For the last 11 years there has been a rather mad festival centered around the Stokes Croft area called RaveOnAvon. It is frankly a bit of a booze, drugs and music party that is focussed on three or four live music venues but spills out onto the streets from dusk until dawn. You simply would not believe the mess the following morning. The links between graffiti art and the Bristol music scene are close, and this rather funky piece by Jaksta rather emphasises the point.
You know you are getting old when one of your children actually goes to an event such as this one. I didn’t ask too many questions. Jaksta, a member of the RAW crew, is a brilliant character artist and creates these wonderful exaggerated bodies ina cartoon style that never disappoints. It is also great to see something decent appear on this particular bit of hoarding, because recently it has been a bit trashy.
This was the last RaveOnAvon ever, because most of the music venues’ days are numbered. They are due to be demolished soon to make way for… da da daah… student accommodations. Gentrification will rob us of a major strand of Bristol culture and provide housing, not for those that really need it, but for the ever-growing student population in Bristol. Of course, students need to live somewhere, but I fear this particular growth bubble will burst, and maybe then affordable housing will become available.
A couple of weeks back there was a large paint jam in St Werburghs tunnel, and it would seem that it was something of a RAW (Read and Weep) get together. This collaborative piece included the T-Rex burner that I featured a few days ago, which was just to the right. These two are Ryder and Jaksta.
I don’t need to repeat myself, although I constantly find myself doing so, by telling you that Ryder is an incredibly accomplished writer, and here he has created something rather special in shades of gray with blue highlights. Having started trying to paint a little in the garden I realise how much I have to study what these guys do to understand tricks and techniques. Paint big was an important piece of advice I was given – smaller pieces are more difficult.
When I have been in the tunnel, it seems everyone notices the pig – he really stands out and the kids that walk past love him. Jaksta is a master of the character piece and his work often joins up pieces of writing like it does here. It is the details I love in this piece, the black shading and white highlights that give a 3D feel to the whole thing, and the two shades of pink that make it look like the light is coming from the right (which in this part of the tunnel it actually does). Great work.
It is always great fun to see how street artists can play with each other’s work. For example, this piece is not a collaboration, it is an add-on. The original work was a RAW collaboration the centrepiece of which was this fabulous character by Jaksta.
Turnover on this wall has been unusually high this spring and when ‘the monday club’ a group of artists including Nevergiveup, Tasha Bee, Soap, Run Z and Zake set about painting here, Nevergiveup worked around Jaksta’s piece almost like a respect thing, his bunnies leaning in towards the character, together with a carefully, thoughtfully resprayed background.
Often Jaksta’s characters are well known film stars or personalities, but I’m not sure I know who this is. What we have here is two pieces for the price of one… and some more bunnies for the collection.
When I saw this back in 2016 I was still at the early stages of learning about the street art scene in Bristol (in fact I am still learning every day) and I knew little about the RAW crew and the artists constituting it. While it is obvious that the character on the right is by Jaksta (the medallion gives this away) the writing is less obvious.
It looks like the letters say WARE to me, but here I am showing my ignorance because I don’t know the artist at all. The writing is beautifully executed and I love the musical notes sitting on the midway line on the blue letters. A really nice piece of street art for the festival.
You can see that I am having yet another trawl through my archives, bringing out some real gems that have been left behind. Part of the reason is that due to the Easter break and a bereavement, I haven’t been around to take many pictures and so don’t have too much contemporary Bristol street art to show you.
This is a wonderful piece by Jaksta, a member of the Read and Weep (RAW) crew (and several other crews too). I seem to remember this piece, at one of the tunnel entrances to the M32 roundabout was there for quite a while.
At the time I took the picture, I didn’t know who the artist was which is probably why it ended up in my archive in the first place. I think that this is a really masterful piece, splitting the character into two colours is a fairly radical treatment, but somehow when you look at the piece, you barely notice the colour seprartion and see the character as a whole. Beautifully sprayed…big respect to Jaksta.
Writing about street/graffiti art in Bristol is a fun thing to do. Sure it is time consuming and can become a little obsessive, but like any pursuit it brings happiness. When the happiness stops, then I will stop doing it.
One of the rewards of doing what I do, is when you can put names to pieces that you see or have seen in the past. It is about observation and recall. It is about knowing things intimately. It is about connecting with your environment. There are parallels with being a nature boy too. Observation and connection.
I first saw this piece in May 2016, but didn’t know the artist (it is by Jaksta), so the pictures remained in my archives. Then, while doing some research for the RAW Upfest wall, I came across Jaksta’s Instagram account, and in his images was this piece at the M32 roundabout. Although I still know precious little about the artist, I do know what to look for in his art and how to recognise it. I also know I have more of his work in my archives. The point is I now feel comfortable posting his work.
The piece makes reference to the film scarface, and is a brilliant charicature, although every time I look at it I see Peter Beardsley, former Everton and England footballer. Is that bad of me? More to come from Jaksta.
The fourth piece looking from left to right on the RAW wall at Upfest is by Jaksta, who has sprayed a great caveman character sandwiched neatly between Rusk and Ryder. I don’t know an awful lot about Jaksta, but I think he comes from Swindon. I have seen a few of his pieces around the place in Bristol, but I don’t think I have yet posted any.
Jaksta is clearly held in very high regard by his RAW peers, as each of them told me how good he is when I spoke with them. I think by the time I got to see his work here, he was already working on another piece nearby. I will try to dig out more of his work.