Tucked away in a doorway on Jamaica Street is the third of three recent pieces in Bristol by London-based artist Nathan Bowen. All three have been roughly the same size and in portrait orientation, which is quite unusual for street art, most of which is in landscape.
The scribbled cartoon character is holding a sign with the words ‘I am a Man’ on it. I don’t know what this piece might refer to nor whether it has any political significance but I really like it. I am a fan of Nathan Bowen’s unique style and would surely love to see him hitting the walls of Bristol more often. Pitu about the rather useless ‘plus’ tag in blue, but it goes with the territory.
This is another nice column piece from Skor85 under Brunel Way. I have always liked her work from the first time I saw it at a time when I thought she was a he… before I knew any better. To add to the fact that I like her work, I also really like her as a person, she is so full of energy and always seems pleased to see me, which can’t be said for everyone I know. One of life’s dynamos.
This column piece seems to be of a female monster figure representative of I don’t quite know what, but surely representative of something. There is a sadness about the piece and I am drawn into feeling sorry for the figure. So much from a small and modest piece. Love her work.
I love making discoveries. Finding things that were meant to be found, but only by those who are looking. This drawing is one such discovery, in one of the tunnels of the M32 roundabout. There are a trio of other pieces by the same artist not far away. Regular readers will know that I am particularly fond of paste ups, and when they are by an artist unknown to me, they are that little bit more special.
I think the artist is called Jarvis, but that is as much as I know about them. The crown on the top of the signature indicates to me that this artist understands street art culture and is deliberately being a part of it. The piece itself, roughly A4 size, is vibrant and striking. The colours and elements are simple and bold. A red figure in profile, the sea, the sun, the moon and a possible reference to Bristol, a hot air balloon. The wheatpaste is set on a jaunty angle and seems to have been torn from a pad at the top edge. I like this paste up very much and it feels like we might be seeing the emergence of another Bristol street artist. I’ll post the other three pieces soon, and will be on the lookout for more.
The last of this sequence of five pieces from a trip to Shoreditch in November 2018 is this magnificent dorway work by Stik (who else). The simplicity of his work tells stories far greater than many more complex pieces and certainly backs up the saying ‘less is more’.
There is something very human about these two stick figures and although the only features they have are eyes, we understand what the piece is saying and for that alone it should be admired. Stik has hit upon a style that taps into our core senses and feelings at the most basic level and elicits emotions in ways that sophisticated pieces sometimes fail to do. I love this.
This prophetic piece by Object… in The Bearpit was a protest and exposure of Bristol City’s determination to shut down the space and clear it of all ‘undesirable’ activity and make it a safe, clinical space. Object… quotes from Tom Flemming a creative consultant for Bristol City Council:
“…it will also be vital to champion the messy, the marginal and the avante garde, where imagination drives the city of the future.”
The Council shut The Bearpit down, expelled the homeless people (some of whom I note have returned), removed skateboarding and buffed all the walls with anti-graffiti paint. The space is now sterile (and indeed safer), but street art and graffiti were not contributing to a lack of safety, but perceptions seemed to rule the Council decision making. A council, I would add, that celebrates its association with Banksy. Some muddled thinking here.
Object…’s piece once again features a contorted and strangely proportioned figure propping up the rights of the overlooked, the messy, marginal and avante garde mentioned above. He is a true champion and I salute him.
This is something of an iconic piece at The Carriageworks by DNT and Hoax, and possibly other collaborators. The wall can be dated as pre-2019 because it has been behind protective scaffolding due to the development of the site for a long time now.
The figure is by DNT and he has produced something similar since in Hepburn Road. I think that the beautiful patchwork background is by Hoax or maybe Sheva or maybe the whole thing is by DNT. This uncertainty might be the reason I never published these pictures before.
I think it is a beautiful piece and in some way really represents this area well. It is a great pity that this wonderful wall has been lost to street artists, but I guess it has ever been thus.
MGB stands for Matchbox Gallery, a little gallery shop that DNT used to run in Stokes Croft.
I don’t get to see too much work from Object… these days, but I seem to have a fair amount in my archives and this wonderful piece in St Werburghs tunnel was painted back in October 2018.
Object… specialises in these political commentary pieces in which contorted figures agonise and tentacles are often involved. I have a feeling that this might have been a collaboration with another artist contributing the colourful flower on the left hand side – it looks altogether too upbeat to be Object…’s work. I like his work a lot, Nd it feels good to release this one from the archive.
I haven’t posted much by Tasha Bee lately, not because she hasn’t been painting, but more because I haven’t been able to get out much over the past fortnight. This one is under the M32 in the wet-weather DIY skate park, known as the M32 Spot.
Sprayed on one of the ramps rather than on a wall, this is another of her calm, soulful trademark figures with beautifully decorated hair. Recently she has been working or her writing which from the Instagram shots I have seen is really exciting. Unfortunately I’ve not seen any yet… it’s a turnover thing.
Rounding off this batch of ten Upfest 2016 pieces is this powerful piece by Bram. Depicting a person standing behind a glass barrier, the piece makes a bold statement about refusing refuge, which in 2016 was a huge issue across Europe.
Although the piece on first inspection might seem a little simple, it is in fact beautifully composed and executed, with fine detail on the hands pressed up to the screen, but a murky figure behind the hands is obscured. It is a moving piece and a classic case of less is more, as you try to fill the gaps of the story for yourself.
I know nothing of the artist and have struggled to find out anything from the Interweb.
One of my favourite pieces of 2018 was this lovely collaboration by Soap and Face 1st. It is one of those collaborations that is more of a proximity of work, rather than a true collaborative merger.
I must have driven past it hundreds of times thinking that I really must stop and take a picture, but it is close to a road junction and there are very limited parking opportunities. The left hand side is by Soap and is one of his most regularly used designs in a nice metallic silver. The tongues are particularly nice with the purple tinge.
It is the Face 1st piece though that is in my view outstanding. I do so much like his full figurine, and every time I see her, she seems just that bit more special. In this piece it is her hair that is so captivating, and the blue spotted bow. Her eye lashes too are extraordinary. When I spoke with Face 1st not long after he had painted this lady, he told me it was one of his favourites too.