I love the work of I Bee W, but feel a bit guilty that I haven’t posted much of his work – there is no reason for this, I just have a few pieces in my archive that never made it out. This poignant piece from the Cheltenham Paint Festival 2019 was always going to get posted as the subject matter chimes with me.
There is a high-gloss quality about this piece, which is remarkable really as it has been sprayed onto chipboard. The image is a sad tale of the disappearance of wildlife through biodoversity loss and climate change, the two most significant issues facing the planet. A little red-eyed tree frog – a representative of life on earth – is saying ‘Bye then!’ as if its existence is a trivial afterthought. Although quite funny, I find this piece and all it represents very depressing. I never thought I would witness first-hand the tipping point, where slowing or reversing biodiversity loss becomes impossible, but all I see around me is an acceleration towards that eventuality. Big changes are needed urgently if we want a beautiful future.
Way back at Upfest 2016, I bee W was the first street artist at a festival that I had the courage to speak to, shortly before I spoke with Dice 67 (who I later went on to conduct my first, and so far only, interview). Turns out that the vast majority of street artists are lovely people and even at festivals make time for a quick chat.
I bee W is a stencil artist whose stencils are often placed on carefully crafted or textured backgrounds and so become part of something bigger than the stencil alone. There is a story here, but I’ll be damned if I know what it is. A lady in a bikini bookended by a pair of seahorses. It is a pretty piece albeit slightly surreal. I have a few more of his pieces lurking in my archives, so I’ll have to dig them out.
That rounds off this series of ten Upfest 2018 catch up posts, but I’ll be doing more over the autumn and winter as there are still so many I haven’t yet posted.
I bee W is an artist I admire very much. I first met him at Upfest 2016, and knew of his work before that, but this is the first time I have written about him, which surely can’t be right. His intricate stencils are often set on reasonably plain backgrounds, which brings out the central subject.
This ‘pigs might fly’ piece was created during the Spring paint jam in The Bearpit and I think carries a message, but I am not entirely sure whether it is connected to the clampdown on graffiti in The Bearpit or not.
It is a nice composition and contrasts well with the surrounding graffiti, helping it to stand out. It is like a gallery piece, and I like that.