4171. Stokes Croft

This magnificent piece, by Stinkfish, is arguably the most iconic piece of street art in Bristol. This is the second appearance of this mural in Natural Adventures, but a totally legitimate one. The original was painted by Stinkfish some years ago, and at the back end of last year the artist was brought back to the city to refresh this and another of his fine works in Mina Road, St Werburghs.

Stinkfish, Stokes Croft, Bristol, December 2021
Stinkfish, Stokes Croft, Bristol, December 2021

The result of this refresh is absolutely stunning, bringing the old piece back to life and restoring a sense of pride in this extraordinary wall. Some may feel that restoring a piece goes a bit against the grain of the lifecycle of street art, but I am not amongst them. In this piece not only has Stinkfish refreshed the black and yellow elements, but he has embellished the piece with his trademark patterns that add so much more to the whole.

Stinkfish, Stokes Croft, Bristol, September 2015
Stinkfish, Stokes Croft, Bristol, September 2015

For comparison I include a picture of the piece from my original post, and even then the piece wasn’t particularly new. It is wonderful to see new life breathed into the old girl.

4141. Upper York Street (27)

Tom Miller has been very busy recently with a few commissions, and of course his lovely collaboration piece with Kin Dose on Nelson Street, that I published yesterday (Christmas Day). This new mural on the wall of the Basement Beer brewery tap room in Upper York Street is an absolute beauty and full of depth and symbolism.

Tom Miller, Upper York Street, Bristol, December 2021
Tom Miller, Upper York Street, Bristol, December 2021

I was lucky enough to catch up with Tom Miller (thank you, Paul, for the tip-off) while he was putting the finishing touches on the piece, and stopped for a wee chat. Tom Miller is one of the gentlest, kindest and most lovely artists I meet doing the rounds, and he is so generous with his time, always willing to talk and discuss his work. During our conversation, I asked him about the painting, and he gave me a few little insights.

Tom Miller, Upper York Street, Bristol, December 2021
Tom Miller, Upper York Street, Bristol, December 2021

The steps that appear on the piece are a direct reference to the steps in the doorway sign ‘basement beer’, which kind of makes sense, but might not be obvious when just glancing at the piece.

Tom Miller, Upper York Street, Bristol, December 2021
Tom Miller, Upper York Street, Bristol, December 2021

There is always so much going on in Tom Miller’s pieces, and he has really delved into the spirit of the venue with some clever mash-ups of people and drinks, creating some rather surreal and colourful characters.

Tom Miller, Upper York Street, Bristol, December 2021
Tom Miller, Upper York Street, Bristol, December 2021

This is an artwork that deserves to be seen and admired, and we are so lucky in Bristol that we get to see so much free art like this. Tom’s canvasses are something special too. Always bright, colourful and frenetic, they display a stream of consciousness captured on canvass or a wall and frozen in that moment. Fabulous work.

4050. St Werburgh’s Park

Life is full of surprises, and for me some of the best surprises are new murals in town that have not been on my radar, and this outstanding new piece in St Werburgh’s Park, by Gabriel Pitcher, is definitely one of those great surprises to lift the spirits. This piece is part of an initiative called ‘Vanguard x TOward 2030, What are you doing?’, and there is a very good webpage from Street Art News that explains the event and showcases several artworks and artists around Bristol – more for me to seek out!

Gabriel Pitcher, St Werburgh's Park, Bristol, November 2021
Gabriel Pitcher, St Werburgh’s Park, Bristol, November 2021

I have borrowed some text from the Street Art News website to help explain some of the background to this Gabriel Pitcher piece:

Gabriel Pitcher has partnered with community ambassador, The Global Goals Centre to paint a mural in St Werburgh’s, Bristol celebrating Bristol 17 hero Katie Cross, founder of Pledgeball. 

Pledgeball harnesses the power of football and its fans to accelerate the pursuit of global sustainability. Through affiliated clubs, it prompts fans into small lifestyle ‘pledges’ in support of their favourite team and their only planet and empowers fans by demonstrating the huge impact even small changes can make for the benefit of themselves and their environment.”

Gabriel Pitcher, St Werburgh's Park, Bristol, November 2021
Gabriel Pitcher, St Werburgh’s Park, Bristol, November 2021

The piece itself is so natural. Subtle colours, tons of movement and a modesty that is a rare thing in large murals these days. It is so good to see this kind of people-engagement with the environment through art, something we could see a lot more of in the coming years, I hope. This is a fabulous and worthy (in the good sense) piece.

