3840. Upfest 2021 75×75 (28)

There is real craft and ability in the work of Emily Joy Rich, and her training and work as a graphic designer certainly come to the fore when you see her work. Her letters are so clean, tidy and sharp and her designer’s eye uses the space beautifully. I have only seen a handful of her pieces and like each one of them, she seems to be, in a way, upholding the art and craft of the sign-writer.

Emily Joy Rich, The Tabacco Factory, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21
Emily Joy Rich, The Tabacco Factory, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21

‘You are not alone’ reminds me of the Close Encounters tag line ‘We are not alone’ but the two have very different connotations. The hashtag #youarenotaloneart, seems to be a ‘thing’ and checking it out on Instagram highlights some beautifully written murals from across the world. This one is a corker from Emily Joy Rich and I particularly like the two-tone grey shading on the word ‘Alone’, which gives it loads of perspective and lifts the word out from the wall. Highly accomplished work and another triumph for Upfest 75×75.

3655. Brunel Way (99)

Stivs continues to turn out some of the best calligraphy writing in Bristol and this is an absolute beauty under Brunel Way. The photographs simply don’t do this piece justice… in the context of the slightly gloomy spot, the bright blue and purple letters illuminated the space and demanded to be looked at. A real humdinger.

Stivs, Brunel Way, Bristol, April 2021
Stivs, Brunel Way, Bristol, April 2021

I am not even going to attempt to tell you what the letters spell out, although I was thinking of having a go, I can tell you however that it is not his customary STIVS. I think the really clever touch lies with the thin bright blue outline on the black background that gives the whole thing a little lift. A nice piece.

3627. Brunel Way (96)

Because of its association with graffiti and street art, Bristol is a bit of a magnet for visiting artists and what fortune that Kane Rose paid a visit while painting alongside the No Frills crew a few weeks back. I don’t know the artist, but know that he is a tattoo artists who also paints walls, like so many of our own Bristol artists.

Kane Rose, Brunel Way, Bristol, April 2021
Kane Rose, Brunel Way, Bristol, April 2021

When I first saw this I wondered whether it might have been by SkyHigh, because there is a definite similarity of styles. I have to confess that I had to wait until I saw the piece appear on Instagram before I could be sure of the artist. The block letters, each with a different colour and style, on first inspection appears to spell USA, but I have a feeling it actually says UPSTART. A lovely piece.

3331. M32 Cycle path (88)

Another very nice piece from Pl8o, an artist who I would put in a cluster along with Phour, Mena and Mest, because they all have a similar approach to their work. Each of these artists write their names clearly and legibly in predominantly the same style from piece to piece, but the magic is in how they decorate and fill the letters. Pl8o is perhaps the one who tinkers with his letter shapes more than the others, but his pieces are always instantly recognisable.

Pl8o, M32 Cycle path, Bristol, November 2020
Pl8o, M32 Cycle path, Bristol, November 2020

This one on the cycle path is in pinks set on a blue background, always a winning formula, and the letters are broken up by fine blue lines creating an interesting effect. To add further interest, the 8 has been split into two pinks. This is a lovely piece from an emerging talent whose work is improving all the time.

3261. New Stadium Road (26)

I have quite a few photographs of work by Todoaciem, but I haven’t posted many, maybe only one before. There are several writers in Bristol at the moment whose letters follow more of a calligraphy style, with regular shapes and details, including Stivs. I don’t know if it is a fashion or something longer-lasting. It is great to see though and this is a great example of the style.

Todoaciem, New Stadium Road, Bristol, September 2020
Todoaciem, New Stadium Road, Bristol, September 2020

The piece looks almost like a heraldic banner, especially with the letter E? picked out with red in the middle. I have tried to decypher the lettering, but just can’t quite see it. More to come from Todoaciem soon.

3188. St Werburghs tunnel (188)

No signature, but who needs a signature when your work screams out Fiva? It feels like an eternity since Fiva hit any walls, but this is quite some comeback. I don’t need to tell you what it spells, but I am probably as curious as you are as to why he decided upon the word Puffin.

Fiva, St Werburghs, Bristol, September 2020
Fiva, St Werburghs, Bristol, September 2020

The piece is dedicated to Josie and perhaps the word puffin means something to her. The writing is big and bold, but I can assure you that just because it looks simple does not mean it is simple to do. For a start there are all those straight lines and the correct spacing between letters etc. There is an extremely nice touch with the grey shadows to the left and bottom of each letter. A magnificent piece. I tried to emulate one of his letters last year, with a rather disappointing result… very difficult to do.

Scooj, H in the style of Fiva, Bristol, June 2019
Scooj, H in the style of Fiva, Bristol, June 2019

2996. M32 roundabout J3 (217)

Looking back at the Poland v Spain paint jam at the end of May, this piece was of particular interest to me. It is by Varo, who I met and had a good chat with even though his English is a little patchy and my Spanish rather more so.

Varo, M32 roundabout, Bristol, May 2020
Varo, M32 roundabout, Bristol, May 2020

While we are talking the penny dropped about who he was, and that although I have seen some of his work before (typically a kind of abstract bull) I never really knew who he was. Well that has all been put right now. This is a fine block writing piece spelling out VARO set on a black background to give it full contrast. The letter style is unusual and rather nicely done.

Varo, M32 roundabout, Bristol, June 2020
Varo, M32 roundabout, Bristol, June 2020

This is not the last piece by Varo that I will be posting, I’m sure and I will have to dig out some others from the archive.

Poland 2 Spain 2

2889. St Werburghs tunnel (166)

Thanks to lock down, I am sharing this throwback piece from 2017 in St Werburghs tunnel by Fiva. His style is clean bold and instantly recognisable. Large letters with a character face in a cartoon style looking on.

Fiva, St Werburghs, Bristol, March 2017
Fiva, St Werburghs, Bristol, March 2017

It is so easy to like Fiva’s work, it has a lighthearted feel to it and somehow it always feels very welcoming and accessible. I’m not sure if that makes any sense to you, but it does to me. It is great to have the space to unearth this one from the archive.

2582. Upfest 2018 (173)

Emily Joy Rich is a Bristol-based graphic designer and lettering artist. For anyone interested in letters and typeface art, I strongly recommend a quick squiz at her Instagram feed @emilyjoyrich – you will be in for a treat.

Emily Joy Rich, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Emily Joy Rich, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

This Upfest 2018 piece is a good example of her typeface skills and she has combined them with an uplifting design and some cloudy kind of things. All that was really needed to set this piece off perfectly was a nice sunny day, but these were in short supply during the 2018 festival.

2497. Cheltenham 2018 (4)

Going to Cheltenham for the first time this September was such a treat, especially because so many pieces from last year (2018) were still intact, including this extraordinary and brilliant piece by SkyHigh.

SkyHigh, Paint Festival 2018, Cheltenham, September 2019
SkyHigh, Paint Festival 2018, Cheltenham, September 2019

I have seen SkyHigh’s work in London and in Bristol, but I think this piece in Cheltenham is as good as any other that I have seen. I can’t quite be sure that it isn’t a collaboration, because the jungle bookends don’t quite match his style that I am used to. As always SkyHigh spells out his letters with each one being distinct from the next to bring together an ecclectic whole that just seems to work. I have seen other artists try thisd technique, but in my view SkyHigh is top of the division. Sensational piece.