How utterly perfect to welcome Aspire back to Bristol for Upfest’s 75 walls in 75 days, and what an amazing huge mural he has gifted the fine people of Bedminster. I have to admit that this piece came as a bit of a surprise as he seemed to have painted it quite quickly between visits, or maybe I just didn’t stop to look the right way at the right time.
I thought I was going to get a bit frustrated with the parking situation, but the gentleman in the black van was very obliging and moved out of the way for me to take a picture, and just to prove it, here he is giving me the thumbs up. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. The upshot was I managed to get a full and uninterrupted photograph of the wall.
The mural itself is awesome, and takes Aspire into the next level. I am not sure how many large murals he has done since moving to London from Bristol, but this is definitely the biggest I have seen.
The focus of the piece is a stunning Kingfisher, with a cherry on the top, and a little bit of pixelation, for which Aspire is famed. However, Aspire has combined the bird with a classical study of a bowl of fruit and the combination makes for a very special and intoxicating mural. This is glorious stuff and reminds us of what we have been missing in Bristol (as if we didn’t already know) since Aspire left. Bravo!
When I visit the M32 roundabout, I usually stop for a few moments and take a look at the River Frome as it escapes its culvert and meanders towards the city centre before entering another culvert. This is a magical stretch of river and an oasis for wildlife slap bang alongside the M32 motorway. It was while I was photographing this new piece from Kool Hand that I spotted a kingfisher darting out of the tunnel and along the course of the river. It made my day… actually it made my week.
In a way I have Kool Hand to thank for this brush with nature, because If I hadn’t been photographing this piece at exactly the right time, I would have missed the bird. This is a wonderful throw up from Kool Hand featuring his trademark orangutan face with a baseball cap. A good day.
Kingfishers are a favourite subject for street artists and it is amazing how these little bird can give such inspiration, I wonder what it is about them that makes our hearts sing, is it the colours? The fleeting glimpses? The fishing? Who knows, but they are certainly a very popular.
I don’t know anything about the artist Graffoflarge, but he clearly has a sense of humour by fusing a kingfisher and duck in this piece. The artwork is really interesting, being made up largely of lines and the background is beautifully done to provide the perfect backdrop for the subject. Vibrant and fun, a classy piece.
There is something about kingfishers and artists. They seem to represent beauty and freedom and perhaps the slightest connection with nature that our urban societies have, in the main, lost.
This shutter piece had been commissioned and painted during lock down, and I have a feeling that Kin Dose also painted the adjacent shop shutter at the same time, although I have not managed to photograph that yet.
The whole piece has a feeling of vibrancy and movement about it. The abstract background of pinks, blues and whites setting up a rich frame for the kingfisher itself. The bird is exquisitely painted (it is not the first time Kin Dose has painted a kingfisher in Bristol) and a massive asset to this end of North Street.
Continuing with some pictures from a (not so recent) visit to Shoreditch, I thought I’d share this rather atypical piece by SkyHigh. Regular readers will be familiar with his exceptional graffiti art pieces where each letter in the word SKYHIGH has its own unique font and style. This however is something completely different.
SkyHigh’s command of his craft is clear when he can paint something like this amazing kingfisher, which at first glance I thought might have been by Aspire. I’d love to know what it is about kingfishers that so many artists depict them… note to self, do a ‘kingfisher special’ some day. This is a magnificent piece by a magnificent artist of a magnificent bird.
I know that some of you will have been waiting for me to post this, as it is an internationally high-profile collaboration by My Dog Sighs and Curtis Hylton and is already deeply embedded in the ‘datasphere’. Nonetheless I wanted to give you my own perspective of this wondrous Bristol piece.
Firstly, props to Upfest for organising this special event. This year Upfest are taking a rest, a fallow year, from the Summer street art festival. Instead they are going to be orchestrating a few large and significant walls like this one, which will continue to keep Bristol firmly on the street art map.
While I am certainly familiar with the work of My Dog Sighs, I don’t think I have come across Curtis Hylton before, but he is an artist/muralist based in Hampshire, which is probably why he teamed up with MDS who lives in Portsmouth. Curtis painted the amazing artwork surrounding the eyes by MDS. The blue feathers on the left hand side, I believe are of a kingfisher, and in a WIP shot I saw from Paul121 showed some orange feathers, which were subsequently replaced with blue.
Eyes are one of the things that MDS specialises in and this one shows a very Bristol scene… the windmill is from Windmill Hill, the balloons from the Bristol balloon fiesta (one of the largest in Europe) and the Clifton suspension bridge. The silhouette runs through the middle of the eye with an extraordinary orange below and stunning sky scene and reflected eyelashes above. Just amazing.
The eye on the right hand side of the piece shows the same scene… it would look very odd if it didn’t.
Surrounding this his eye is a different scene altogether. Beautiful cream roses and rose petals, together with some other flowers just below the eye. Taken as a whole the collaboration is beyond impressive, and one of the best to be seen in Bristol for a long time.
Just to the right of the piece, the artists completed the wall with further decorations that on their own world be worth the trip, let alone the main work. MDS has really nailed the water drops here. I am going to try and see if I can copy them this weekend, if I get a chance to practice in the garden. Not holding my breath though.
Great to have this world-class piece in Bristol. Bravo My Dog Sighs and Curtis Hilton.
One of the refreshing things about visiting Shoreditch or Camden Town is that every piece I see is a new discovery. What I mean by that is I don’t really follow London street art on social media, so when I see a piece ‘in the flesh’ it is usually the first time I have seen it or even know of it. In Bristol, I will have seen the majority of street/graffiti art works on Instagram before I ‘find’ them and photograph them. What this also means is that I know relatively little about the London artists, and for my own sanity probably need to keep it that way.
When I visited Allen Gardens in April I think that this piece by Cockyone was relatively new, it certainly looked incredibly fresh. When it comes to birds I think that kingfishers are a real crowd-pleaser, because of their beauty and character, and they frequently feature in street art. I think this is a wonderful piece, skilfully blending abstract grayscale patterns with the vibrant colours of the bird and the crown tops the whole thing off nicely.
I am struggling to write this post, mainly because I am lost for words at how very good the mural by Kin Dose, just off Nelson Street in the centre of town, is. In my view this is a worldie and we are honoured and privileged to see a wall of such beauty in Bristol.
The whole scene is of a beautiful geisha under the shade of a paper parasol gracefully holding out her hand upon which a splendid kingfisher sits. This is close to street art perfection, and were it not for the bloody wheelie bins, which I attempted to move, it would pretty much be there.
The background to the piece is composed of layers of graffiti and burners blended into a japanese scene of mountains and buildings. There is something similar to the style of PichiAvo in this.
The face of the geisha is absolutely beautiful and not in any way overcomplicated. The flowers cascading from her hair add a real touch of class. The last component of the piece is the kingfisher perching on her hand.
I feel it would be wrong not to point out that the kingfisher is a small bird, and in this piece, ever so slightly out of proportion. But I am nit-picking and I hate myself for it, because this is a truly wonderous piece and really ups the game for the high-end street art talent in this great city. Bravo! Kin Dose.
But it gets even better. Not content with creating one oriental wall on this building, Kin Dose returned to paint a second one a week or so later…see my next post.