And so on to the ninth archway in the John Street open-air gallery and this magnificent portrait piece by Hazard. My understanding is that this was her second attempt after she had had to buff over her first one for being controversial. This disappoints me a little because art is an expression and reflection of our lives and times and we shouldn’t hide away from difficult issues, otherwise where would we be? China? North Korea? On the upside however, Hazard has rewarded us with this outstanding portrait of Jeff Knight, a Big Issue vendor and big character in Stokes Croft.
I love Jeff. He is one of the brilliant things about living in Bristol. He greets everyone in the street with a big smile and kind words irrespective of who they are or what they look like. This piece is not the first piece of street art to feature Jeff, John D’oh sprayed a fabulous stencil of him a few years ago. Hazard’s portrait is an honest representation and skillfully painted. In this one archway we have two legends of Bristol street culture.
A rare treat indeed, getting to see John D’oh in action at Upfest 2016 finishing off his five piece stencil. How on earth can this have languished in my archive for so long? I just don’t understand it. It is great to use this trawl to share it with you now.
The theme of the piece is getting connected, or at least that is how it comes across. John D’oh tells us in his recent book that the piece features friends of his to whom he pitched the idea of them talking into cans with the string between them spelling out his name. It seems to have worked out well.
The way that John D’oh frames these pieces makes them look a little bit like a cheesy girl’s comic from the 1970s, like Jackie (I only know this because my sister had a subscription). Kevin Bacon I think is included because of his links to the EE advertising campaign which has been running for a few years now.
Rounding things off is a sublime stencil of the wonderful Jeff Knight, my local Big Issue seller. An all round excellent Upfest piece.