4161. North Street

My love for wheatpastes is a theme that runs through my posts on Natural Adventures, but sadly, there is not much of a paste-up culture in Bristol, and I think, perhaps counterintuitively, that it is less tolerated by the authorities than spray-painting. It is good therefore, that from time to time visiting wheatpasters visit the city and pop up a few decorations for us to enjoy, like this one from qWeRT.

qWeRT, North Street, Bristol, December 2021
qWeRT, North Street, Bristol, December 2021

If you like what you see here, it might be worth a quick look at the qWeRT gallery I put together some time ago, but have updated just now. qWeRT has used the rather tatty door as a perfect spot for the bug-eyed character to express its love, a great sentiment that we could all do with plenty of.

4125. Upfest 2021 75×75 (73)

I had kind of given up on the final three Upfest 75 walls in 75 days pieces, especially as the 75 days was up some time ago, but hope and excitement were restored when Sled One painted this beautiful piece for the event a couple of weeks ago.

Sled One, North Street, Bristol, December 2021, Upfest 21,
Sled One, North Street, Bristol, December 2021, Upfest 21,

Above the General Store in North Street, the intricate mural features a snakes and ladders theme, with a medieval twist hinted at by the hand-held daggers and ornate sleeves. I did not notice the Advance Pest Control van in the photograph until posting this piece, but I think it adds a little something to the scene.

As we would expect from Sled One, the mural is executed with class and precision and is a fine contribution to Upfest’s summer event. So now there are only two pieces left for me to find. One, I know where it is, the other is a mystery.

4124. North Street

Paste ups tend to be few and far between in Bristol, and there is nothing like the culture of wheatpastes here as there is in Shoreditch, for example. I suppose that their rarity makes them extra special, and when qWeRT visits the city, it is always refreshing to see his goggle-eyed characters.

qWeRT, North Street, Bristol, December 2021
qWeRT, North Street, Bristol, December 2021

This one in North Street is immediately above a Stewy stencil of a sheep, and is perfectly positioned under the coping stone of the wall. Although looking a little worse for wear, this piece isn’t actually all that old and is one of several that appeared in the North Street area a couple of months back. Creative and fun, qWeRT will always be welcome in  Bristol (as far as I am concerned).

4083. North Street

This old piece by John D’oh has been sitting in my ‘departure lounge’ for several years, and at last I have found the space to publish it. I am going to show my ignorance by not having any idea who the character portrayed in the piece is… a bit of popular culture that has passed me by, and maybe this is why I never posted it when I had prepared it way back.

John D'oh, North Street, Bristol, April 2016
John D’oh, North Street, Bristol, April 2016

Placed on a shopfront that I think has changed since April 2016 when the picture was taken, the text states ‘ life is sometimes just torture. As I said earlier I am not sure what the reference is, but I still like it, and the whole rather run-down scene nonetheless. As you might have spotted, I am going through a bit of a John D’oh purple patch and it has no signs of abating.

3912. Upfest 2021 75×75 (53)

I met Karl Read at the Cheltenham Paint Festival last year, and what a very nice bloke he is too. He is an artist who appears to enjoy painting at festivals, and he has certainly been to several Upfest events in the past, this is his 75 walls in 75 days contribution.

Karl Read, North Street, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21
Karl Read, North Street, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21

This is a superb bright and vibrant piece that makes great use of this slightly awkward wall. The message, in large colourful letters, is clear for all to see and will resonate with all but the most miserable people. Karl Read has chosen to paint his characters, a boy and a girl at each end of the letters, in black and white, probably using a stencil. The characters contrast beautifully with the letters and somehow bring out the colour even more. An upbeat and positive piece from the Upfest veteran.

3908. Upfest 2021 75×75 (52)

I am generally pretty well tapped into the appearance of new pieces in Bristol through Instagram and Twitter, especially anything to do with Upfest, which made finding this piece accidentally/incidentally, by Sophie Long, extra special. Sophie Long is a Bristol artist who creates stunning colourful canvasses and murals of wild animals (and usually lots of lovely drips too), and who is an Upfest favourite.

