Possibly the most difficult piece I have tried to photograph. This is a magnificent column piece by the wonderful Skor85 who organised a small paint jam last weekend under Brunel Way. She had invited various folks along via FB Messenger and so I was able to get along and get some WIP pictures.
Before I say anything else, I have to share that Skor85 is without doubt the nicest and most enthusiastic street artist I know and when I arrived she made me feel so welcome and seemed genuinely pleased to see me, which after months of lock down felt really good.
Her piece is all about balance, equality and unity which is an understandable theme in these troubling and uncertain times. Two fish sitting on a set of balance scales illustrate this theme and remind me a little of Al Gore’s film ‘Inconvenient Truth’ where he puts the earth and money on either side of a scale and poses the question ‘which is more important’. I digress.
Skor85, Brunel Way, Bristol, June 2020
Skor85, Brunel Way, Bristol, June 2020
Skor85 has a lovely touch to her artwork that almost looks like brush strokes rather than spraycan art. I have always liked her work and can’t wait to see more as the summer unfolds.
Some readers of this blog may not know that it is called Natural Adventures because it was started as a digitisation of adventure I had to the Falkland Islands in 1988 when I was a young man. I was a fisheries scientist working for the Falkland Islands Government and at this point in the Journal was out at sea on a Japanese squid jigger called the Koei Maru 30.
For context it might be worth reading chapter 1, ‘An ill wind‘.
Previous chapters (in reverse chronological order) are listed here.
The adventure continues…
Sunday 3 July 1988. Koei Maru 30
Today I had a lovely lie in – woken by the bell some time around 5am and then by the generator at about 6.15 or so. What it means of course is that I shan’t be able to sleep again tonight.
A bird is on the deck, seemingly knackered, perhaps dying – I gave it some fish livers which it is eating quite happily. I hope it lives – I may take a piccie.
It is a dolphin gull and I think it has thrown in the towel – poor thing – I wish there was more I could do for it.
Watched Lethal Weapon (4th time) ace film, and smoked loads of ciggies and drank lots of beer and whiskey and am now ready for bed. I miss Deb so much – especially now when I know ‘home time’ is only three weeks away.
Monday 4 July 1988. Koei Maru 30
One year ago today we sat in the Annex (one of the residences at Bangor University where the overseas students lived) garden stuffing ourselves with home made beefburgers and cake and chicken and potato salad and beer and wine and it was a lot of fun – fighting off the mozzies as the chill of the summer evening set in, lighting fireworks and basically having a good time.
I will never forget Moyo’s dancing or Pia’s shirt. Andy Brooks threw a good party and I was happy. How can it all be a year ago? It seems so unfair that life slips by like this.
Life is sometimes a big disappoitment – never waste it, remember it and live the memories, enjoy them – they’re all we have when we die. Memories are all that is left. I remember Jeremy Jones with a good heart – he lives on in my mind. So sad. I shed a tear every now and then. How can he be gone? That’s it, he’s over.
My seagull has disappeared – I pray that it lived and flew off.
Sleep once again accompaned by a wee dram of scotch.
Slept well for a change (probably the five steaks!).
Tuesday 5 July 1988. Koei Maru 30
Spoke to Liz on the blower.
I should be getting back to Port Stanley round about the 17th or so, but in looking at this I realise that it is a Sunday, so it will have to be the 15th or the 18th – it will be fun breaking the news to the Fishing Master!
I must be barmy bonkers.
Wrote a letter to Deb in which I told her that I smoke now,
God I wish I didn’t – my lungs now are burning and full of shit. I am in very poor condition. I dislike myself at the moment.
I wish I was home – I wish I didn’t have this blasted job.
Sod the expeience!
I miss home, and I’m ultra pissed off and my cabin is too hot and I’m sweating!
Wednesday 6 July 1988. Koei Maru 30
Slept terribly, only to wake up this morning and celebrate a day of no fishing. What makes today even better is the fact that we are sheltering from the rough seas in the shadow of Pebble Island.
I therefore am relatively happy
Very little else to write about – these non-working days are very long indeed.
Another fine collaboration, this time from Conrico and Crafty Cicada, with a strong oriental theme going on. While I have posted many pieces by Conrico, this is the first from Crafty Cicada who I can only presume was on a visit to Bristol and kindly left us this beautiful work.
The left hand side of the collaboration is unmistakably by Conrico and as always is more than just a piece of artwork because his work always has such a strong narrative, a story going on. In this piece a cartoon character is serenely sitting cross-legged, as if meditating on the back of a very large catfish – so what’s the story?
The other half of this collaboration by Crafty Cicada is an altogether more stylised with a fish (of unknown genus and species), a rising sun, some bamboo and some Japanese Kanji characters. There is a peace and tranquility here, and on seeing this, I would be very interested to see more from the artist.
A lovely and unexpected collaboration on a wall favoured by Conrico.
It is great to see yet another EAT crew piece on this exclusive wall on the side of Domestic Drain Services. Their last piece has been over sprayed in what feels like the blink of an eye because it had suffered from being getting rasined on, and the paint had not stuck to the wall leaving behind a bit of a mess (one that I liked incidentally, but there we go).
