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.
Some readers will know that Dice 67 is one of my favourite artists and that I have been really enjoying his transition from stencil artist to freehand and from practitioner to festival organiser – an inspirational artist and one I was fortunate enough to interview in this post published in July last year.
This striking piece features American teenager Alyssa Carson who is working towards being one of the first astronauts to journey to Mars some time in the 2030s. I have watched a couple of videos of her, and her youthful ambition is inspiring.
Dice 67 is creating some outstanding work and this piece is probably my favourite freehand work to date. The proportions on the board work well and the feeling of space to the left of Alyssa is cleverly done. I love the quote…
“Always follow your dream and don’t let anyone take it away from you”
This is one of my favourite stencils from one of my favourite stencil artists (although he has moved more into freehand work), Dice 67. The painting features his daughter Izzy wearing a hoodie, gold skirt and pink wellies. Izzy has her own fine work to the right of the feature image.
This was not the main Upfest piece from Dice 67, rather it was a bit of a bonus, sprayed on a vacant board from a no-show artist. All good.
This is an interesting piece from Dice 67 at Upfest this year, where we see the artist continuing to experiment with his freehand spraying, having spent most of his street art career to date stencilling.
To my shame, I have to confess that I walked past Dice 67 while he was spraying this piece, but didn’t recognise him or the style of painting. I even took a couple of pictures, but didn’t make the connection. It was only later, when I met Dice 67 and his family in the Steam Crane, that I realised I had goofed.
I went back to South Street Park later during the festival and found the completed piece, but at that point it hadn’t been signed. I later found Andy (Dice 67) again and advised that he ought to sign it, as other people like me might be expecting to see a stencil. In the feature picture, you will notice that the piece was signed in the end.
The work itself is a self-portrait, and I wonder how much the pretend ears were influenced by his children. I really like it that Dice 67 is making this big step in the art he creates, and I am looking forward to seeing more of it in the future.
It is also worth mentioning that Dice 67 organised the highly successful Cheltenham Paint Festival in September, which I was unable to visit, but some of the pictures I have seen on Instagram were utterly awesome.
This is the first interview I have posted on Natural Adventures and I couldn’t have hoped for a better start. I have long admired the work of Dice 67, and have featured several of his Bristol street pieces on this blog over the last two years. This interview was an idea hatched at Upfest 2016 when I met Dice 67 for the first time. Several emails have been exchanged and a year has passed – good things come to those who wait.
Who are you and where are you from?
Andy ‘Dice’ Davies aka Dice 67 / Dice Sixtyseven
Can you remember your first piece of street art? where was it? how did you feel?
I was working for a college for 16-24 yr olds with learning difficulties and, as the board of the qualification I taught changed, the new one had furniture upcycling in. The students all wanted to do Banksy style stencils on there pieces and it went from there.
A couple of years later and a student asked to do a local bus stop in Nailsworth which was a complete mess. We planned the wall and I learnt to go bigger. Part of the wall had a space on it and I put the stencil of my daughter on it as a kind of guardian. The picture of her when she first saw it (wearing the same clothes) got put on Reddit and it got half a million views and voted on by 40,000! This was quite some introduction and people started to contact me asking to buy copies of it, be in magazines etc.
What techniques do you use and what is your favourite way of working?
Although I started out with stencils I have always wanted to try new techniques and have painted with acrylics, sometimes using brushes and often just using my hands! I have used an air brush on some paintings and done some completely free hand spray pieces now.
Freehand is definitely the most satisfying when it comes off but can be quite frustrating when it doesn’t! I’m still a newbie to it so still have a lot to learn, and can be a bit of a perfectionist, so find getting the fine details on portraits very difficult but its the way I want to go so Ill be doing a lot more.
Making your mistakes and learning in front of people can be quite daunting too! There will always be a place for stencils though – I love the cleanness of the lines and detail in smaller pieces so doubt Ill give them up completely.
Why do you do street art, especially when you know it might be tagged or over-painted as soon as you turn your back?
Essentially because I love doing it! Having a creative outlet is a blessing and I love having the opportunity to paint. I was made redundant from the college last year and have now taken it up full-time which has been fantastic. I’m getting a lot of very diverse jobs in and each one is a new challenge.
I’ve turned a lamp post into a cobra, painted a shipping container for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Virtual Reality headsets for the Cheltenham Music Festival, painted a 30x10ft magazine cover and am also making a sculpture for the Tour of Britain cycle race as well as running workshops and doing murals for schools, library projects and festivals so I am pretty busy but loving every minute right now.
I’m also running the first Cheltenham Paint Festival where I shall be having around 70 artists coming and painting around 14 locations around the town so life’s pretty hectic at the minute!
It’s nice when your work stays up and is there for a time but getting painted over is the nature of the beast and keeps everything fresh. You’re constantly pushed to come up with something new and that’s an exciting prospect.
Who are your artistic or life inspirations?
As I’m sure you’re aware my kids appear in a lot of my paintings and they’re definitely a big inspiration for me. I don’t like painting famous people and don’t like using other peoples photographs without permission so I guess its my way of saving on models fees!
