It took a little while to get there, but this outstanding mural from Sophie Long has been well worth the wait. The row of shops in North Street, which includes the Upfest shop in the middle, is becoming a bit of a showcase, with four of the five similar buildings now boasting a fine mural. Most interestingly all of these murals are by female artists. I reckon that we should be lining up Hazard for the remaining slot… That would be my first choice.
Sophie Long is well known for her paintings of wildlife and use of bright colours and in this mural she doesn’t disappoint. Four bumblebees surround the top window of the building with rays of bright colour shooting out from the centre. Often Sophie Long will pay attention to anatomical accuracy, but in this mural, the bumblebees have a slightly cartoonish appearance. This is a fine addition to the existing murals in this row.
Sometimes you have to be patient, and with photographing shutter pieces this can be particularly true. I have known about this wonderful cat mural by Kin Dose for a long time, it was painted during lock down, but every time I visited until recently the shop was open and the shutter up.
This delightful cat was commissioned by ToyVille on North Street and is a fantastic permanent addition to the cluster of amazing pieces in this area of Bedminster. I don’t know if it is deliberate, but the cat is staring straight across the zebra crossing, giving pedestrians ‘the eye’.
Kin Dose is simply one of the best and his technique of airbrush spray painting enables him to add the most incredible fine detail to his pieces, especially good for fur and whiskers. This piece is situated immediately to the right of his kingfisher commission that was painted a few days before.
I’m not entirely certain I have seen a collaboration between Andy Council and Soker before so this recent piece on North Street is something of a wonderful surprise. The whole thhing is beautifully balanced and the colour selections work perfectly. The Soker burner in the middle is book-ended with the front and back of a dragon with parts of the back running the length of the whole piece for continuity.
I’ll start with the Soker writing, which as ever is top notch with a five colour horizontal fill that works really well and some pink/mauve 3D shading that adds real depth to the lettering. On its own this is remarkable.
The front end of the dragon by Andy Council is made up of individual components stitched together with pink looping thread. There is movement and power in this dragon, but its form is a figment of our imaginations. Very clever.
The rear end of the dragon is more of the same, but some of the component parts begin to resemble feathers flutteing away, which I am sure is no accident, because Andy Council’s usual preference for dinosaurs woud include scales and primitive feathers (derived from scales). A wonderful collaboration from thes two godfathers of Bristol street art.
I think that this is the largest mural I have seen from Bex Glover, and it is an absolute beauty. The recently completed piece is in good company, being adjacent to large works by Gemma Compton and Zoe Power.
Two foxes tail to tail and nose to nose are the centrepiece of this typically ornate piece from Bex Glover, all set on a dark turquoise background. There is a symmetry to the piece that is interrupted only by a few subtle differences. There is a small quote at the bottom of the piece that reads ‘stronger together’, a narrative that has run through the coronavirus epidemic and the black lives matter movement.
The foxes, such an iconic symbol of Bristol, represent the togetherness talked about and convey a positive message. This is a lovely new piece from Bex Glover.
There is something about kingfishers and artists. They seem to represent beauty and freedom and perhaps the slightest connection with nature that our urban societies have, in the main, lost.
This shutter piece had been commissioned and painted during lock down, and I have a feeling that Kin Dose also painted the adjacent shop shutter at the same time, although I have not managed to photograph that yet.
The whole piece has a feeling of vibrancy and movement about it. The abstract background of pinks, blues and whites setting up a rich frame for the kingfisher itself. The bird is exquisitely painted (it is not the first time Kin Dose has painted a kingfisher in Bristol) and a massive asset to this end of North Street.
I love seeing Sophie Long’s work on the streets and simply don’t see enough of it out there, so finding this on North Street a little while back was genuinely a wonderful surprise. Her striking wildlife paintings/street art are truly beautiful and nearly always have this characteristic dripping which marks the piece as one of hers.
This tiger is skilfully done, although if I were being ultra critical I’d say the the body proportions aren’t quite right. The head is a little exaggerated and the body too short, but it does comply with our mind’s eye of what a tiger looks like. I very much look forward to seeing more of her work if and when the lock down eases.
Another look back to Upfest 2018 with this magnificent mural by The London Police. I know little about The London Police and have only seen their work on social media, but is appears that they have been an outfit since 2002, and comprise two central artists with othhers joining and leaving the collective over time. Ther is more about them in their Biography on their website.
I take my hat off to them for tackling this wall, because in my view, this is one of the trickiest walls and most annoying to photograph at Upfest. The best shots are from the roof opposite or from a drone, and guess what, I don’t have one of those.
The design is reasonably simple and clean which makes it easy to look at and enjoy. It is consistent with their work over many years and I believe the character is called LADS who forms the central part of all of their work. A fine piece.
During last summer, when Mr Draws painted this beast, it was impossible to get any photographs of it at all because it was behind a whole bunch of large leafy shrubs. Summer has yielded to winter and the leaves on the tree have fallen and the Council gardeners have cleared the shrubs. The outcome is that this magnificent whale is now visible to the world.
This whale is not the first Mr Draws has painted, indeed he sprayed one around the same time at the Cheltenham Paint Festival. It is however a bit of a departure from his graffiti writing or his mountains. I like the piece very much, it has a certain solemnity and mystery about it. Glad to have captured it at last.
This is an extraordinary paste up that I really ought to have posted some time ago, but it slipped through the net until I had a little look back through old files. It is by the Bristol-based artist Gvnly and presents his surreal style with real confidence.
At first I mistook this for a regular poster and with peripheral vision it looked like a kind of generic ‘circus coming to town’ poster. But as always with these things taking a moment to stop and look has its rewards. There is a lot going on in this colourful piece and there is quite a dreamy type of theme going on. I’m not sure what media were used in the painting, nor do I quite understand how it was turned into a poster (I’m not very good at understanding that kind of stuff). The wheatpaste stayed up for quite a long time before finally seccumbing to the elements. Something a little different from the norm in Bristol, and all the better for it.
This is a lovely new shutter piece by The Hass on North Street. Unfortunately there is a bit missing on the left hand side which rolls down over the door, but shutters are difficult to get at the best of times so I was pleased to get this shot. The Hass paints under another name in Bristol, but those that know, know and those that don’t, don’t need to.
As a marine biologist I need little encouragement to marvel at this wonderful marlin swimming in waters close to a paradise island, looking a little bit like the island set in the Disney Pixar film The Incredibles. This time though the gorgeous waters are polluted with plastic bottles in amongst the fish. Nice piece combining abstract elements with realism and a great story.