This year, because of the showery conditions at Upfest, it paid to get work started early. Copyright had completed this wonderful shutter piece on North Street before the festival officially started on Saturday and was spared the difficulty of working in the rain (on this piece at least).
The piece really stands out in what is a rather drab shop front, and the pink strip lifts the portrait out and smacks you in the face (figuratively speaking of course).
Upfest is one of the only times that you can get to see a majority of the shutter pieces on North Street, especially on the Sunday, because most of the non-food retailers shut for the weekend. I really like this one from Copyright – it would make a great album cover.
It isn’t too long ago that I posted about a piece on this shutter by Telmo Miel, which had been from the time of Upfest 2015. Now, with only days to go until Upfest 2017, I am posting about a piece from 2016. This is the problem with shutters – it is all about timing.
I had no idea that this piece was even here, but happened to pass by just when the shutter was down. What luck! This is a gorgeous sewing bumble bee by the irrepressible Louis Masai. His work with the natural world is a beacon of hope for us all, and I can’t imagine who wouldn’t be touched by his conservation themed work.
‘One love’ he signs it – setting off an earworm which will take a while to shake off. A great find, and fun sharing it.
So here it is, time to get excited about Upfest 2017 with this year’s festival artist Pahnl. There are two of these pieces, one at the North Street Green, and the other at the North Street Standard. Both I expect will be over written at the festival, the latter I believe by Inkie.
I don’t really know anything about Pahnl, so it is lucky that the nice people at Upfest have produced a free festival map and a short biography of Pahnl which reads:
‘Living at a lower level of existence, Pahnl’s miniature people, dogs, cats and birds can often be found outside in the street. Taking influence from comics and street signage, whilst adding their own subversive and funny twist, Birmingham-based duo Panhl use stencils, stickers, posters, animation, screen printing, film and photography to bring their own small world to life.’
So now you know as much as me. Certainly their work has a very strong brand feel to it, and perhaps that is a good thing for the Festival, but it is quite unlike most of the street art you find in Bristol, and maybe not representative. Having said that this is strong and characterful and demonstrates the broad church of street/graffiti art that Upfest espouses. Only a few days now.
I think that Sirens must have been squatting uncomfortably on the ground for a while during the creation of this calming piece in North Street. It is tucked in amongst scaffolding and a small alcove, often used by graffiti artists and taggers. The space smells…well what should I say? a bit like a WC, and I guess that plenty of pub goers relieve themselves here after an evening out.
How fabulous then to see this uplifting piece so typical of Sirens. Silhouetted houses and rooftops with a magnificent setting sun; an inspirational piece so full of hope. I know that Sirens likes to surprise people with his choice of location and he has excelled with this one. I imagine many will walk past it none the wiser, but those who look around will see it and benefit from the joy it brings. Nice one Sirens!
An interesting abstractish sort of piece in one of the prime window slots on North Street, currently occupied by a Copyright and Paul Monsters collaboration. This piece is by Age Age, an artist I am struggling to find out much about.
His piece here is next to the Upfest work of Caro Pepe, which is interesting, because in my trawl of the Interweb, I have found several collaborations between these two artists. A quick look on his Facebook page confirms this.
Age Age, Hannes Höhlig, is an illustrator and graphic designer from Berlin who, it would appear, likes to get out and spray the streets from time to time. His work is a little surreal and attractive – there are stories going on here. This was a nice festival piece which sadly was defaced not too long after the festival, along with several other pieces in the area. My understanding is that some of the Bedminster locals spray the pieces they don’t like or don’t respect. Oh dear.
A little while ago Frankie Beane posted a piece by Telmo Miel which was absolutely stunning. We had a short exchange of comments, and I looked into whether or not Telmo Miel had been to Bristol for Upfest. It turns out they have been a couple of times before, the last of which was in 2015. It also just so happens that I photographed their shutter piece not knowing who they were, and only now am I able to share it.
Telmo Miel is/are two artists who paint as one. This was the Dutch duo’s biography from the Upfest website:
‘Telmo Pieper and Miel Krutzmann are the names behind Telmo Miel artistic machinery. Telmo Pieper was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands where he graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy. He is a creator, image maker and a contemporary graffiti artist. Miel Krutzmann also received his degree from the Academy in Rotterdam, and he is a mural painter and illustrator, who started drawing as a child and never stopped. Together, they share a fascination for (sur)realistic imagery and are currently making life-sized wall paintings using spray-paint all over the globe.’
I hope they return soon as their work is actually rather good.
Whenever I go out looking for street art and graffiti I always live in hope that I might find an artist at work, and this meeting with Copyright and Paul Monsters and indeed Gemma Compton who was just there (she and Copyright are married), signalled the start of something of a purple patch for me meeting artists. I don’t know if it is luck or what, but it is always great to stop and have a chat.
This is a really amazing collaboration between the two, Copyright’s beautiful women’s faces and the geometry of Paul Monster’s colourful patterns complement each other perfectly. I happen to know at the time of writing that they have worked together again since, because I found them again…more on this one some other time.
Paul doesn’t get out to spray much these days because he is working flat out with Upfest the organising team in their office in North Street. If you take a look at the list of artists for the 2017 festival, you have Paul to thank, as he put it all together.