As for artistic inspirations I just try to do my own thing – I love realism in street art, anamorphic styles and admire the form and colours of the writers but also love Da Vinci’s drawings, surrealism and abstraction. I’m a big fan of good sculpture and installation pieces too so my inspirations are pretty diverse!
Whose work do you admire?
My favourites are undoubtedly Pichi and Avo. I love their mix of new and traditional styles. It was something I thought about doing myself a few years ago but when I did a google search and found a couple of their early pieces, I realised I was nowhere near their level and it would probably take me a lifetime to achieve where they already were so went back to the drawing board!
Other favourites are Smug, Kazland, Id:iom, Odeith and I love Carlos Martin Burgos’ drawings.
What makes you tick?
Leaving something for my kids to look back on and seeing that I stood up for kindness and social responsibility.
What would you be doing (do you do) when you are not creating your art?
Trying to make my kids laugh or teach them something.
Do you have a ‘stand out’ piece that you are most proud of? what is it? is it still there?
I’ll always love my original Izzy piece as its taken me to where I am today. I often think if she had worn a different top or boots I might not be on the path I am now and would still be teaching. I find it crazy that the random choice of a 4 yr old has had such a huge impact on my career path! Yes the original is still up in Nailsworth as far as I know and is now four years old!
My recent SMILE piece is also a favourite as it forced me to go freehand due to time constraints and it came off and fitted the triple gatefold magazine cover! It was my goal to go freehand this year and this gave me the kick up the arse to do it. Its still there as we speak.
Do you have plans for your art? what will you be working on in the coming months?
Just to keep doing whatever opportunities come my way and finding some time for my own stuff in between! The paint festival is huge for me and I have a budget from the council to run 6 smaller festivals over the next three years so being able to paint the town is a huge honour and one I hope I can make people proud of.
Do you have any questions for me?
Would you like to buy a painting? 🙂
Nothing would give me more pleasure than owning a Dice 67 piece…a few more years down the mine earning shekels ought to do it. Many thanks to Dice 67 for giving us a window into his world.
Street art and graffiti can often tell a story about the ever-evolving scene. The original piece by Angus, which is one of his favourite stencil concepts was sprayed as part of the paint jam in the Bearpit over Easter.
Angus had completed the work by the time I got down there, but it was still in pristine condition. Now, I understand that taggers really have very little time for stencil art, and don’t take long to spoil it, or ‘add’ to it with their own scrawlings and witticisms. By the time I went back the next day there were already quite a few tags on the piece.
How brilliant then, that Dice 67 went the extra mile and augmented the piece with a fabulous stencil of his daughter spraying the words ‘I must not write on the walls’. How brilliant is that – a living piece that takes a pop at taggers, but in a really clever way, and sets the piece off beautifully. Evolution.
It was great to meet Dice 67 at Upfest, as we had communicated by Instagram before the festival, and I had arranged to say hello. His piece for Upfest was more of a collection of stencils pulled together into one place, and they are all really good.
In the first image, Dice 67 is touching up some of the breaks in the outline from the stencil with a pen.
I love the ideas that he has brought to this eclectic gallery – a Victorian lady spraying, and a girl roller-skating, sporting a SSOSVA t-shirt.
One of the things that Dice encouraged visitors to do was stick up a signature or small stencil on his wall. There are many artists who took him up on his offer. I also made my debut tag…in the picture below – can you see it?
My first effort, and it could do with a bit of work, but not too bad. This was a really fun piece by Dice 67, getting into the spirit of the whole festival.
I think I saw my first piece by Dice 67 in almost this exact spot in the north tunnel of The Bearpit a couple of years back. His stencil work is really first class and his subject matter always intriguing.
I believe the girl featured in this piece is his daughter, who often appears in his works. I love his stencil work, the layers all come together so seamlessly. The attitude of this piece is fantastic. I hope he comes back to Upfest this year, he will be most welcome.
In Bristol, most of the political street art seems to be created by stencil specialists. I guess the technique lends itself to writing messages and combining them with famous, iconic or striking figures.
In this beautifully executed example by Dice 67, we see a homeless man holding up a banner, while behind him there is a group of Tory politicians, in what appears to be a police line up. The Prime Minister is accompanied by Gove, Hunt, Osborne and one other. The Tory manufactured mantra since the coalition has been ‘we’re all in it together’. Obviously it is not the case, as the wealthy continue to get wealthier and the poorest in our communities are dropping through the cracks.
Whether I agree or not with this piece is irrelevant in so much as it is a fantastic work and worthy of greater exposure. Dice 67 is a brilliant stencil artist, and I always love it when he visits Bristol and leaves something like this behind.
He signs off the piece with his usual spray cans. A great work.
Another fabulous stencil, this time by Dice 67, an artist from Cheltenham, and one that I blogged about in August 2015. His work then was sprayed as part of Ufest 2015. This piece is quite different, lurking in one of the tunnels of The Bearpit.
An Instagram conversation with Dice 67 revealed that he only sprayed this on Saturday (four days ago) and by Sunday, when I photographed it, it had already been tagged by DBK. I do wonder if DBK are pushing the boundaries of graffiti etiquette at the moment. Anyhow, at least I got a reasonably clean snap of this really technical piece of work.
I love this work, in particular the signature on the spray cans.