1793. Upfest 2018 (69)

One of the things I really like about Upfest is that it draws artists from all around the world which in turn gives us a chance to see a spectrum of differing styles influenced by native cultures…and there is a real difference not just an imagined one.

Antonia Lev, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Antonia Lev, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

This is a beautiful piece by Moscow artist Antionia Lev who cites amongst her influences feminism, comic books and Henri Matisse. The latter of those influences is apparent in the colours and some of the shapes in this work. Coincidentally this is the second post in a row to contain a Swiss cheese plant leaf…what are the chances of that? I am very drawn to this piece whuich can be found in the back yard of The Hen and Chicken.

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1792. Upfest 2018 (68)

On the long car park wall of The Tobacco Factory one of the most eye-catching pieces is what I would describe as a still life study by the talented Envol. I first became aware of the artist at last year’s Upfest and his style is so very distinct.

Envol, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Envol, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

There is something rather pleasing about this assemblage of recognisable things, the hand and the Swiss cheese plant leaf together with rather more abstract shapes. The painting draws the eye from one side to the other (in my case from left to right) before settling on the whole.

Envol, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Envol, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

During the festival this area is a real squeeze, and it can be rather difficult stopping to take pictures without getting nudged in the back or caught up in the tide of human impatience sweeping towards the street food area. Last year’s piece is shown below.

Envol, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017
Envol, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017

1791. Upfest 2018 (67)

Probably not seen by many visitors to Upfest because of its location, this magnificent piece by Dan Kitchener was sited on yet another of this year’s new walls. It has to be said that the Upfest organisers, led by Steve and Emma have done an incredible job with finding new locations for artists to paint.

Dan Kitchener, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Dan Kitchener, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

Although I had a map of where all the artists would be, I kind of stumbled upon Dan Kitchener at work. There were very few other visitors watching on, unlike some of the more central venues.

Dan Kitchener, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Dan Kitchener, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

I went back to the site  a week or two after Upfest to be sure that the scaffolding was down and only then could really appreciate the magnitude of this piece. I love Dan Kitchener’s work, and although the style is familiar, it is the little details in his pieces that I find so compelling.

Dan Kitchener, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Dan Kitchener, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

The night sky alight with neon signs in a Tokyoesque city and rain falling on the road and pavements that reflect the signs so beautifully. The whole thing is heaving with atmosphere, bustle, dampness and nighttime.

Dan Kitchener, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Dan Kitchener, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

For me though, my favourite bits are the individual characters under their umbrellas, and Dan Kitchener usually positions one of these closer to the foreground to provide a focal point for the scene. An absolute masterpiece.

1790. Upfest 2018 (66)

Often humorous and always tinged with a bit of edge, John D’oh’s stencils can be found on walls all around Bristol (and Cheltenham) and of course at Upfest. This year’s ‘official’ piece was a double-header, the first part of which was a witty corruption of the Infinite Monkey Theory.

John D'oh, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
John D’oh, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

The second board is another pithy pop at Brexit, featuring Noel Edmond’s Deal or no Deal as its headline. I absolutely love these topical political stencils, and look forward to his injects about the place.

Street art and Graffiti, John D'oh, Bristol, October 2018
Street art and Graffiti, John D’oh, Bristol, October 2018

Coincidentally, his new book arrived yesterday and I can’t recommend highly it enough, it is one of the best graffiti/street art books that I have read in a while, intelligently written and full of photographs and commentary on his own work. Brilliant.

1789. Upfest 2018 (65)

What a wonderful clean and colourful piece by Bristol-based Zase. There is rather a nice little story going on in this piece, and I love the sketch on the floor of the 3D writing of the artist’s name that appears on the right hand side of the piece.

Zase and Dekor, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Zase and Dekor, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

Zase has been painting solo for a little bit as his collaborator Dekor returned to his homeland for a while. It looks like this is by both of them, or at least it is signed by both on the bottom left-hand side of the piece, so maybe Dekor is back on the scene again. There is a serenity and maybe sadness about the piece, which is certainly one of my favourites of the festival. Oh yeah, and if you wanted evidence of the rain we had, the picture above is a little on the watery side…grrrrr.

1788. Upfest 2018 (64)

A rather saucy work from Dirtystreetart raised a few eyebrows, including mine, at Upfest this year. It complemented the pieces to the left (Guts) and to the right (Decay) by adopting the name badge as its central theme. A lot of artists do this and I have a whole load of  ‘Hello my name is…’ photographs in my archive.

Dirtystreetart, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Dirtystreetart, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

I do rather like this although I am a little puzzled by the overall message of the piece. I think that Dirtystreetart is from Cheltenham and has collaborated in the past with his friend Decay. It is also possible that SF Crew (Super Fresh) is this same pairing.

Decay and Dirtystreetart, The Bearpit, Bristol, November 2017
Decay and Dirtystreetart, The Bearpit, Bristol, November 2017

1787.Upfest 2018 (63)

My oh my this is a very fancy stencil indeed by the incredible RTC from Cheltenham. You would have been hiding under a rock not to know that the subject of this piece is film director Tim Burton surrounded by some of his creations – besides which, just in case we didn’t know, attributes a quote to Burton at the bottom of the piece. “One person’s craziness is another person’s reality“.

RTC, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
RTC, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

I cannot imagine just how long it must take to prepare this multi-layered stencil, which has such amazing fine detail, but it is all utterly worth it. I can only gaze on in disbelief. Bravo! champion of the art of stencilling.

I had a go at spotting all the films in the piece…

Batman – Mars Attacks – Edward Scissorhands – The Nightmare Before Christmas – Sleepy Hollow – Alice in Wonderland – Beetlejuice.