3947. M32 roundabout J3 (348)

What an absolutely fabulous classic from Face 1st. It is pieces like this that first led me to appreciate the work of this rather underrated graffiti artist. Face 1st has been relentless in his pursuit of bringing smiles to people’s faces, and with this blue face girl he succeeds perfectly.

Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, September 2021
Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, September 2021

The colours used are really attractive and easy on the eye, and the typical smiling girl with the letters FACE for hair is pure Face 1st at his very best. I love this piece to bits.

3930. New Stadium Road (35)

Never too far from my mind are the exploits of Soap and Face 1st, hardly surprising really considering that I see their work on such a regular basis. I must admit though that I was a little surprised to find this collaboration recently, because this isn’t a wall I would normally associate with the pair.

Soap, New Stadium Road, Bristol, August 2021
Soap, New Stadium Road, Bristol, August 2021

I would start by saying I don’t think that this is one of their best collaborative efforts, but I think that is mainly down to the colour selections which are a bit muted, they don’t really shout out from the wall. On the left are the letters SOAP from Soap with some nice little details like the sun and the little face in the O. There is a quality and an assuredness about Soap’s work that makes it quite easy on the eye.

Face 1st, New Stadium Road, Bristol, August 2021
Face 1st, New Stadium Road, Bristol, August 2021

To the right is a classic face from Face 1st. He certainly seems to be enjoying his ‘splats’ at the moment, and the girl’s face has a blue mess about her mouth. Surrounding the face are the letters FACE. It looks like the PWA boys had some fun painting this one.

3844. Purdown HAA Battery (30)

What we have here is a fabulous panoramic, segmented take-over by PWA artists Face 1st, Soap and Nightwayss up at Purdown Battery. I’m not sure that I have seen a themed section of walls up here before and the overall impact is stunning.

Face 1st, Purdown Battery, Bristol, July 2021
Face 1st, Purdown Battery, Bristol, July 2021

The first panel is by Face 1st and contains a boy and a girl holding gems. This is remarkable in one major aspect, I don’t think I have ever seen Face 1st paint a smiling boy before – it is a rare thing indeed.

Soap, Purdown Battery, Bristol, July 2021
Soap, Purdown Battery, Bristol, July 2021

The middle panel, set back, is rather more traditional fare from Soap, who is really going large on his gems at the moment. I really do need to fins out what they are all about, because their inclusion in his pieces is becoming almost obsessive.

Nightwayss, Purdown Battery, Bristol, July 2021
Nightwayss, Purdown Battery, Bristol, July 2021

The triptych is rounded off nicely with a ferocious piece from Nightwayss, in which a nightmarish monkey (what else?) is using a spray can. Some of his pieces are turning a little passive/aggressive at the moment and becoming a little more edgy – I am not complaining mind, graffiti art is edgy by definition.

All in all a wonderful theatrical collaboration from the PWA boys.

3780. Turbo Island

This was a rather nice little quick collaboration from Face 1st, Soap and Zake that rather predictably didn’t last very long. Turbo Island is a funny spot. Sometimes a piece can last for weeks there, but more often anything that is painted gets tagged within 24 hours and then it is up to someone else to pick up the batton.

Face 1st, Soap and Zake, Turbo Island, Bristol, June 2021
Face 1st, Soap and Zake, Turbo Island, Bristol, June 2021

Of course, we know that PWA boys Face 1st and Soap are regular painting buddies, but it is great to see Zake join them in this collaboration. Face 1st and Soap have merged their pieces in red with their trademark face and mouth/skull respectively. To the right, the Zake face reminds me very much of a ‘man in the moon’ type character, and has so much expression, looking over at the other two.

A great fun collaboration.

3747. M32 roundabout J3 (328)

I am thoroughly enjoying this relatively recent design format from Face 1st, and I think that this is roughly the fifth or sixth piece that I have seen in this style. One of the pleasures of taking an interest in street art is watching how each of the artists evolve their styles and subjects… what they practice and what they choose to discard. Few things on the street/graffiti art scene remain static.

Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, June 2021
Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, June 2021

This piece appeared a couple of weeks back, quietly and quickly and unusually not as part of a collaboration with PWA friends. The block letters spelling FACE are filled with the dynamic (crazy) blue hair belonging to the smiling girl, whose omnipresence is at the heart of all of Face 1st’s work. I like the darker tones of the piece, which seem to work really well. Another beauty.

3725. Nine Tree Hill (6)

I don’t visit this area nearly as often as I used to. In the olden days when I walked to the office (a dim and distant memory) I would often take a little detour up Nine Tree Hill and along Armada Place. My reduction in walking this way has coincided with a significant downward shift in turnover of pieces in the locality, indeed across much of the Stokes Croft area. It was rather a nice surprise therefore to come across these three little tag-pieces from PWA crew’s Face 1st, Soap and Nightwayss.

