4039. M32 roundabout J3 (359)

The Bristol street art scene simply wouldn’t be what it is without the metronomic consistency of artists like Face 1st. These artists provide the foundations upon which all other artists build their works and reputations, but without this underground culture, street art would likely struggle in the city. Just look at those towns which have no culture of graffiti or street art  and then host a festival, the legacy although stunning dies off and appears to be fake. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing street art wherever it is, but people like Face 1st provide an authenticity that you simply can’t replicate through commissions alone.

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

This is a revisiting of one of Face 1st’s favourite themes, a girl’s laughing face with a hairdo made out of the word FACE. Lovely colours, nicely painted and everything I would want it to be.

3969. Victoria Square, Weston-super-Mare

This is a stunning stencil by an artist to whom I owe my interest in street art, alongside Kid Crayon, Face 1st and Mr Draws; it is of course the unmistakable (apart from those that confuse him with Banksy) JPS, who grew up in Weston-super-Mare but now lives on the continent.

JPS, Victoria Square, Weston-super-Mare, September 2021
JPS, Victoria Square, Weston-super-Mare, September 2021

On the side wall of a café, looking out to sea, is this young girl complete with a camera, snapping up the views of the Pier and Severn Estuary. Her patterned dress is particularly nicely done in this sharp multi-layer stencil.

JPS, Victoria Square, Weston-super-Mare, September 2021
JPS, Victoria Square, Weston-super-Mare, September 2021

On my walk around the town I met an old lady who lives two doors down from where JPS grew up, and she said what a lovely boy he was and was obviously very proud of his art and talent, she seemed very knowledgeable about the new pieces in town and was utterly engaged with the street art scene, so good to see. JPS has played no small part in influencing these positive attitudes. Lots more from JPS to come.

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.

3616. Cumberland Basin

Here we have a classic Face 1st piece. A wall tucked away from general view and a chuckling girl’s face splashed on it. It is pieces like this, dotted all over the city that add to the overall fabric of Bristol. Sub-consciously, many thousands of people in Bristol will have seen one of these faces, they might not have registered them, but they will have seen them, and they will process them simply as being part of the furniture of the city.

Face 1st, Cumberland Basin, Bristol, April 2021
Face 1st, Cumberland Basin, Bristol, April 2021

Somehow, Face 1st injects a sense of fun and mischief into his work that comes across so well. These cheeky girls probably play slightly into the hands of subversive minds (it is graffiti after all), but are entirely accessible for all to enjoy and feel free. This one is a particularly lovely ecxample.

3326. Dean Lane skate park (367)

At the far end of the bowl in the skate park is this fantastic illustration piece by Squinty. I’ve not come across the artist before, but this is a real beauty in a style that you don’t see in Bristol all that often.

Squinty, Dean Lane, Bristol, November 2020
Squinty, Dean Lane, Bristol, November 2020

In his Instagram profile, Squinty describes himself as an artist, film maker, graffiti artist and illustrator. He describes this piece as a quick throw up. How can that be? This is a lovely piece and I’d love to see a whole ton more from the artist.

3039. M32 Spot (75)

When I first saw this lovely piece I couldn’t place the artist. I was familiar with the style, but I don’t know, it was bothering me and I couldn’t immediately see the signature because of the skaters’ bags in front of it. A closer inspection revealed it is by Zake, but is quite unlike most of his other pieces that I have seen.

Zake, M32 Spot, Bristol, June 2020
Zake, M32 Spot, Bristol, June 2020

This is a really classy and thoughtful piece that makes perfect use of the awkward column space. The green-faced girl has beautiful blue hair that turns into a waterfall. Her right hand is holding a spray can that is painting her purple hair that stretches over her head and transforms into a hand that is reaching down to her left hand. Personally I think this is a wonderfully composed piece and concept, beautifully carried out. I love it.

There is a name Diana Abdul at the bottom of the piece, but I don’t know what significance this holds.

2922. Richmond Street (3), Weston-super-Mare

Last August I took a day trip to Weston-super-Mare, just me and the dog, while my wife and daughter were holidaying in Greece and my son was doing his own thing. I had contrived to go to WSM so that I couls photograph the street art. The dog didn’t know that and was just grateful to have a whole day out sniffing and running. Most f the pieces in WSM are by JPS and this ‘young girl throwing a strop’ is one of the best in my view.

JPS, Richmond Street, Weston-super-Mare, August 2019
JPS, Richmond Street, Weston-super-Mare, August 2019

The story about this piece from JPS is that the young girl is having a strop because she has spilled her paint before she was able to paint the wall. There is so much to like about the composition, for example incorporating the drain pipe, let alone the quality of the stencil itself. Such a wonderful piiece. I can thoroughly recommend a trip to WSM for the street art alone.

2721. M32 roundabout J3 (193)

The tunnels around the M32 roundabout are a fabulous place to find graffiti art, especially some of the more rough or edgy stuff, but are a real pain to photograph. The tunnels are narrow, and the light conditions can be absolutely terrible, especially on a bright day, because of the variability of very light to very dark in only a few paces.

Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, January 2020
Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, January 2020

It is all worth it though when you come across a piece like this one by Face 1st. The feature picture is the only one that has the piece in its totality and you can see the letters PWA mad up of a pencil, some paint and an ‘A’ on the spray can. PWA is the crew, Pirate Wall Art, that Face 1st, Soap and Sikoh belong to. There may be other members that I am less familiar with.

Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, January 2020
Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, January 2020

The whole piece is a joyous celebration of street art and painted in an area where there is pretty much always a piece from this artist on display – a bit like the 24/7 screening of Star Trek somewhere around the globe. Nice work.

2703. Shoreditch, London (38)

A stencil artist whose work I have always admired is London’s Unify. Unify’s work, for me has a real human touch, grabbing the viewer’s attention through an emotional draw. These works are more than illustrations they are stories, sometimes political, sometimes satirical, sometimes child-like and they are all pretty powerful.

Unify, Shoreditch, London, November 2018
Unify, Shoreditch, London, November 2018

This beautiful small stencil depicts a young girl painting some little red hearts that collectively form a peace symbol, something that is used a lot in Unify’s work. It is a touching piece full of hope, and beautifully presented between these two flowerpots.

2675. Cheltenham 2019 (24)

Consistently creative, hugely talented and generally just brilliant, Chinagirl Tile keeps on turning out the most incredible ceramic installation pieces time and time again. This clever combination piece for the Cheltenham Paint Festival 2019 features a ceramic tile girl spray painting a child-like horse with blue spots. I was lucky enough to catch up with Chinagirl Tile when she was putting this piece together – it was all a little tense as she was running low on the bonding material for glueing the tiles to the wall. While we chatted I managed to sneak a picture of her plan for the piece, and I have to say it all turned out pretty much as she had imagined it.

Chinagirl Tile, Paint Festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019
Chinagirl Tile, Paint Festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019

I think that Chinagirl Tile is unique amongst street artists in that I don’t know of any others who make such elaborate and artistic original tiles of this type. There are many installation artists, but none who do anything like this.

Chinagirl Tile, Paint Festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019
Chinagirl Tile, Paint Festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019

The girl is made up of about fifteen or more separate tiles, each perfectly crafted, glazed and fired and pieced together seamlessly. It is a painstaking process but one that yeilds such fabulous results. And… you’ve got to love that monkey on her shoulder.

Chinagirl Tile, Paint Festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019
Chinagirl Tile, Paint Festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019

At festivals, Chinagirl Tile consistently remains one of my favourite artists and any town anywhere in the world would be uplifted by one of her beautiful tile installations. The best part is that they tend to remain intact for several years, for people to enjoy.