Never was a message from #DFTE more apt and more welcome. As we find ourselves thrown into lockdown in the UK due to the Coronavirus pandemic, acts of kindness must be at the front of our minds at all times. For my part, having patience with my family is probably the single biggest challenge, but I must chill out and see the good. My wife and kids are amazing people and we have a chance to reset the dial in these unusual circumstances.
This is the second piece of street philosophy from #DFTE on Christmas Steps, right at the top (of the lower section). I rather like the fact that another kind soul has slapped a sticker on this framed installation saying ‘you are beautiful’. Bristol street art bringing out the best in us.
Curiosity, I think, is what led me down the path of becoming a street art hunter, chronicler and photographer, and it was seeing things like this that prompted that curiosity. What is that thing? Who put that thing there? Why did they do it? Who has noticed it? Was it legal?
This is a little alien mosaic, not by the world famous Spaceinvader, but by Mr Djoul a fellow Fench artist whose work complements that of his better known counterpart. Really pleased that he has been to visit Bristol sometime in the past six months I would guess. Always keep your eyes peeled.
Consistently creative, hugely talented and generally just brilliant, Chinagirl Tile keeps on turning out the most incredible ceramic installation pieces time and time again. This clever combination piece for the Cheltenham Paint Festival 2019 features a ceramic tile girl spray painting a child-like horse with blue spots. I was lucky enough to catch up with Chinagirl Tile when she was putting this piece together – it was all a little tense as she was running low on the bonding material for glueing the tiles to the wall. While we chatted I managed to sneak a picture of her plan for the piece, and I have to say it all turned out pretty much as she had imagined it.
I think that Chinagirl Tile is unique amongst street artists in that I don’t know of any others who make such elaborate and artistic original tiles of this type. There are many installation artists, but none who do anything like this.
The girl is made up of about fifteen or more separate tiles, each perfectly crafted, glazed and fired and pieced together seamlessly. It is a painstaking process but one that yeilds such fabulous results. And… you’ve got to love that monkey on her shoulder.
At festivals, Chinagirl Tile consistently remains one of my favourite artists and any town anywhere in the world would be uplifted by one of her beautiful tile installations. The best part is that they tend to remain intact for several years, for people to enjoy.
Here at Turbo Island we have two Mutatee faces for the price of one. One has been painted over while the other had been stuck to the wall more recently at the time I took this picture.
On the left the face is almost invisible, especially from a distance as it blends into the wall. What is rather comforting is that both of these little faces will probably be here for some time and undergo reasonably frequent facelifts whenever the wall is repainted.
The more recent face on the right has retained its vibrant blue colour that we have come to know and love in Bristol. I have now found quite a few of these little installations, but am rather hoping that there are plenty more to find.
I cannot for the life of me remember where this lovely framed philosophical offering from #DFTE actually is. I know it is in town, and probably on a wall that doesn’t have too many other street/graffiti art pieces, as #DFTE tends to stay away from the regular spots. I took the picture way back in March, and my brain is so useless that I struggle to remember what happened yesterday, let alone back in March.
The guidance presented here says ‘Love in such a way that the person you love feels free’. I’m not too sure I am on the same page as this one, because it might be making the assumption that love could be a form of imprisonment and I am not sure that that is what love is. Smothering love maybe, and perhaps that is what this is about.
I am annoyed that I can’t remember where this is, because one of the great skills of installation artists like #DFTE is that placement is a key element of the work.
Anyone who knows a little bit about street art might recognise this wonderful mosaic piece in Lambeth, London as the work of the French artist Space Invader. Finding this piece a couple of weeks ago was absolutely accidental. I was walking from Westminster to Lambeth with my manager for an early Christmas lunch and informal team meeting. On the walk we were chatting and I was talking about street art (inevitably) and how you can stumble across pieces just by keeping your eyes open. I had barely finished the point when we looked left, and there down Lambeth High Street was this magnificent beast. She was really chuffed that we had found something and seemed impressed that I knew who the artist was and other stuff. I had no idea that there was anything here, and had also been saying that the area looked a bit barren in street art terms.
I believe that this is quite an old piece dating back to 2013, but it is on a road I have never been to before and being in London it was utterly off my radar. I must say that I got a pretty warm glow finding it, especially as I haven’t seen all that many Space Invader pieces. I think that this is a Pac Man piece made with large tiles and you can see the scale from the bricks just to the right. A gratifying find.
I like treasure hunting, especially when each time you find a treasure, like this one by Mutatee, it comes as a wonderful and fulfilling surprise. I think that hunting for and photographing street art is a wholesome substitute for trying to generate likes on Twitter or Facebook or getting that micro-buzz of endorphine every time you receive a message on your mobile phone.
Personally, few things irritate me more than people’s phones buzzing, ringing, twittering, ding-a-linging upon which they’ll abruptly end a conversation, leave the room (metaphorically), check the offensive communicator (Star Trek reference) and only then return to the conversation saying ‘where were we?’ (we?… I’ve been here all the time you idiot). You know the kind of thing. Grrrr. Ranty bit over, I’m not too sure where it came from but it felt great to get it off my chest.
Back to Mutatee – she is the bringer of my little endorphine snacks and this little charmer high up on a wall in Moon Street is one of a bunch dotted about the City – I recently spotted another one that I’ll have to photograph next time I pass by on foot – so many more to come from this creative and imaginative installation artist.