3727. Upfest 2021 75×75 (1)

In Bristol, one of the most anticipated festivals each year is Upfest, where much of Bedminster turns its attention to a celebration of street art over a long weekend. Upfest is the largest festival of its kind in Europe and attracts artists from all over the globe as well as many closer to home. The last festival was held in 2018. In 2019, the Upfest organisers, Steve and Emma, decided to have a gap year to give all the people involved in the festival a break and prepare for 2020. We all know what happened next…

This year Upfest are hoping to hold a live event in Greville Smyth Park in August, but this looks to be in jeopardy because of the continued likelihood of restrictions due to the Delta variant of COVID-19. However, Upfest have also instigated another initiative called 75 walls in 75 days, which starting on 15 May aims to complete 75 walls by 75 different artists, thus spreading the activity and keeping it appropriately coronavirus-friendly. Although this piece by JXC is not the first to be completed, it is the first that I am posting.

JXC, Greville Road, Bristol, May 2021
JXC, Greville Road, Bristol, May 2021

JXC is an outstanding artist whose mastery of the spray can is legendary and his ability to create such fine detail is his trademark. This piece of a fly and his block capital letters and with dents smashed in the wall is absolutely outstanding, and it is difficult to know how he manages to do it. This is real high-end street art at its very best. World-class.

JXC, Greville Road, Bristol, May 2021
JXC, Greville Road, Bristol, May 2021

This piece shows not only the incredible skill of the artist, but the willingness of the very best in the game to come to Bristol and participate in Upfest. Look out for more of the 75 over the summer.

2845. Camden Town, London

Digging deeper into the archives. I took this picture in November 2017 in Camden Town, a full year and five months after it was painted by JXC. Frankly it is probably as good a photorealistic piece you are going to find anywhere, anytime. Why didn’t I post it before? I baffle even myself.

JXC, Camden Town, London, November 2017
JXC, Camden Town, London, November 2017

The picture may feel familiar and that is because it Chunk from the film The Goonies although with the addition of a tattoo on his stomach of JXC. I met the artist at the Cheltenham Paint festival last year, and he is such an incredibly nice guy and so modest with it.

JXC, Camden Town, London, November 2017
JXC, Camden Town, London, November 2017

It can be difficult to process that this piece has been painted with spray paint, and the sharpness of the patterns on the shirt are simply extraordinary. Similarly the out of focus background adds to the apparent authenticity of the piece. A small miracle.

2206. Allen Gardens, London (3)

Sometimes it is just too difficult to talk about how good a piece really is, because the words used are clumsy and don’t really do the artist justice. This is a case in point. It is a zombie piece (not to everyone’s taste) by JXC, an artist I have come across a couple of times at Upfest.

JXC, Allen Gardens, London, November 2018
JXC, Allen Gardens, London, November 2018

Everything about this is good – an arresting subject, incredible precision and artwork, great colour selection and a level of detail rarely seen on the street. As an observer, sometimes it is just so hard to comprehend how these guys do this with spray cans, I am left in awe. As you can see, I rather like this piece which I photographed in London back in November last year.

JXC, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017
JXC, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017
JXC, Upfest, Bristol July 2016
JXC, Upfest, Bristol July 2016
JXC, Upfest, Bristol July 2016
JXC, Upfest, Bristol July 2016

1040. Upfest 2017 (63)

Anyone who was at Upfest 2016 would have been utterly charmed by the incredible tree frogs by JXC. It was one of my favourite pieces from last year, and I wrote about it here.

JXC, Upfest, Bristol July 2016
JXC, Upfest, Bristol July 2016

This year he was afforded a larger wall, one that Voyder wrote ‘Bristol’ on last time round. Instead of tree frogs, JXC treated us to an extraordinary seascape with a rather intimidating octopus in the foreground and some naval mines in the background.

JXC, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017
JXC, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017

This was another of the pieces that probably took longer to create than might have been expected, due to the constant rain interruptions over the three days of the festival.

JXC, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017
JXC, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017

The mouth on the side of the octopus isn’t the octopuss’s beak, rather is it a shark mouth inked onto its side. JXC’s work is heavily inkled with words and drawings that resemble tattoos, creating an interesting effect o the surface texture of the subject.

JXC, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017
JXC, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017

There is a story going on in this piece which is a little tricky to decypher. The words ‘Just Lie’ appear under the shark but I’m not sure what that refers to. Nice to see a smiley on the bomb – some ironic commentary there?

482. Upfest 2016 (56)

As a naturalist by training, I find it difficult not to be enthralled by these magnificent frogs painted by JXC at Upfest this year. I was lucky enough to see this piece half way through its creation and again on completion.

JXC, Upfest, Bristol July 2016
JXC, Upfest, Bristol July 2016
I met the artist briefly late on the Sunday afternoon while he he was chatting with one of his friends who had been creating a piece nearby.

JXC, Upfest, Bristol July 2016
JXC, Upfest, Bristol July 2016
JXC is a London artist who takes inspiration from popular culture, or so the programme notes say. I’m not too bothered about that, I simply love these frogs and am intrigued with the way he approaches his work. It would appear that he painted this piece using a zonal approach rather than painting one frog, then the other, then the background etc. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but look at the half-finished pieces, and you might get the gist.

JXC, Upfest, Bristol July 2016
JXC, Upfest, Bristol July 2016
JXC has a rather lovely website, and you can read more about the artist here.