Happy Christmas everyone. For those of you reading this at some point in the future, this post was published on Christmas Day 2019. Well what a sensational piece from Bil Giles for what I am guessing was an Upfest Summer Editions contribution that I photographed late and have posted very late.
The brilliantly colourful piece is typical of Bill Giles’s monster design style, and a little less grotesque than some of his past work. I just don’t know how this one slipped through the net, but for those of you suffering the wettest December ever, ever in the history of the Earth I bring you a ray of sunshine (albeit overcast sunshine) from July 2019.
Another wonderful piece painted as part of the Upfest Summer Editions celebrations outside the Hen and Chickens. This one is by Upfest stalwart Karl Read. The very large stencil is beautifully proportioned to fit this space and has a serene look about it.
The stencil is interesting because it has some simplicity to it, with large areas of single colours, but also in other parts it has complexity. I have seen Karl Read at work before and he uses large sheets of paper for his stencils that look quite unwieldy, but somehow he makes it all work.
The jewel in the crown of the piece is the girl’s hair which, if you look closely, is in the style of a Hokusai wave. The result is most effective, and the whole piece a triumph. Karl Read has absolutely nailed this blend of simplicity and complexity. I fully expect him to return for Upfest 2020.
Some pieces are good, others, very good, and just ocassionally you get lucky enough to see something outstanding. This stunning piece ‘self-portrait 2019’ is by Irony and has been 10 years in the making, after he created his first screen print in 2009 with a version of this work.
I managed to have a quick chat with Irony as he was painting it, but at the time I didn’t know who he was, nor did I recognise his style (obviously not from round these parts). I asked him who he was, but he said I’d have to wait until he’d finished before he would reveal who he was. Fair do’s I suppose, although perhaps I should have been a little more attentive to the line ups for Upfest’s Summer Editions, which might have given me a clue.
The concept of a piece of art creating itself is a tried and tested theme, but rarely is it executed with such passion, skill and emotion. This piece is awe-inspiring and would sit comfortably in the company of any of the great Italian renaissance artists. I can imagine this piece adorning the wall of a side chapel of any of the great Italian cathedrals (although I think the Catholic church might have a word or to to say about that).
This is not my favourite wall to photograph, because there is a wide expanse of white light behind it. If I were a proper photographer I would be able to accommodate for that, but I am just a ‘point and shooter’.
The closer you get to this picture, the more beautiful the angel becomes. It really is quite incredible that such a fine piece can be created with spray cans. If I could be just one tenth as good as this, I would be happy. Many years of hard graft and study ahead of me, but I fear I lack the raw talent bit that Irony has in spades. A brilliant piece, worth a trip to see it.
A rather poor featured image picture of a rather unusual collaboration by Beastie and Decay. This is not the first time these two have collaborated – or rather shared a wall – and I posted this Raleigh Road piece a few weeks back. The picture is poor, because I took it on a bright day with the sun behind the wall…never a good idea.
This shared wall – I use this expression rather than collaboration, because the two works were painted at the same time, but there is little read-across between the two, each having its own distinct style.
On the left is an unusual piece by Beastie featuring what I would describe as a fictional bird (I might be wrong here) near a small woodland and pond. I don’t know if it is symbolic or representative, but it is a rather pretty bird. I love it when artists incorporate the street furniture, in this case a litter bin, into their works.
On the right, is a nice piece by Decay. His work, arguably, is the most distinctive in Bristol. There is absolutely no way that it could be confused with anyone else. The abstract symmetry and concentric bands of reds, greys, whites and blacks have Decay written all over them. Really good drips here too.
Overall this is a lovely shared wall, but it will be here only for a fleeting moment as we approach Upfest at the end of the month, and this wall is a popular one for the festival.
It took me a little while to photograph this fine pheasant by Andy Council, but at last I bagged it. This is the third of his birds that he has recently completed in the North Street area, the others being a turkey and a cockerel, both covered previously on this blog.
