This doorway (if you care to look on streetview, which is a little out of date now) used to be reasonably clean, and only the little squirrel stencil (bottom right) by Bristol’s Stewy occupied the space. Things move fast in the street art/graff world and I have seen dozens of wheatpastes and larger pieces on the doors. This one I think has to be the pick of the bunch.
Although I had been aware of this beautiful piece by Nether410 from my trip to Shoreditch last November, it wasn’t until I visited in April this year that I actually found it. There is a big story unfolding, which touches on incarceration and freedom, humanity and nature. A stunning and thoughtful piece. Skylark security can piss off though. (My apologies).
One of the more obviously striking and describable pieces of Upfest 2018 was this interesting hand speaker by Agent Provocateur. It is weird but whenever I look at it I find it very hard not to see the Northern Ireland flag, which is rather distracting.
This is a simple and quite challenging piece with an element of edge or threat combined with humour and general oddness. I’m not sure why there is so much damage to the right hand side board, but I think the artist could have tidied it up a little bit. Maybe I photographed it before completion. A memorable piece.
A magnificent celebration of the written word by Nomad Clan, depicting a letter and a pigeon, both methods of carrying written messages, to align with the theme of this large wall in Shoreditch on ‘connectivity’.
I am a huge fan of this talented duo, who have visited Bristol for Upfest in each of the last two years. This is a masterful work with many elements to focus on, but it is the feathers on the right hand side of the piece that I find most appealing…they have such a lightness about them.
Nomad Clan are known for their big walls and this one is big. Their concepts and ideas are so beautifully illustrated with a softness of tone that many artists appear to struggle with. I was very happy to find this piece.
Krishna Malla was late to the party this year, which was a good thing for me, because I managed to catch up with him just as he was packing up. Even though he seemed to be in a bit of a rush, he still made time for a chat. I remember his brilliant snail and hare work from Upfest 2016, so it was good to meet the Cornwall-based artist this time round.
This piece embraces fully the Simpsons theme for this year’s festival. The theme does seem to have divided opinion, but I sit firmly on the side of ‘love it’. I like the concept and execution of a mister Burns palm holding up the five fingers, each one a member of the Simpsons family. There is something rather od about it, but I rather like that. It would be great to see Krishna Malla return next year.
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.
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.
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.
I have featured Skor85 a few times on my blog, and had some confusing information about her identity. I have decided to disregard everything I thought I knew and defer to her Upfest profile, which reads:
Skor85 is a Bristol based creative of Polish origin. She is a self taught artist experimenting with any media available at the time from sand grains to spray paint. She has started her graffiti adventure 4 years ago being influenced by the diversity and music scene of some of the most lively European cities like beloved Bristol Barcelona and Berlin. She is heavily involved in Bristol drawing scene organizing sketching events immortalizing city landscape and live music events as well as running the Sketch Factory (themed life drawing sessions). Creative freedom of expression with others is one of her biggest pleasures in life and paint jams are a big part of it. Characters she paints are pure fantasy and often represent current mood- happiness and worries of the day. Often dreamy or scary but always true to that moment.
Part of the confusion arises out of the fact that her online profile is utterly different from his (sic) printed profile. The one above is more aligned with my previous posts.
This is a terrific piece and has had a lot of care and attention poured into it. Many of her pieces feel quite raw, often because of the locations she chooses, but this has a finesse to it whilst maintaining her unusual style. There is some symbolism here which is tricky to decypher. Nice piece.
This piece from our very own Jody (when I say ‘our’, I mean Bristol’s) was something of a promotional stunt for Huff Post. He had been lined up to do a live spray, during which he unveiled the new Huff Post logo – the video has had more than 200k views…not bad really.
Not long after the piece was completed and the brouhaha had subsided, the logo was painted out, and then not too long after that, Cheo sprayed a bee on the hand. One in the eye for the corporates.
This coming together, albeit a bit haphazardly, leaves us with a really rather wonderful piece. The grayscale hand, so beautifully crafted, is the prefect partner for the vibrant and rather cheeky bee. Glad I got to see the completed thing before I knew about the backstory.