In the world before COVID-19, if you can remember that far back, Decay was painting walls at will, and the high frequency of his new pieces at times made it difficult to photograph and post them. Then everything changed and we entered into a dystopian present overseen by charlatans. There seems to be such a strong correlation between demagogue leaders and appalling mis-handling of the health crisis.
Apart from a few pieces over the last year, Decay seems to have gone to ground a bit.
This recent piece is something of a rarity, not only because Decay hasn’t painted much, but also because of the introduction of a new design. Chuck, the little character, remains. This is another Kill the Bill piece, which stands up for the rights of people who live in mobile accommodation, which Priti Patel appears to want to crush, along with a whole raft of other human rights. She really is a dreadful person in every way. Looking forward to seeing more from Decay as things improve.
The second half of 2020 was not a productive one for Decay, in terms of street work, so it was great to see some new pieces during the Christmas holiday break. This is a very neat and tidy Christmas piece on the M32 cycle path.
I think that this is the first piece I have seen in Bristol since August, although he did make an appearance at the Cheltenham Paint Festival in September that I haven’t posted yet (note to self – post a few more from the festival soon). In this nicely styled piece spelling out DECAY, his little character, Chuck, is greeting us with a Christmas Ho ho ho! It will be interesting to see what happens with the new hard national lockdown imposed yesterday. I expect some artists will make time to get out and about and others may go to ground. We shall see.
This piece was painted a little while back by Decay, but I decided to dig it out because it marks further experimentation from an artist, who, when I first met him only painted in black, white, red and grey colours. His artistic journey has blossomed over the last three or so years and his pieces are becoming more and more interesting as a result.
Most unusually, Decay has gone for orange and purple colours with green highlights and arrows. More unusually he hasn’t used black outlines for his letters, although his little Chuck character does have an outline. Spelling out DECAY, I see this piece as pivotal in the artist really pushing himself to try new ideas. I love the orange splashes above the A. Looking forward to more developments.
This was a quiet one from Decay that snuck out without fanfare. It is great to see Decay experimenting with some new paint textures and ideas, such as spraying large clouds of paint on the wall as a kind of backdrop to his writing.
The white shading in the letters has a kind of distressed effect, something interior decorators were particularly fond of in the 1980s. The whole thing is high-class and exactly what you’d expect from Decay. There are two crew names on the piece that are HTM – Hold the Mustard, and LRS – Last Radical Souls, they are a loosely based crew operating all over the world since 2001.
When people say to me ‘I didn’t recognise you at first with your beard’ I know that I haven’t seen that person for at least five months, and that was the opening of my conversation with Decay recently at a paint jam at the M32 roundabout recently.
Not only was it good to catch up, but it was also amazing watching him bring this piece together. One of the first parts that he added was the large splatters of grey paint, using a rather interesting contraption attached to the cap.
Decay works so effortlessly and with such mastery of his lettering that witnessing this piece coming together was like watching something magical unfold. I believe it to be one of his finest pieces to date and that is a very high bar indeed.
There is a lot going on in this piece, but somehow it looks very simple. Perhaps the lack of black outlines for the letters adds to the simple feel, but the complexity lies in the shades of grey and shadows and the injections of colour and shapes. I love this piece, top notch.
At the south entrance to St Werburghs tunnel is this wonderful piece from Decay that just kind of appeared under the radar in a modest and quiet way. I love it when that happens, no fanfare, just an appearance… as if by magic.
Decay has managed to introduce a gentle and light summery feel to this piece, and a really clever touch is the light grey shadings at the lower half of the letters that give the piece body and lift it out from the wall a little. The more observant of you might notice that this is a BLM piece and the ‘Chuck’ character makes a second appearance on the left hand side wall with BLM speech bubble.
Forgive the rain spot on the feature image, it was a very wet day when I took these pictures, and no matter how hard I tried to protect the lens from the rain, I just didn’t meet with much success. Sometimes though you simply have to venture out in all kinds of weather to capture incredible pieces like this one by Decay for fear that they could be tagged or painted over at any time, especially in Dean Lane.
I am loving the new direction that Decay is taking with his writing this year, with the inclusion of an additional set of letters behind his familiar ‘DECAY’. In this piece on the famous curved wall, he has written the letters HTM, which I believe is a crew name, possibly his partnership with Rezwonk, which stands for Hold the Mustard (thank you Paul). I look forward to January when it comes to Decay, because he seems to reinvent himself, not too much, and then kicks off for the rest of the year with the new idea. This particular idea has a lot of mileage in it and I can’t wait to see more.
Of all the wonderful street art pieces that I write about on Natural Adventures, by far the most tricky are the ones linked to dates in the calendar, such as Christmas and Halloween. This is because I am pretty much always running with a backlog of posts and because I tend to write them in advance. This means that if I take pictures of a wonderful collaboration like this one by Decay and Rezwonk on Christmas Eve (which I did) it takes several days and sometimes weeks to process and write about them. What I am saying is that my system is not very flexible and I am not very agile in my approach. No matter, I get there in the end, and the artwork is no lessim pressive for the delay.
I couldn’t get a clean front-on shot of this piece at Turbo Island, because there were several homeless people sleeping just in front of it and I didn’t want to be insensitive to their privacy (not that you have any sleeping in the open air).
The collaboration itself is yet another from these two regulars who have painted together many times this year and seem to enjoy it – I think they paint together under the crew name HTM, but I don’t know what it stands for yet. The snowy scene is beautifully crafted by both artists, but it is the twinkling lights that top the piece off perfectly, and I love the socket and plug too, a great touch. A near perfect Christmas piece (I think it has already gone).