Angus is another of those Bristol artists without whom an Upfest event simply wouldn’t be an Upfest event. Originally a spray painter, Angus strayed into the world of tiles and mosaics a few years ago and he hasn’t really looked back.
Flying ducks are an integral part of British interior design history, and at one time were considered classy and sophisticated. Subsequently they have become a bit of a joke, only to become desirable icons once again. Angus has captured the essence of these flying ducks in a pixelated cartoon style in this narrow horizontal mosaic using the space very well. Lots of blues in these photographs. More Angus mosaics to be discovered at the Paintworks I believe.
This little gateway at the back of The Malago was until recently home to a lovely mural by Alex Lucas featuring two white rabbits hares on the phone. Now it has been re-painted as one of Upfest’s 75 new walls in 75 days by Natasha Kirby.
The new mural is very beautiful indeed, bursting with colourful flowers on a deep blue background and creating a little bit of summertime in this otherwise sunless summer. Natasha is a self-confessed flower obsessive and flowers are at the heart of her design and print work which can be seen on her website. You can see that the mural has a very strong design element and has such balance making it very easy on the eye. This spot is a devil to photograph, because there is nearly always a car parked in front of it.
In Bristol, one of the most anticipated festivals each year is Upfest, where much of Bedminster turns its attention to a celebration of street art over a long weekend. Upfest is the largest festival of its kind in Europe and attracts artists from all over the globe as well as many closer to home. The last festival was held in 2018. In 2019, the Upfest organisers, Steve and Emma, decided to have a gap year to give all the people involved in the festival a break and prepare for 2020. We all know what happened next…
This year Upfest are hoping to hold a live event in Greville Smyth Park in August, but this looks to be in jeopardy because of the continued likelihood of restrictions due to the Delta variant of COVID-19. However, Upfest have also instigated another initiative called 75 walls in 75 days, which starting on 15 May aims to complete 75 walls by 75 different artists, thus spreading the activity and keeping it appropriately coronavirus-friendly. Although this piece by JXC is not the first to be completed, it is the first that I am posting.
JXC is an outstanding artist whose mastery of the spray can is legendary and his ability to create such fine detail is his trademark. This piece of a fly and his block capital letters and with dents smashed in the wall is absolutely outstanding, and it is difficult to know how he manages to do it. This is real high-end street art at its very best. World-class.
This piece shows not only the incredible skill of the artist, but the willingness of the very best in the game to come to Bristol and participate in Upfest. Look out for more of the 75 over the summer.
One of the notable things about Stewy is that he skulks around, a little bit like the fox depicted in this stencil, without fanfare or pomp and with great modesty leaves us with some beautiful and lasting art to enjoy. Stewy selects his spots very carefully and few if any get tagged or over-painted because of where they are.
Stewy is a well known artist who gets a lot of commissions, and alongside his animal work, he is famous for his stencils of well-known people such as pop stars, politicians and other notable figures. In this gorgeous piece he has painted a fabulous Bristol fox in this three-layer stencil. This fox might have been there forever, or might be relatively recent, but that is the thing with Stewy, it is hard to know sometimes.
I am taking the very unusual step of publishing an extra post today, because I can. I am on leave and should be walking the dog or on the allotment or doing the thousand other things lined up. But sod it, I thought I’d do this instead, besides which, my March 2021 folder is heaving – I have never had so many pieces to select from, ever and I need to share as many as I can.
This is a superb mosaic piece by an artist I’ve not posted for a very long time indeed. He does create new pieces fairly regularly, but they tend to be in places I very rarely visit, this being an exception.
Entitled (I guess) ‘Wanna Smurf’, this piece features one of the ghastly little creatures (I was never a fan) with a couple of floating hearts. I guess this might be a Valentine’s Day piece, but I am not sure. I like the location and originality/weirdness. I feel I need to hunt down more of these little mosaics from Angus.
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: