4501. Upfest 2022 (13)

Alongside all the newcomers to Bristol’s Upfest festival, there is a cohort of ‘regulars’ who turn up and wow us with their talent, year after year. One of these regulars is RTC (Rich Turner) who has been present at several festivals and presented us with this magnificent British bulldog stencil piece this year.

RTC, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022
RTC, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022

RTC manages to produce these massively detailed and multi-layered stencil pieces that are photorealistic in their appearance. The backgrounds too are beautifully constructed with hexagons bubbles and stars all adding to the structure of the piece. What is most amazing is that it is all contained with; one of the small 1m squared board.

4406. Elton Street (4)

Elton Street paint jams are something that, until last year, have passed me by a little. Some five or six ‘billboard’ panels fixed to the wall of a building are painted simultaneously, by a selection of artists, usually with a colour theme running as a golden thread between the pieces.

Tom Miller, Elton Street, Bristol, April 2022
Tom Miller, Elton Street, Bristol, April 2022

This panel is by the magnificent Tom Miller, whose surreal and busy creations continue to thrill and bemuse in equal measure. Here we have a dog or wolf bursting out of the picture in a splash of colour, with a pan or bowl suspended in front of him. This is a real work of art, brilliantly executed. I miss his occasional pieces in the Bearpit, where he first announced his entry onto the Bristol street art scene, but he makes up for it with walls large and small all over the city.

4403. Greenbank (40)

Billy continues to utterly delight with her uncomplicated storytelling pieces. Her work is so accessible and has a deep connection with the viewer, and I imagine especially so with younger audiences. There is nothing pretentious or conceited about her work, it is full of fun and commentary that is pleasing to the eye and great for lifting the spirit.

Billy, Greenbank, Bristol, March 2022
Billy, Greenbank, Bristol, March 2022

I particularly like this piece, I mean what’s not to like about dogs, birds, hats, flowers, a pencil and a lava lamp. I think that the grey background works really well with the overall presentation and the colour scheme is superb. A feast for the eyes and a triumph for Billy – one of my favourite pieces of hers so far.

4081. Cumbrland Basin

Ooh! Creative, imaginative and lots of fun, this wonderful piece from Slakarts down in Cumberland Basin is an elaborate expansion on his regular face template. In this piece, Slakarts is telling much more of a story than simply painting up his mega-tag that we see quite a lot of in the city.

Slakarts, Cumberland Basin, Bristol, September 2021
Slakarts, Cumberland Basin, Bristol, September 2021

A man, a flower and a dog are the subjects of this lovely piece, and the confidence and boldness ooze out of the wall. Slakarts’ work is typified by the thick outlines and solid fills that present as clean and tidy work. There are some similarities in this work and that of Roo, which is a compliment indeed. More sophisticated stuff from Slakarts to come.

3967. Upfest 2021 75×75 (67)

What a genuine pleasure it was to meet Roo for the first time while she was painting this magnificent shopfront piece for Upfest’s 75 walls in 75 days event. It would seem that her allocated spot, a pet shop on East Street, was the perfect match for her animal inspired work.

Roo, East Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21
Roo, East Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21

Roo was able to show off her skills over the entire outside space of the pet shop, which is not inconsiderable, and so we, the viewers, are getting four animal pieces for the price of one, starting with this superb mouse/rat tucking into a fairy cake.

Roo, East Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21
Roo, East Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21

On the largest panel of the shop, Roo has painted this sleeping dog which is dreaming about ‘Rrupfest’. In this piece you can see that the clean lines and solid fills are expertly finished and the light brown shading (in cartoon style) gives an additional 3D feel.

Roo, East Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21
Roo, East Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21

On the next panel of the shop is a goldfish in a bowl taking a selfie as if it were a holidaymaker on a beach. The piece is full of wit and charm and rather unfortunately obscured by a wheely bin, the scourge of street photography.

Roo, East Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21
Roo, East Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21

The final bit of wall to be painted by Roo is a fat cat enjoying some popcorn and taking in a 3D movie with its cardboard lenses.  The whole wall is a triumph for Roo whose work is a perfect fit for this kind of spot. It is great to see that since she painted this, Roo has visited Bristol again and left us a gorgeous lion, to follow soon.

3962. Upfest 2021 75×75 (66)

Well now we are getting in to the final 10 pieces from Upfest’s 75 walls in 75 days event and I am getting a little edgy, because my ‘collector’ gene will be working overtime to ensure I get every single one, and that might be difficult.

Silent Hobo, Ruby Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21
Silent Hobo, Ruby Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21

I don’t normally associate Silent Hobo with Upfest events, so it was really nice to see that he has participated in this most unusual of years with this enormous mural in Ruby Street.

Silent Hobo, Ruby Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21
Silent Hobo, Ruby Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21

Of course, with so many murals in residential streets for this year’s event, parked cars have been a real problem. I think I might suggest to artists that next year they start their pieces four feet above the ground, or that they paint cars in the lower portion so we don’t actually miss anything (now there’s a creative concept).

Silent Hobo, Ruby Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21
Silent Hobo, Ruby Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21

As with all of Silent Hobo’s excellent observational work, he captures the mood of ordinary people, especially youngsters so well. One could do a celebration of Bristol, just by showcasing all of his pieces. It would seem that he is very proud of the city and its citizens and his murals are a wonderful record of the city in the 2000s.

Silent Hobo, Ruby Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21
Silent Hobo, Ruby Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21

Another thing that Silent Hobo portrays beautifully is pets and wild animals. Here he rewards the viewer with a fabulous cameo of a little boy and his dog in a red armchair, a delightful scene. Yet another outstanding wall from Silent Hobo and for Upfest.