I have a feeling that this playful piece in St Werburghs tunnel was the first time that I became aware of the work of Ugloe, way back in October. I have stumbled across one or two others and each of them is carefully thought out and beautifully executed.
Ugloe’s style is a clever mash up of graffiti writing combined with illustration and is very effective. It merges the edgy with the safe. In this piece, the colourful letters spelling UGLO are being decorated and given some sparkle by three of her distinctive characters. A joyful piece.
Finding a piece that is not only from a new (to me) artist but is also rather different is always one of the great pleasures of being a graffiti hunter. On the famous curved wall at Dean Lane, this delightful portrait appeared a couple of weeks back. It is by artist Lucy Danielle who is a midlands-born Bristol-based illustrator and graffiti murallist. Although she has painted quite a few walls, I don’t think I have knowingly ever seen one before.
I understand that this is a portrait of her sister which is a really nice thing to do. Set on a black background, the face really stands out, and the additional decorations help the to fill the space without distracting from the subject too much. Imagine how different the whole thing would look without the purple circle and yellow squiggles. I need to find some of her other work.
Two weekends ago there was a special event held at the Tobacco Factory to celebrate 25 years since becoming a Bristol arts venue. As part of those celebrations the Tobacco Factory teamed up with Upfest who organised some artists to paint the car park walls under the Summer Editions banner. A firm favourite for such events is the wonderful Alex Lucas who painted this gorgeous piece.
Entitled ‘Pipe peace’ the illustration is based on a particular type of smoking pipe, used by a number of Native American cultures in their sacred ceremonies (so Alex tells us in her Instagram feed). I guess the link is tobacco.
The pipe reminds me that one of my closest friends at school, and indeed a next door neighbour, had a peace pipe in his house which belonged to his father. His father was an illustrator of children’s books, all of which were Native American stories, brought to life with the most extraordinarily detailed drawings using Rotring ink pens. I loved the books he created and the illustrations were sublime. His name was Paul Goble and I was always full of admiration of his work. I just read on the Wikipedia page that he passed away in 2017, which has made me feel very sad indeed. I digress…
Alex was very busy with her work when I went to the 25th anniversary celebrations, and I had my dog with me, so I wasn’t really able to have a chat, especially as my dog might have upset her dog which was in the crate next to her. I really like this piece, the lines are so clean and the simple four colours work so well together, a little reminiscent of the Dr Seuss illustrative style. Definitely worth a trip.
Alex Lucas is no stranger to these pages and is responsible for bringing street art closer to the citizens of Bristol in a charming and accessible way. Any visitor to the city is likely to have seen a piece of her work, because she has had a lot of commissions and her illustrations lend themselves very well to shops, cafés and other high street businesses.
Her piece for Upfest was on yet another new wall space, but rather inconveniently interrupted by a gate. Alex has used this to her advantage and incorporated the gate as a way of joining her two hares in conversation.
Although on the surface her work looks quite simple, it takes a long time to produce, and this piece was a real labour of love, given the number of weather-related interruptions. Each of the hairs on her characters are individually hand drawn, and as we ought to know, hares are hairy.
Most Upfest walls are re-used each year, with only the occasional one remaining as a more permanent piece. I suspect that this one will have a new artwork on it next year, which is rather odd in the case of Alex Lucas, because one is accustomed to the permanence of her work. It’s pink, it has animals…what’s not to like?
One of the real pleasures of Upfest is the way in which it brings together artists from all different disciplines and from all over the world giving us the opportunity to witness the huge spectrum of talent. Side by side we have graffiti writers and fine artists and graphic designers and illustrators equally respected and admired.
This is a beautiful piece from Cai Burton who is an illustrator and designer and is based in Bristol. You can see more about him and his work on his excellent website. Owls seem to work very well in street art – I’m not sure why, but they crop up reasonably frequently. Note to self – do an Owl special. This was a popular piece at the festival.
This is an unusual piece to see down at Dean Lane, which is the home of Bristol graff, and yet here is a piece by a young illustrator, Clare Hoops. Clare is a freelance illustrator and print maker living in Bristol, having studied at and recently graduated from University College Falmouth, where I believe Louis Masai also studied.
Looking through her collection of designs from her website, I notice that I have seen one of her other street works at the Tobacco Factory before, and will have to try and dig it out to share. This is an interesting piece that certainly looks like it has the illustrator’s touch. What is the story here – ‘the stars fill my dream’.
Another picture long-lost in my archives and by an artist I have not come across before or since. This striking skull down in The Bearpit is by Wires, whose Instagram profile reads – ‘designer | artist | illustrator | flash painter | skateboarder | Bristol’. I don’t think he takes to the walls too often, which is a pity, as his style is rather unique and interesting.
The piece has a Tattoo design quality about it, even the colours are reminiscent of the shades of the inks used. It would be great to see more of his work in Bristol, but I think I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled.
OK, so I know I have already posted this cheeky little rat before, but that was in North Street and this one is in my favourite Leonard Lane. I really am a bit dense sometimes…it has taken me until now to get the joke. The reference in the piece to Banksy relates to his signature rat that he used in many of his early works, and there is me thinking this was a squirrel. Thick, that’s me.
Chinagirl Tile really seems to get around Bristol when she comes for Upfest, which in my view is a pretty good thing. This rat is down the dingiest lane, the perfect spot for it, and will not have been seen or noticed by too many people. Still more to come from this brilliant ceramic specialist.
Bristol really does love its foxes, so to see one appear as part of Upfest is always very welcome. This beautiful piece is by Bex Glover, a contemporary artist and illustrator who runs a freelance illustration and graphic design practice in Bristol.
From a viewers perspective, there are so many things to look at in this work. Glover’s illustration skills are clear to see and the abstract backdrop brings the fox into sharp focus. A nice touch in the haunches of the fox hints at a yin yang symbol. The fox looks wily, just as it should and ready to move off at the slightest disturbance.
This is a calming piece with superb colour selection which may have gone unnoticed by many visitors as it is just off the main road and set back just a little. Last year this spot was occupied by a wonderful stencil by DinDin.