1736. Upfest 2018 (47)

One of the privileges that wheatpasters have is that they can spend lots of time in the studio conceiving and preparing their work, and only a few minutes pasting it up. That is not to say it is in any inferior to any other kind of street art, it is just different and requires different skill sets. Perhaps the most challenging part is finding the exact right spot to paste a piece up, and in this instance, Face the Strange has nailed it with this large expanse of red brick wall.

Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

The piece itself is a clever reworking of Waddington’s Cluedo in which each of the characters have been given the Face the Strange treatment and have heads relating to their names. I really rather like this concept piece as did many other visitors to the festival who were gathered round it. This artist’s name says it all really.

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1588. Melville Terrace (2)

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.

Face the Strange, Melville Terrace, Bristol, June 2018
Face the Strange, Melville Terrace, Bristol, June 2018

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.

1538. Upfest 2017 (171)

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.

Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017
Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017

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.

Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017
Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017

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.

1219. Stucley Place, London (3)

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.

Face the Strange, Stucley Place, London, November 2017
Face the Strange, Stucley Place, London, November 2017

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.

Face the Strange and Codefc, Stucley Place, London, November 2017ERA PICTURES
Face the Strange and Codefc, Stucley Place, London, November 2017ERA PICTURES

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.

931. Upfest 2017 (9)

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.

Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017
Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017

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.

762. Upfest 2016 (119)

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.

Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016

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).

Face the Strange and Losthills, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
Face the Strange and Losthills, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016

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.

647. Upfest 2016 (96)

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.

Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016

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.