A yellow man in swimming trunks and a rubber duck’s head. This could only be the work of one man, and just in case you were in any doubt, he has rather helpfully signed the piece over the top. It is of course Face the Strange.
I’m not entirely sure when he pasted thie piece up, it looks quite old, but I don’t recall seeing it at Upfest 2017, so maybe he visited Bristol after that and put it up, or maybe I just hadn’t registered it before. It is a fine wheatpaste and appeals to my surreal tastes.
Wheatpasting is not as popular in Bristol as it is in other parts of the country, so it is a real treat at Upfest, when a (whatever the collective noun for wheatpasters is) descend on the city and cover just about every utility box with paste ups. Foremost among them is Face the Strange.
Most of his work has reasonably everyday scenes of people looking like models from a catalogue but with something weird obscuring their face. Face the Strange was going through a fruit phase during Upfest 2018.
However he is not a ‘one trick pony’ and this fun piece has a hamburger for a head. I love the Burger King packaging rip-off with his name in the ‘sandwich’. Things are good when FtS is in town.
Immediately adjacent to Gnasher’s chimpanzee in Stucley Place there is a door with a couple of wheatpastes on it. The higher of the two is by Face the Strange and features four brightly coloured suited gentlemen with half fruits or vegetables for faces. I am guessing that this has been around for a while. The piece is actually made up of four individual strips.
The lower pasteup is by Codefc featuring one of his characters with a camera head. Both pieces have similar themes and yet the individual style of the artists shines through.
I posted a piece by Codefc from Upfest 2016, but it seems that more recently he has favoured freestyle spraying, judging by his Instagram feed. I enjoy seeing artists moving through different techniques and expressing their work in different ways. This is a nice door.
Well it is no surprise that my path should cross with the work of Face the Strange at Upfest. What perhaps was a surprise was witnessing him pasting this piece up, and serendipitously on many levels, putting a face to the name.
I really should have asked him, what on earth is going on in his head…a man in a suit with a pineapple face and pineapple skin. Is it all just bonkers, funny and off-the-wall or is there some deeper hidden meaning. I expect it is a combination of both. Instead we talked about other wheatpasters and Upfest and the weather.
A pair of great wheatpasters occupuying the same space at Upfest, which is often the case when there are only a limited number of ‘public’ utility boxes of one sort or another to choose from.
The first of these excellent paste ups is by Losthills featuring his wonderful Jake the Dog, the second is a weird and wonderful pigeon headed gentleman by Face the Strange (I guess his name gives away his artistic direction).
These two artists really brought some colour and fun to North Street, along with all the other wheatpasters. I fear it is an underrated form of street art, but I am a big fan.
One of the pleasures of Upfest 2016 was the sheer volume of wheatpastes that appeared on billboards, lamp posts, letterboxes and other utility boxes. One of the busiest of these paste up artists was Face the Strange, who must have come to Bristol with a suitcase filled with his work.
This piece is really rather odd, odder than many of his other pieces and that is saying something. A raspberry lady in a business suit walking with crutches – what is going on here? It isn’t so much shocking as just weird. I rather like it though and you can see that a lot of thought and effort has gone into this small wheatpaste.
OK, I know, I just posted a piece by Face the Strange, and here we have another one. I have done this deliberately because I think that each of them deserves a post to themself. Occasionally I will combine pieces by the same artist, but mostly I like to concentrate on each work. It just so happens that there are two by FTS in a row.
I love this small paste up. It could have been easily missed, lurking on a doorway behind a tub of recycling. But take a closer look at this TV set and you will see that there is a still from ‘a Clockwork Orange’ and in the spirit of things, FTS has replaced the heads of the characters with oranges wearing bowler hats. Any artistic reference to this great film has to be a good thing. This wheatpaste is witty and fun, and the style of FTS’s work is always slightly unsettling and anarchic. Great work.