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.