This fabulous piece on one of my favourite Upfest walls is a great way to round off the first five pieces from Upfest 2022. As you can imagine, there will be hundreds of pieces to post by the time the festival ends, so please bear with me as I try to write about them in batches, alongside all the other wonderful street art that we are blessed to see in Bristol. This is by an artist I haven’t heard of before, Derm, and features what looks like a Vaughn Bode Lizard, an Iconic character in the world of street art.
The lizard in this piece is riding what looks like a half-track motor cycle, complete with flat tyres. A classic cartoon-style piece of urban culture street art that really stands out on this wall. One of the great pleasures of Upfest is being exposed to the talents of new artists from around the country, Europe and the world. A great piece of work.
Brace yourself for a flurry of Sake pieces. Sake is an old-school artist who has been painting since the 1980s in Bristol, but I haven’t ever posted any of his work. I don’t know why – maybe it is because I have never met him before, that is until last week, when I caught up with him twice in St Werburghs tunnel. I told him that I would look through my archives and see if I had any older stuff of his that I could share. He was very pleased to hear this, and is keen to stop for a drink soon to talk about street art – I just need to find some time.
This piece is on the curved wall at Dean Lane and is a repair to a similar piece he painted on this exact wall a few weeks ago and which got badly tagged. I think I have pictures of that original. Alongside his letters ‘SAKE’ is a Vaughn Bodē lizard, which is a favourite character for graffiti artists along with Cheech Wizard. I think this is a theme that I’ll need to investigate further before writing too much about it now, but will return to in future. A very nice wall painted by a decent, if slightly intense, artist.
There are times when you have to just sit down and absorb a piece, to enjoy it to the maximum, and marvel at its splendour. This amazing piece by Sled One is one of those, and I don’t think that anything I write will actually add anything to the majesty of this work.
The regal character, part of a wider collaboration set on a pink background, is as unsettling as it is crazy. A lizard-like queen with a full set of pearls (is it Queen Victoria?) is holding a sceptre which looks like it has a fly on the end.
The surreal piece might be political commentary, or it might not, with Sled One it is customary to not really know what is going on. Accepting that there is a great story there somewhere is probably enough and we all have to let our imaginations run wild. I love this a lot.