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.
To kick of the third set of ten posts from Upfest 2018 is this magnificent piece by the brilliant artist Annatomix. I have seen a few of her pieces and I have to say the more I see of them, the more I like them.
This piece was on a new wall for 2018, which it suited perfectly, in a little garden space behind an arched gateway on North Street. I wrote a haiku about this gateway some time ago.
I managed to have a quick chat with Annatomix during one of the several showers on the Saturday, and I think she was worried about getting behind schedule with the piece. It was such a pity that it rained during Upfest, especially as it was in the middle of a heatwave.
The choice of subject, a kingfisher, and the stunning colours – thanks largely to the kingfisher itself – was absolutely perfect for this space. Her origami style of painting is so clever and really attractive – a kind of abstract take on wildlife.
I think it would be nice to keep this as a permanent wall, but I don’t know it that is likely to happen – best to enjoy it while it is there I guess. Bravo Annatomix – one of the festival highlights.
Once in a while we are lucky enough in Bristol to see a large commission piece appear in a public space, the last significant one being the Jodi piece for the Florist on the corner of Park Street and Charlotte street. This beautiful commission is by Zase and can be found in Mina Road.
Were it not for visionaries who commission this work in the first place, our streets would be considerably duller than they are. In this case, the recent owner of the restaurant is also owner of several other buildings in the area and he is keen to get some of those painted up too.
This magnificent piece is a solo work by Zase as I am told that Dekor, his painting partner, has returned to his homeland (Slovakia?). A theme that Zase returns to again and again is the natural world, and this piece showcases his talent for painting birds and a natural landscape.
There is something about flamingos that street artists seem to like – maybe it is the vibrant colours or the curious body form, whatever it is there are a disproportionate number of them out there. Not that I’m complaining mind.
I like pretty much everything about this mural and of course it contains the trademark 3D moniker from the artist just to the right of the flamingo. Well worth a trip to see this one.
Since Aspire left Bristol for London, it is always such a pleasant surprise to see a new piece by him, because it is always just so unexpected. I guess when he was here, I just took it for granted that there would be a regular supply of amazing birds from this extraordinary artist – now, every single one is treasured as a very special and rare gift.
This beautiful kingfisher is on one of the boards outside the Full Moon pub in Stokes Croft, and I think it might have been done as part of a special event held there, although, I have been away a lot recently and missed it. As always, Aspire never disappoints and the slightly blurred appearance of the bird and the background give a feel for natural movement which brings the piece alive. Still loving his trademark pixels. Stunning piece.