I really do wish that Kleiner Shames had never left Bristol for the lure of London, but I suppose that is where the work and opportunities are. However, it is so good that roughly two or three times a year he returns to Bristol and leaves one of his distinctive pieces as a gift to all of us that admire his work.
Although taking pictures in St Werburghs tunnel is a nightmare, some pieces transcend the quality of the picture, and this in my view is one of those. The letters spell out FOIS (time in French), and for a long time I thought that was the name of the artist. I don’t remember how I met him, or discovered his name, but I do remember buying a couple of pieces of art from him when he was clearing out his studio to move to London, and they are treasured possessions indeed. Come back soon.
Well it appears that Kleiner Shames has been back in town, and left us with a most beautiful FOIS at the farm end of St Werburghs tunnel. His distinctive style and colour palette seems to draw heavily on the Art Deco style combined with a kind of 1970s/80s freedom.
His metallic spray paint used for the central lettering is a nightmare to photograph in the tunnel – if it is in shade it is one colour, if it is in the light another and pictured from the front it goes from dark to light. Irrespective of the trickiness of trying to get a nice picture, it is always, always great when Kleiner Shames comes ‘home’.
Regular readers might recognise this as the work of the wonderful talent that is Kleiner Shames. His colour palette and the shapes of his letters are very distinctive, and if that is not enough to go on, the letters FOIS should give it away.
Such sights are a bit of a rarity in Bristol these days since the artist trundled off to london to find his fortune, but I guess he still hankers after the old city of Bristol and makes these occasional trips and marks them with fine pieces like this one. I find his letters very calming and gentle and aesthetically pleasing. Nothing jars. Always a genuine pleasure to find one of these.
I was first alerted to this Kleiner Shames piece on Instagram, but from the pictures I saw I just couldn’t get the location. In the end I had to message one of my street art buddies to find out where it was…which looking at it now with hindsight is blooming obvious. There is a charity in Bristol called the SOFA Project (Shift Old Furniture Around) which has two locations one of which, the Old Market store, has a walled yard where this piece is sprayed. The charity sells on old furniture, donated locally, to those less able to afford new furniture. A worthy venture.
On to this stunning piece by my favourite ex-Bristol artist, Kleiner Shames. Most of his wall work is writing, with the odd exception, and he tends to spell out the letters FOIS which spells out ‘time’ in french. The lettering here is so easy on the eye and beautifully designed. Every time I see pieces like this I feel there must be an element of art deco architectural influence going onm, or at least that is what it looks like to me. This is a very fine piece indeed.
I always look forward to Kleiner Shames’ visits to Bristol, because every time he leaves behind something to marvel at. This is a miraculous collaboration with Epok, and demonstrates what can be achieved by two street artists at the top of their game.
The first thing to notice is the fabulous colour selection, which is very much influenced by Kleiner Shames, as I have seen him use these colours several times before. The genius of the piece is in the letters. Epok always writes EPOK and Kleiner Shames writes FOIS. In this piece I can read both…how do they do that?
The highly designed style of the piece works to both of their strengths, but the execution is what makes this piece so good. Clean lines, incredible shapes and some really interesting shadows. It reminds me of so many fine artists of the twentieth century. I love this piece and it is without doubt my favourite writing work so far this year. Bravo boys.
I write my posts in batches, getting a few done in advance, when I have a moment to do them. This can be tricky while juggling a full-time job, two teenage children, a cat, a dog, a chameleon, an extremely hard-working wife, housework, an allotment, decorating and so on. Life is full, and it would be impossible to find the time to write two posts a day every day. Doing them in batches also carries economies of scale, where I can process a batch of photographs in one go and writing tends to come more freely once you are on a roll.
Why am I mentioning this? Well, by the time I publish this post on a fabulous piece by Kleiner Shames, I will be on a special short break trip in Barcelona with my daughter, and I wanted to say ‘hello from Barcelona’, but to say this I have had to think ahead and I am saying ‘hello from Barcelona’ from the comfort of my study which all feels a bit artificial really, but is helping me to get very excited about our trip.
This is a fine piece of writing from one of my favourite Bristol artists who now lives in London. I have posted many of his works on this blog, and each of them is a winner. Concealed in this splash of colour is the word ‘FOIS’…time in French. Most of his pieces have this word, and at first I thought his street art name was Fois.
This is another one that I have dug out of my archive, because it is simply just too good not to share.
Oh and ‘Hi from Barcelona’ I think I’m having a wonderful time.