Nightwayss and Face 1st, Nine Trees Hill, Bristol, May 2021
Nightwayss and Face 1st, Nine Trees Hill, Bristol, May 2021

I am a bit of a fan of decorating utility boxes, which in their regimented green or black monochrome colours are eyesores that pollute every street in every village, town and city in the UK. Decorating these boxes is not legal, but in my view most welcome, and in some cities around the world is actively welcomed or even commissioned… imaging that. The three pieces here are quick throw ups, probably painted in haste. The monkey is by Nightwayss, the face by Face 1st and the mouth/skull by Soap. These are the key signature elements of each of the three artists.

Soap, Nine Trees Hill, Bristol, May 2021
Soap, Nine Trees Hill, Bristol, May 2021

The three artists have decorated one box each and brightened up this little corner immeasurably. I am sure that some people will see this as thoughtless vandalism and be quite angry about it. This is the spice of life.

3707. M32 roundabout J3 (321)

This large collaboration goes back a few weeks, and I have already posted the fourth element, the Daz Cat character, a little while ago. The remaining triptych is by Face 1st, Sage and Soap, and is really rather special.

Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, May 2021
Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, May 2021

To the left is the familiar work of Face 1st painted in a dazzling chrome. The letters FACE contain a feature used by Face 1st before, the introduction of a couple of  swords. Quite what these swords symbolise I can’t say, but they appear to be driven into the smiling girl’s head, which is a little unsettling to say the least.

Sage, M32 roundabout, Bristol, May 2021
Sage, M32 roundabout, Bristol, May 2021

The middle section is, in my view, outstanding. The character by Sage just has something about it that really chimes for me. It is the perfect centrepiece to the triptych and really shows off Sage’s talent. The cartoon-style character somehow seems to fit the PWA ‘brand’ really nicely and reminds me of a very early PWA wall in St Paul’s (now gone)

Soap, M32 roundabout, Bristol, May 2021
Soap, M32 roundabout, Bristol, May 2021

On the right, as is so often the case in these PWA collaborations is a very nice piece of writing, also in chrome, from Soap. Lots off bones and gems in this veritable archeological/geological piece. The soap tag forms the centrepiece of tis complex piece.

Another wonderful PWA collaboration for us all to enjoy.

3693. Brunel Way (104)

Face 1st is still painting at full tilt at the moment and every day I feel like I am stumbling across something new from him. This piece was from earlier on this month and is in the style of his most recent theme of what looks like burst bubblegum mess surrounding the smiling girl’s mouth and face.

Face 1st, Brunel Way, Bristol, May 2021
Face 1st, Brunel Way, Bristol, May 2021

It is interesting how some artists hit upon an idea or theme and then work on it for a while before moving on to the next thing. Decay is another artist who reinvents his theme roughly annually and then produces lots of versions of the new theme. All fascinating stuff. More of these from Face 1st to come.

3669. M32 Cycle path (124)

Another flurry of activity from Face 1st and Soap, whom are really making my life very difficult at the moment with their productivity and quality of work. If their stuff was rubbish, then I could easily ignore it and move on, but it is not and I feel compelled to post it whenever possible.

Face 1st, M32 cycle path, Bristol, May 2021
Face 1st, M32 cycle path, Bristol, May 2021

This pair of PWA artists have collaborated in this spot quite a few times over the years and their friendship appears to be as strong as ever. The collaboration is a Kill the Bill piece, which will meet with a lot of sympathy in Bristol. Another cheerful expression on this happy girl from Face 1st with a subtle FACE written into her hair.

Soap, M32 cycle path, Bristol, May 2021
Soap, M32 cycle path, Bristol, May 2021

Soap has reverted to a standard form of his iconic skull/mouths design, and the character is holding up a protest banner. The fill is very nicely blended with some nice decorations. The whole collaboration is set on a pinky cloudy kind of backdrop and ticks a lot of boxes for me. Nice work.

Face 1st and Soap, M32 cycle path, Bristol, May 2021
Face 1st and Soap, M32 cycle path, Bristol, May 2021

3665. St Werburghs tunnel (238)

At the entrance to St Werburghs tunnel, Face 1st left this beautiful trademark piece a little while back. It would seem that Face 1st has been experimenting of late with some angular block lettering which I have seen two or three times now.

Face 1st, St Werburghs, Bristol, March 2021
Face 1st, St Werburghs, Bristol, March 2021

As ever, there is an enormous amount of expression in the piece, something that Face 1st manages to achieve with the minimum of fuss, not dissimilar to the way Stik conveys emotion with his simple figures. I have lots of Face 1st pieces to catch up on… aargh, the backlog!