3991. Upfest 2021 75×75 (69)

Although access to this wall can be a little limited, it is possible to photograph it reasonably well – I haven’t yet been to the spot when the gate was open into the yard, so my pictures are offset, taken over/through the fence. It is a new wall for Upfest, and they really must be congratulated on sourcing so many new walls for this year’s extended event.

Farrah, Greville Road, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21
Farrah, Greville Road, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21

The mural, entitled, ‘World on Fire’ is by Farrah and my first impressions are very much that the work resembles the style and colours that Vincent van Gogh might have used, although this is purely an abstract piece. It is beautiful, and the eye is pulled around the piece, drawn into the battling and swirling patterns and colours.

Farrah, Greville Road, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21
Farrah, Greville Road, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21

This is the largest piece I have seen by Farrah, and the first to have made it on to Natural Adventures, but definitely not the last. I don’t know too much about the artist, but her informative Facebook page is worth a quick look, and her Instagram profile offers this insight:

Paintings inspired by the natural world and delicate ecosystems of our beautiful planet, from fragile coral reefs 💦 to the lush green rainforests 🍃.

Watch this space for more

3962. Upfest 2021 75×75 (66)

Well now we are getting in to the final 10 pieces from Upfest’s 75 walls in 75 days event and I am getting a little edgy, because my ‘collector’ gene will be working overtime to ensure I get every single one, and that might be difficult.

Silent Hobo, Ruby Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21
Silent Hobo, Ruby Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21

I don’t normally associate Silent Hobo with Upfest events, so it was really nice to see that he has participated in this most unusual of years with this enormous mural in Ruby Street.

Silent Hobo, Ruby Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21
Silent Hobo, Ruby Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21

Of course, with so many murals in residential streets for this year’s event, parked cars have been a real problem. I think I might suggest to artists that next year they start their pieces four feet above the ground, or that they paint cars in the lower portion so we don’t actually miss anything (now there’s a creative concept).

Silent Hobo, Ruby Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21
Silent Hobo, Ruby Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21

As with all of Silent Hobo’s excellent observational work, he captures the mood of ordinary people, especially youngsters so well. One could do a celebration of Bristol, just by showcasing all of his pieces. It would seem that he is very proud of the city and its citizens and his murals are a wonderful record of the city in the 2000s.

Silent Hobo, Ruby Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21
Silent Hobo, Ruby Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21

Another thing that Silent Hobo portrays beautifully is pets and wild animals. Here he rewards the viewer with a fabulous cameo of a little boy and his dog in a red armchair, a delightful scene. Yet another outstanding wall from Silent Hobo and for Upfest.

3932. Upfest 2021 75×75 (59)

I’m not sure that Ments has painted for Upfest before, but it is wonderful to see him rewarded for his consistently excellent graffiti writing with this unusual bordered wall in Dean Street for the 75 walls in 75 days event. Looking at it, this spot has been crying out for street art work, and thanks to Upfest there are now two stunning new pieces opposite one another.

Ments, Dean Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21
Ments, Dean Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21

Ments has been experimenting for about a year or so with his fluid/molten metal pieces, and it has been fun watching him develop his technique. This abstract piece is the culmination of a lot of work and is perfect for the wall – colours and tones Ments has used complement the red brick wall superbly well.

Ments, Dean Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21
Ments, Dean Street, Bristol, September 2021, Upfest 21

Because the piece is set quite high up the wall, the closer you get to it, the more you are looking up and as a result there is more reflected light interfering with the piece. It is so good to see Ments moving into this abstract art arena, but I hope he keeps up his graffiti art work, which is so enjoyable for us to see.

3921. Upfest 2021 75×75 (56)

On a wall that is rather difficult to photograph, because of its proximity to an adjacent building, is this beautiful mural by Venessa Scott painted as part of Upfest’s 75 walls in 75 days celebration. I hadn’t heard of Venessa Scott before I saw this piece, but it would appear that she is well known in the North of England for her creative arts and large murals.

Vanessa Scott, Lime Road, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21
Venessa Scott, Lime Road, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21

This mural looks like a piece of colourful patterned material has been draped over the house, or at least that is what it looks like to me. Look a little closer and you can see that the patterns are in  the form of human figures dancing and leaping. This is a truly energetic, creative and unique piece.

