind of stuck to the brief for the Festival theme which was to incorporate books in some way – Kedals has written  ‘comics are books too’ by way of explanation.

Kedals, Paint Festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019
Kedals, Paint Festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019

I’m not sure what story the piece is trying to tell, but Kedals has cleverly incorporated the word ‘Knowledge’ across the top of the piece. I don’t know either, who the two faces belong to (they look like the Krays to me), but typical of his style, he has painted them twice as freehand duplicates, which is what he does with his wheatpastes. All in all I was really pleased to see this fine piece.

795. Upfest 2016 (126)

In a car park just off Raleigh Road, a double decker bus was given ‘the treatment’ at last year’s Upfest. This side of the bus was given over to Snub23, and he made a beautiful job.

Snub23, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
Snub23, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016

Snub23 Uses his geometric patterning and shading to great effect, and then looming down from the left is one of his characters that seem to be inspired by the comic genre. Powerful stuff.

Snub23, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
Snub23, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
Snub23, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
Snub23, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016

695. The Bearpit (51)

This is a remarkable and really well sprayed piece on one of the stairways of The Bearpit by Deamze. Quite often Deamze will write his name or some other word and incorporate a cartoon character. This time he has really gone to town, and been a little political too (which of course I love).

Deamze, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2017
Deamze, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2017

His chosen characters, Dennis the Menace and Minnie the Minx are from the famous British comic strip the Beano. Deamze has recreated these with absolute perfection.

Deamze, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2017
Deamze, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2017

The whole piece spells out ‘exist resist’ and carries the taglines ‘question authority’ and ‘Government is theft’. I have a feeling that the unending austerity, pressure on schools and the health service, compounded by the significant economic impacts that leaving the EU will impose, will lead to a great deal of protest in this country in the coming years. I hope future protests will be as peaceful and colourful as this.

Deamze, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2017
Deamze, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2017

I cannot say enough good things about this piece. The location is also well thought out, to be able to accommodate the long words but also with a footfall of predominantly sympathetic eyes passing it every day.

Deamze, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2017
Deamze, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2017

It is work like this that makes my pleasure a pleasure.