When you are familiar with the street art scene in a place, it is amazing how quickly you notice something slightly out of the ordinary, a new artist for example, and how that piece immediately fires up one’s curiosity. This was one of those pieces. I knew the second I saw it that it was not by a Bristol artist, but rather annoyingly I had no clues who the artist might be – it turns out that one of my fellow street art photographers/chroniclers had a bit of luck and unintentionally discovered the pairing that collaborated to create this striking piece.
The piece is one of those Upfest ‘spill over’ pieces that are a real bonus for Bristolians, where we get to see free art on our streets beyond the confines of Bedminster. Both Ansley Randall and Britt (paints a lot) were in Bristol for Upfest, and both had travelled from America, which gives you some indication of the draw of the festival.
The eyes are by Britt and the design and patterning by Ansley Randall. The overall effect is superb, and this really is a rather special piece. I don’t know if these two artists have collaborated before, or whether they hooked up at Upfest and gave it a go, but however the piece came about, I am pleased that they did it, and they chose a great wall to decorate too. Added benefits of Upfest keeping us all happy.
I was in Cumberland Basin yesterday and this piece by Whysayit was being buffed over to make way for the latest Bristol Womxn Mural Collective paint jam, which is all part and parcel of the street art wall recycling process, without which the whole scene would simply die. I haven’t posted much work by Whysayit (YSAE) since his painting partner, Kleiner Shames, moved to London, which is a pity, because I really like his letter style – I might have to dig a few photographs out of my archive.
Whysayit’s letters are irregular, but they also are quite easy on the eye, with their curvy shapes. The solid ills are in strongly contrasting colours – no fades here. Painted at the back end of the Queen’s platinum jubilee, I don’t thing there is much doubting what Whysayit’s views on the monarchy are. It is nice to be able to post this piece after such a long gap since the last one, (about four years).
It is not only the quantity of graffiti and street art that is being painted in Bristol at the moment, but the outstanding quality of some of it that is quite mind-boggling, and you know that when Smak, Sled One and Ments get together that you are going to be in for a treat.
On the left of this triptych Smak has absolutely smashed out his letters with extraordinary class and style in what I can only describe as a very Smacky way, which I hope makes sense. Although quite well disguised, once you get your eye in you can clearly see the letters SMAK. Great colours and a confident piece.
A surreal and utterly bonkers elephant character by Sled One is in the middle section of this collaborative wall. Alongside 3Dom, Sled One is the leading character artist in Bristol and his weird creations are always something to look forward to. It is his details and textures, tones and depth that makes his work completely stand out from the crowd.
To the right is a fabulously etherial piece from Ments, who seems to reinvent his style on an annual basis while always maintaining an organic and rather abstract nature with his letters. This piece feels almost more like a canvas study than a piece of graffiti writing. Superb skills all round, this is a wonderful collaborative wall.
I am told you make your own luck, but I am not so sure, sometimes you just get lucky, and my chance encounter with SkyHigh and Roo down at Cumberland Basin while walking the dog a couple of weeks back, was a real lucky bonus.
SkyHigh paints with an intensity and concentration that does not lend itself to chit chat, and so while he got on with the job of painting this stunner, I had a nice conversation with Roo, largely about dogs, not something I would have imagined doing four or five years ago. How curious our life pathways are.
This piece from SkyHigh is an absolute jewel, with so much detail and interest in every letter. It seems that there is no limit to his talent, and it was amazing to watch him spray the folds in the letter ‘i’, to create a 3D look of paper. Each of the letters is meticulously and lovingly created to leave us with this masterpiece (not a word I use often). SkyHigh and Roo will always be very welcome visitors to Bristol.
When it comes to precision, there are few artists better than Flava136. In recent months, he has reinvented his work with a new look, ditching the monster character, but still uses the same style of blended straight lines and curves, solid fills and geometry. I would liken his work to Epok, although each has their own distinctive look.
Flava136, now pushing the NTS label, teases us with these abstract shapes and designs, in a well thought out colour palette. I am not sure what the letters spell out, and I will need to get better at interpreting his cryptic work. Suffice it to say though, Flava136 is without doubt one of the tidiest artists painting in Bristol, and always produces spectacular work. This is a beauty.
I was lucky enough to be visiting Cumberland Basin on a dog walk at the same time as Roo and SkyHigh were painting next to one another on the long wall by the corner. I stopped for a chat and discovered that regrettably they weren’t going to be painting at Upfest this year, due to a clash of diary commitments – they will be missed. However, on this particular visit, they left three rather nice pieces between them for us to enjoy. This is a small giraffe piece from Roo.
There is something about the simplicity of Roo’s animal characters that makes them both cute and very easy on the eye. The fills are nice and solid and the lines crisp and sharp. Roo has also injected some humour into this piece with the suggestion that the giraffe’s head is above the clouds on account of its height.
There is a subtle difference between the two pictures in the body of the text here, that demonstrate the importance of properly finishing a piece with lines and details. You can see also how quickly a piece can get tagged (naughty boy Asre). It is always a pleasure to welcome Roo to Bristol.
Here is a piece for the iced biscuit lovers among you. It was painted by Nina Raines in what appears to have been a mini paint jam by the Bristol Womxn Mural Collective a couple of weeks ago. I’m glad I managed to get a picture of this piece, as some of the others had already been tagged, and all of them were painted over shortly afterwards. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there.
I have enjoyed watching Nina Rains’ artwork over the years, because she seems to be able to turn her hand to pretty much anything, and her styles adapt to the work she is creating. If she didn’t sign her pieces, it could be difficult to identify her work. Not only is this beautifully designed and painted, but it fits the shape and texture of the wall perfectly. More great work from Nina.
One of the most recognisable styles in Bristol is from Taboo, and the interesting thing about that is that although he usually writes ‘Taboo’, no two pieces look the same, unlike some writers who like to recreate their letters in a similar format from piece to piece.
In this one, Taboo’s unruly letters, once again seem to defy convention, for example, he uses two different border colours halfway through the word. The letters are imaginative and creative, and don’t really follow a font style, although one can tell that they are all by the same artist. No character in this piece, which is a bit of a pity, because they add a further dimension to the overall work. This is yet another wonderful piece of writing from an artist who likes to plough his own furrow.
I think that I have photographed this column piece by John D’oh pretty much every time I have visited this spot, always with the intention of posting it, but somehow it hasn’t made it onto Natural Adventures. Well it has now, and is a great record of the crazy world we have been living in over the last two years. Capturing pieces like this is to record history as portrayed through the work of some amazing street artists.
John D’oh has sprayed this witty stencil, reminding us to keep our social distancing to 2 metres which roughly translates to Bristol croc’s length. This references many local stories about a Bristol crocodile, thanks in no small part to another fine street artist, Rowdy. The Bristol crocodile story dates back to at least 2014, and relies on repeated sightings of crocodiles in various watercourses. Some are fakes and some are recently ‘dumped’ pet crocodiles that get released irresponsibly. The Bristol crocodile has become quite a thing though.
Solar is an artist who is horribly under-represented on the pages of Natural Adventures. I have dozens of photographs of his graffiti writing, but very little of it has seen the light of day. I have no idea why this has happened, because in my mind’s eye it feels like I have posted a lot of his work.
Solar is one of those ‘it does what it says on the tin’ artists who spells out Solar in most, if not all, of his pieces. His letters are quite boxy and the holes in the ‘o’ and ‘a’ are distinctively low and squished. This is a rather fun throw up that uses the space well. I really must dig out more of his work and share it.