Sophie Long, North Street, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21
Sophie Long, North Street, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21

These beautiful whale pieces, on the door shutter and wall of People Solutions on North Street, replace a pair of octopi from a previous Upfest event. Sophie Long has managed to use the vertical space brilliantly, who’d have thought you could paint blue whales in a diving pose?

Sophie Long, North Street, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21
Sophie Long, North Street, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21

There is always an emotional connection with our largest mammal cousins and Sophie Long has done a brilliant job at representing that connection. Skilfully painted in ghostly colours, these two leviathans remind us of the fragility of biodiversity on Earth. Beautiful.

3905. Upfest 2021 75×75 (51)

It is always a real pleasure to welcome Dan Kitchener back to Bristol, and his work is absolutely astonishing, but for Upfest to allocate this wall to him is unfortunate to say the least. At best, perhaps the narrow space where the wall is located reflects the backstreets of a ‘Tokyoesque’ scene, but the detail and interest in this wonderful mural just can’t be fully appreciated from the street, and it is near impossible to photograph. Rant over.

Dan Kitchener, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 2021
Dan Kitchener, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 2021

These busy scenes that Dan Kitchener creates have a strong feel of ‘Bladerunner’ about them, if you know what I mean. Dark, wet, oriental streets with neon advertising and car headlights providing an intoxicating atmosphere and people with opened umbrellas busily scurrying across the traffic. Dan Kitchener gives us a complete urban nighttime landscape.

Dan Kitchener, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 2021
Dan Kitchener, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 2021

When you look closer at the work, you can see how effective the spray paint is for creating the reflections in the wet tarmac, but also in offering great detail in the neon lighting. There is a simplicity about Dan Kitchener’s style that allows your brain to work hard and fully create the scene. It is like an illusion, yes, an illusion that tricks your brain into thinking this is a real scene, a photograph or a memory. Clever stuff. Really evocative.

Dan Kitchener, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 2021
Dan Kitchener, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 2021

It is possible to photograph the wall from the roof of the bank, but I have not yet been in the right place at the right time to achieve this, and for most passers by this is similarly an impossibility. Another outstandingly brilliant piece from Dan Kitchener for Upfest.

3898. Upfest 2021 75×75 (49)

Another artist whose work I very much admire and who is no stranger to Upfest is Envol, and he returned to Bristol to paint one of his distinctive pieces just off North Street. I was lucky enough to meet him while he was painting this and he stopped for a while for a great chat. It turns out that he is good friends with Fanakapan, another very talented London artist and one who has also painted at Upfest in the past.

Envol, North Street, Bristol, June 2021, Upfest 21
Envol, North Street, Bristol, June 2021, Upfest 21

While I managed to photograph the piece as a work in progress, by the time I came back to photograph the final finished piece it had been vandalised, along with several other Upfest murals, by some misguided (and probably ill) idiot. Thankfully the piece was fully restored and is as good as new.

Envol, North Street, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21
Envol, North Street, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21

Envol creates these sharp and clean pieces incorporating parts of the body with abstract shapes and patterns, and sometimes disrupting them with white space. They are quite surreal, and at times remind me a little of Giorgio de Chirico fused with Matisse’s cut outs. Beautiful to look at and thought-provoking. This piece is another fabulous contribution to Upfest’s 75×75 event.

3894. Upfest 2021 75×75 (47)

For the first time during Upfest’s 75 walls in 75 days summer event I find myself a little baffled. This piece by Jay Sharples, an Upfest veteran, leaves me a little cold. It is technically beautifully painted and has a very strong design element which works well in the space, but it just doesn’t do it for me, which is a pity, because I like Jay Sharples’ work very much. I guess I can’t like everything.

Jay Sharples, North Street, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21
Jay Sharples Street, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21

The black and pink stripes are very striking and the contrast is very eye-catching. I am guessing that there was a lot of masking tape involved in the painting of this piece. I have a feeling that Jay Sharples may have left us a little present elsewhere in Bristol, rather more akin to his usual work. I thought I’d just include a previous Upfest piece from the artist below for comparison.

Jay Sharples, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017
Jay Sharples, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017

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.