EAT are of course SPZero76 and Kid Crayon who have formed a joyous partnership bringing together their contrasting styles in a seemingly effortless way. SPZero76 has a sharp clean and highly detailed style and Kid Crayon a much softer, rounded and organic style, each one exemplified by the writing in the middle of the piece.
On the left of the collaboration are a couple of characters chilling out to some music and using some spray paint – SPZero76 has replaced the ’94’ on the spray can with a ’76’. I am guessing that the 76 in SPZero’s name relates to the year of his birth, it would kind of make sense.
On the right is a character (is it a self-portrait?) also spraying and in his rucksack along with his roller and spray can is a fish. I do very much like Kid Crayon’s obsession with fish…it is something I can relate to. All in all this is a fun piece and more than makes up for the loss of its predecessor.
The artist for this piece is Rosie McLay, not to be confused with Muffin Mclay the old English sheepdog in the brilliant book ‘Hairy Mclary from Donaldson’s Dairy’ by Lynley Dodd. I digress. Rosie is a graduate of UWE in Bristol where she studied drawing and applied arts. There is more about her in this interesting short interview on the ‘Sky Light Rain’ website
Her piece for Upfest of course appeals to me because it is centered on a fish, and some readers might know that fish hold considerable significance for me. I love her sketch style and there are some interesting concepts to the piece, the bones in the mouth of the fish and a hand emerging by the tail and a skyline along the base of the piece, I would love to know the back-story to this one. Great work from Rosie McLay.
I thought I’d kick off Upfest 2018 with one of the highlight walls of the festival which speaks volumes to me (a marine biologist by training), and really brightened things up.
One of the less celebrated, but nonetheless special, walls at Upfest is this side street, Mount Pleasant Terrace, just off North Street. Previous occupiers of this wall have been Sokar Uno (2016) and My Dog Sighs and Snub 23 (2017), so it has a great pedigree. This year the mural went big, spreading beyond the first floor and covering the entire end of row wall.
At first glance it might not be obvious that this is a Louis Masai piece, but a closer inspection gives away some of the tell tale signs, such as a patchwork turtle, and of course a signature!
I was pretty spaced out at the festival, absorbing so much visual information but not really seeing things right in front of me – sensory overload if you like. I didn’t take a proper look at the wall until the scaffolding was down a couple of days later and then it hit me, this is a brilliant piece by Louis Masai.
There is so much to look at in this coral reef scene, but of course it comes with an environmental message, and there floating around the reef are a couple of Tesco bags, which once seen can’t be unseen.
I love the way that he entered into the spirit of the Simpsons theme of the festival and presented us with a cartoon mutant fish with three eyes gawkily cruising across the reef. Some serious messages interspersed with a bit of fun. A great piece to start with. Hats off to Louis Masai.
In recent months I have become aware of a tag appearing all over the place, that is better than your average tag, and of course being a fish it gets my seal of approval. I have no idea who it is by, but I think they might belong to DBK crew, as those letters are never too far away.
The first of four tags was in The Bearpit not too long ago. Lots of drug references here.
I am not too sure what the letters spell, but to me it looks like ‘SOA’ and then I guess it is possible that the tail fin is also a letter.
As with all tags, the graffiti artist has got the consistency down to a T and can probably run one off pretty swiftly.
As I am writing this, It occurs to me that the whole thing says SOAK, and that the fish tail does form a letter, the letter K. Soak is a graffiti artist in Bristol who I featured not too long ago. It all makes sense now.
Once again I find myself in unfamiliar territory presenting a beautiful collaboration in Barcelona without knowing a single thing about it. Writing about street art away from home is a challenging enterprise and one that requires research time that I have difficulty freeing up. I seem to be much happier improvising my copy when writing about Bristol street art. What I am clumsily saying is that I am way out of my comfort zone with this one.
Firstly I goofed taking pictures of this collaboration between ‘Bumble and Worm’ and Meisone – I don’t have an image with both of the fish side by side. My bad.
The fish on the left is by Bumble and Worm who are Sarah Charlotte Watson and and David Goode Hill, who I think are a couple and collaborate as B&W. They are from Mallorca, although they sound like expats to me.
The fish on the right is by Meisone, a Chilean artist living in Barcelona. Regular readers will know that I am particularly partial to fish street art, tapping into my marine biologist roots, and this collaboration ticks all my boxes.
There were many fine collaborations at Upfest last year, but few of them were finer than that between Hannah Adamasek and Saroj. I have written many times about Hannah’s work, but don’t believe I have come across Saroj before.
In the Upfest programme there is a really nice profile for Saroj Patel, and rather than paraphrase it, I have decided to offer it in full:
Saroj is a designer and artist whose practice encompasses illustration, painting, graphic design, typography and art direction. Nature is a compelling part of her work which incorporates decorative arrangements of organic forms, flora, and wildlife, creating a distinctive hand drawn style which displays a fluidity of movement through the use of patterns, lines and colour.
Saroj draws inspiration from exploring the natural and built environments around her, from wandering city streets to hiking in forests and mountains, capturing moments of stillness and chaos, embracing and absorbing the beauty in every moment.
I like this aquatic piece that places a swimmer in a setting of plants and fish, resulting in a rather atmospheric and fresh piece.
I was lucky enough to visit this piece, which was in the beer garden of the Steam Crane, several times over the festival and it is interesting to see how it developed. I am hoping that both will return this year.