This pheasant will most likely disappear in July when Upfest comes to town, as this is a very desirable wall. The pheasant is a really great pierce of work by Andy Council with the usual architectural superstructure and fantastic colours. This is a lovely piece. The other recent birds are shown below:
Have you ever had that strange thing when you hear a word for the first time, maybe on the radio, or at work or something, and then, having never been aware of it in your life before, you keep hearing it again and again. One of those words for me was ‘segue’. It is funny how awareness works. And so it is with Andrew Burns Colwill for me. I didn’t know who he was only a little while ago when I posted about his goldfish. Now, as I go through my archives, I keep finding pieces by him, that I didn’t know were by him, and the best bit about that is that I can now post them here. ABC is very much front of mind for me at the moment.
This piece entitled ‘Health and Safety’ encapsulates our nation’s obsession with H&S and our equal counterbalance of mocking it. “Hold the handrail” they say at work when going up or down the stairs. Infuriating, but somehow endearing. The problem I have with H&S is that it is enforced, not because people care, but because people want to be seen to be caring. Being seen to be doing things is the biggest sham. Just do it…then you will be seen.
I seem to be on a bit of a soapbox. three glasses of wine and this is what happens. Back to ABC…I really like his work. There is something very serene about it, but in this piece there is something troubling too. Perhaps he is so moved by the H&S thing that he needed to express his feelings through his amazing art. I just rant. More to come in a while.
On the Saturday of Upfest 2016 I was not sure who the artist was on this wall. He was high up on a scaffold tower, and seemed only to have started his piece.
The wall in Greville Road is one of the least photogenic ‘art walls’ in Bristol. It is high up and surrounded by bright skies with the sun during the day behind the wall and so the face is usually in shade. The previous occupant was a hand by Jody.
Even on the Sunday and the Monday the wall was only half done, so I was still in the dark about the artist. I returned a few days after the Festival and the full picture was revealed…a most fantastic work by Cosmo Sarson.
His ‘Breakdancing Jesus’ remains one of the most celebrated pieces in Bristol, and this is equal to it. The colours of this work are wonderful as the figure floats under the multicoloured surface and his half-naked body is reflected in swirls. This really is one of the highlights of the festival and so worth waiting for.
I am a huge fan of China Girl Tile, and was so excited to hear that she would be at Upfest 2016. I had seen lots of her work on social media, but nothing in the flesh, so it was a real treat not only to see her at work, but to be able to say hello and stop for a quick chat.
I caught up with China Girl Tile while she was finishing off her work in the drizzle on the second day of the festival. The wall she was working on is in the back yard of the Hen and Chicken and in really great company (Fake, Cosmo Sarson…and others).
I am glad she chose foxes for this installation, because as many of you may know Bristol is famous for its urban foxes. In fact some research a few years ago showed that the most densely populated group of foxes on record were in and around my allotment. Their numbers fell due to mange and the introduction of wheelie bins with strong lids. I digress. I love foxes.
Her reference to the Campbells soup tin is not only witty but is incorporated so very well into the unfolding story.
Her work is unusual and refreshing and executed with such skill and dedication. The tiles are really beautiful and enchanting. Please can we get more China Girl Tile work in Bristol.
Fake is a brilliant self-taught Dutch stencil artist from Amsterdam whose work at this year’s Upfest is one of the outstanding pieces. Who can forget the image of a comic character (is it Skeletor? I’m not much cop at this kind of thing) riding a banana?
The clean lines and framing of the piece on a white wall is what really makes this something different and special. Once again Upfest brings in talent like this for Bristolians to enjoy and appreciate for at least a year, and makes us all hungry for more.
I was very struck by this piece by Fake, and it is in my ‘top ten’ (figurative, not literal, because that would be impossible) from the festival. His website is well worth a gander too.
Inspired by this recent post by Frankie Beane, I went in search of some pictures I had in my archive by the same artist. Miss Wah is a street artist and designer from Worcester who loves to doodle (you’d never guess) and who’s art is in the Kawaii style. There is more about the artist on her website.
This piece sits in the garden/yard of the Hen and Chicken on Greville Road, and is in the very good company of a piece by My Dog Sighs – a favourite artist of mine. This was not so much a collaboration as a sharing of space at Upfest 2015.
The day I went photographing these was too bright, and unfortunately the pictures are not very good because of the sun/shade issues. This is part of the reason I hadn’t posted them, but thanks to Frankie Beane, here they are. I would expect this whole area of Greville Road to be repainted in less than two weeks when Upfest 2016 begins.