My Dog Sighs, a hugely popular and talented artist from Portsmouth was extremely busy at the Cheltenham Paint Festival last September. His main project, painting a small lorry (yet to be posted) was accompanied by a number of smaller pieces dotted around town. This ceramic tile was one of those ‘extras’.
The little everyman character was hiding near the entrance to a car park. The shattered and fragmented tile has the word ‘broken’ across the top and everyman is looking a bit sad. This is an imaginative piece and characterises the influx of art that festivals bring in addition to the sanctioned and legitimate works.
It has been a little while since I last saw some writing from Nightwayss, so it was a nice surprise to find this ‘NIGHT’ on the M32 cycle path. There is an interesting colour palette and a highly complex design, but I have to say it doesn’t quite work for me and I can’t put my finger on it.
Maybe the lack of clear definition around the letters is a little unconventional, and the colours tend to merge a bit. Also the texture of the wall isn’t very helpful with this busy design. I fear I might protest too much, and anyway, photobombing dog seems to rather like it.
On my first day in Cheltenham I walked from Cheltenham Spa station along the Honeybourne Line towards the centre of town and after dropping down from the disused railway the first major piece I saw was this sensational eye from My Dog Dighs painted for the 1028 Cheltenham Paint Festival (I think).
Good grief, this is a great piece in its overall impact, situated on a rather banal utilitarian building, bringing joy to all who see it. The child-like background of scribbles and doodles plays host to an enormous and dramatic eye.
This and all his other recent pieces speak of an artist at the absolute top of his game and whose signature eyes, large or small, each bear their own characteristics. The patterning on the iris is always so well observed and the scenes tell great stories, often of the local environment or people. World class piece.
This is an unmistakable piece by My Dog Sighs, which was one of several little ‘gifts’ left behind in Cheltenham by him at the Paint Festival in 2018. Having never been to a Cheltenham Art Festival before I was discovering so many of these beauties for the first time this year. I love this photograph… there is something about the placement of the piece on this particular wall and its immediate environment, such as the carpet and the weeds that come together to make an outstanding image.
I don’t think I’ll ever tire of these eyes, and although they are one of My Dog’s trademark pieces, each is individual and independent of the others. The most amazing thing about this one is how you can look at it and in your mind know that it is on a flat surface, but the skillful artwork has a depth and the shine on the iris makes it look aqueous, just like a real eye. Magnificent in so many ways.
There are many hazards and obstacles to taking street art picures. This was in fact the second visit I had made to photograph this lovely eye by My Dog Sighs (his second Summer Editions piece for Upfest). On the first visit, there was a shadow cast right across the middle of the piece, and in this one I managed to capture a customer at the North Street Standard, and being alone he obviously had to be texting someone to give the illusion that he wasn’t in fact alone… but he was, so there.
The eye is everything you might expect from My Dog Sighs, and is beautifully presented. It would be easy to fall in to the trap of saying that he is a one-trick pony and indeed I know some people who think that, I happen to disagree with that particular assertion. He has certainly nailed his technique for painting eyes, but it doesn’t stop there, he still works on the background and the silhouette in the eye and creates an atmosphere or story individual to each piece. Here he has used some stencils with Japanese characters falling like a digital rain around the eye.
You might spot a slight ‘blemish’ on the eye which is caused by a little vent pipe in the wall – My Dog Sighs has concealed it brilliantly. Well done Upfest for organising yet another triumphant Summer Editions piece.
How fortunate we are in Bristol to have had the unbelievable collaboration by My Dog Sighs and Curtis Hylton on Windmill Hill. As if that wasn’t enough, My Dog Sighs also left a couple of smaller pieces on a wall around the corner of the main piece and this is one of them.
There is something absolutely magical about this piece and the face has similarities in style to the tin can faces that are one of his trademarks. I yearn to own one of his tin cans, but I guess I just have to be in the right place at the right time. Serene, even beautiful the character on the left is simply drawn and has four eyes, all of which contain a silhouette scene. To the right is harlequin clown, dare I say it with a feel of Picasso there somewhere. I don’t use the word adorable, but if I did, I might use it to describe this piece.
The blue crown is rather special and casts a thin glow of light on the character’s head and antlers. I cannot tell you how much I love this work. It is so unusual and so very classy. As I said at the beginning, we are very lucky in Bristol.
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.