Vanessa Scott, Lime Road, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21
Vanessa Scott, Lime Road, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21

This is one of those walls where you need the courage to ask the neighbours if you can go into their house to photograph the mural, and I just don’t have that courage – my English reserve kicking into the max. It is so good to see so many new walls appearing for Upfest this year, but it has to be said that quite a few of them are a bit awkward to view and photograph. I guess you just can’t have everything on a plate. It is so good to welcome Vanessa Scott to Bristol and I hope it is the first of many visits.

3917. Wilder Street (42)

Words cannot really describe how wonderful this enormous mural makes me feel. Hazard, or Harriet Wood to give you her proper name, has produced a landmark piece that launches her onto the world-class stage. It is not only the scale of the piece, but its stature that is so special. Somehow Hazard has found a new level and it is all very exciting.

Hazard, Wilder Street, Bristol, August 2021
Hazard, Wilder Street, Bristol, August 2021

Wilder Street in St Paul’s has been at the heart of the Bristol street/graffiti art scene for many years, although recently, the amount of gentrification of the area has slowed things somewhat. This piece bucks that trend and makes a positive statement for beautiful public art in the area.

Hazard, Wilder Street, Bristol, August 2021
Hazard, Wilder Street, Bristol, August 2021

The piece was supported by The Arts Council through its Developing your Creative Practice (DYPC) fund, and thank goodness for initiatives like this one that bring so much joy to so many people while supporting the work of our most creative people.

Hazard, Wilder Street, Bristol, August 2021
Hazard, Wilder Street, Bristol, August 2021

Hazard, in going big, has not compromised on her ability to compose a piece fit for a particular space, and this colourful portrait, almost cubist in its presentation, has been worked perfectly into the fabric of the 20m high facade. With the magnificent colours bleeding off to the right, Hazard has created a shadow portrait just to the right of the main portrait adding emphasis and interest.

Hazard, Wilder Street, Bristol, August 2021
Hazard, Wilder Street, Bristol, August 2021

There have been so many extraordinary murals painted in Bristol this year, and the bar has been set very high. I feel however that Hazard, with this piece, has surpassed any other I have seen. I genuinely hope that this piece will launch Hazard onto the international stage that she clearly deserves. My favourite of the year so far.

3911. Cumberland Basin

One of the genuine delights of having an interest in street and graffiti art is watching newcomers develop. And so meeting Oma while she was painting this fabulous Bristol fox, one of only a handful of street pieces she has painted, was an immense pleasure. The fox was painted as part of the birthday paint jam for Eman at the back end of July.

Oma, Cumberland Basin, Bristol, August 2021
Oma, Cumberland Basin, Bristol, August 2021

The work in progress shot is particularly interesting in that you can see that Oma has drawn several outlines before settling on one and building the piece from there. I love the colour combinations she uses, they are quite unusual and make her work stand out.

Oma, Cumberland Basin, Bristol, August 2021
Oma, Cumberland Basin, Bristol, August 2021

Foxes appear so much in Bristol street art, and I am minded to do a gallery of them… perhaps when I have some time. I love this piece a lot, and although there is much to learn (I speak as one who has even more to learn), she has incorporated some wonderful elements and technique (shading, colour combinations, textures) into the subject. I am so looking forward to seeing more from Oma. I have one or two pieces in archive that I will try to dig out.

3886. Upfest 2021 75×75 (44)

What an absolute delight to find this beautiful mural by Bex Glover which has been painted as part of Upfest’s 75 walls in 75 days initiative. Set on the side of a North Street shop, Bex Glover brings her unique design style and colour combinations that spreads the wonder of British nature to our streets.

Bex Glover, North Street, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21
Bex Glover, North Street, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21

This mural celebrates the hedgehog, a native mammal that has been in steep decline for some years now, just another casualty of our human carelessness and disregard for our environment. These three little characters are beautifully painted and appear to be following a yellow trail – perhaps it is their yellow brick road at the end of the rainbow.

Bex Glover, North Street, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21
Bex Glover, North Street, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21

I am a huge admirer of Bex Glover’s work which always stands out from the crowd and her connection with nature certainly chimes with me. Lovely stuff.