Three dancing octopus girls seems to be what is going on in this superb mural from Sussanah Polley who appears to have moved from Western Australia to the fine city of Bristol, and that is great news for us. This mural, ‘naked octopus party’ is one of a few adorning pubs around Bristol, and I need to seek out some of the others.
Sussanah Pooley’s pop surrealism art is a perfect fit for Bristol’s street art scene, combining originality and creativity with perfect execution. Any piece art with naked ladies and octopi gets my vote for sure. I found this piece by accident, which was very lucky, but will try to be a little more deliberate in future. A truly wonderful piece and I look forward to finding more.
Because I don’t get to photograph up at Purdown Battery very often, I am not too sure whether this is a recent or an old piece by Rosalita, but either way it is an absolute cracker. This wall is tucked away a bit and takes a little bit of finding, so I don’t imagine that very many people have seen it, which in one way is a bit of a shame, but in another way it is how some artists like to do things.
The subject of the piece is a mermaid, whose hair is made up of octopus tentacles, but instead of looking rather disgusting as in the Bill Nighy portrayal of Davey Jones from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, her hair is beautiful. This is an outstanding piece and another example of great work coming from Rosalita at the moment.
Wow, I love it when Sled One just pitches up unannounced and then modestly produces his magic like he did in this most recent example in St Werburghs tunnel. The piece features an octopus (what is it about street art and octopi?) sporting a bucket hat and fondly embracing an umbrella, possibly a little too fondly.
There is a lot of perspective and movement in the piece, something that Sled One does so well, and he is a master at creating textures and depth with the use of shading. This is yet another crazy (in a good way) piece from the artist, and made all the more remarkable by the fact that he had a fractured wrist and ankle at the time of painting this, a week or so ago. Just brilliant.
I am really taken with this piece and could look at it all day, there is something I find most engaging about it…perhaps it sings to the biologist in me. The artist Decimart is from Jerez de la Frontera in Spain and appears to travel around for his work.
I am most pleased that I managed to get pictures of the piece at different stages of its development, but am sorry that I missed out on meeting the artist himself. This was a particularly tricky spot to work in, especially on the Saturday, because of the high winds that funneled through this space. In fact some of the boards, including this one, had to be secured more firmly in place or they would have blown away.
In spite of the wind and rain, Decimart has managed to produce one of my favourite pieces of the festival. I would dearly love to see him make a return in the future.
It wasn’t until Upfest this year that I discovered that I already knew The Hass, but under another name (there is a clue in the piece itself). It would seem that he has two street personas, one for his profession as a designer, and the other for recreation. I can tell you now that all of his work under whatever name is brilliant, and this piece is emblematic of that.
I am always going to favour an underwater scene and this one takes some beating. It really creates the impression of being under the sea, with the skylight creating a small shimmer at the top of the piece. There is a great story here, although it rather defeats me…the diver’s face looks like a carved pumpkin, but might be a skull.
There is a ship in a bottle that morphs into the diver’s helmet and octopus tentacles all over the place. Another nice touch are the goofy three-eyed fish from The Simpsons that also make it into Louis Masai’s coral reef piece from this year’s festival. There is another The Hass piece just off Park Street that I must photograph when I get a chance.
Max ‘syther’ Oughton is no stranger to Upfest, and indeed I wrote a short post covering his work from Upfest 2017. This artist, from East Anglia, is making a niche for himself with animal studies and illustration, so the Upfest programme notes tell us and this piece certainly covers that territory with a seabird entangled in the tentacles of an octopus.
The colour selections which are calming and serene betray the rather brutal scene which is a skilfully executed juxtaposition. Max Oughton has a great eye for the natural world, and it is great to be able to see his work for two years running.
I think that Max was just tidying up after finishing the piece when I took this last picture…a celebratory fag hanging out of his mouth.
I think that this is my favourite Oner piece to date. He has taken a little more time, which is possible in the backwater of this spot, which receives so little traffic since the cycle path along here was closed about six months ago.
His letters are a little more elaborate and he has included a rather dashing octopus character on the right hand side. I think that a piece like this showcases the capabilities of an artist. It is all fine to spray quick burners, because it is fun, but take a little more time and special work emerges. I love the colours and optimism of this burner.
This extraordinary piece by Nomad Clan is just sensational and very probably my favourite from Upfest 2017. I have visited this wall many times, both during its creation and since, but have failed so far to get a clean shot of it withoug something in the way. I will keep trying.
Nomad Clan are a phenomenally talented duo, of CBLOXX and AYLO bosed in Manchester. They tend to work on large murals and have painted some of the largest murals in England.
The subject matter of the piece is captivating, and there is some deliberate reflection between the octopus and the old fisherman. Both are painted with tenderness and delicacy, and they have created a story, a dialogue between these two characters. Very powerful stuff.
I stopped for a chat with the artists on the Friday before Upfest…they had started a bit early, which given the weather over the weekend, was probably a wise decision… and they were happy to take a bit of time out to talk, particularly AYLO who was very smiley and chatty.
I have not seen any of their work in the flesh before, but was really so impressed with this piece. It oozes class and competence and absolutely stands out.
The close ups of the two characters may give you a feel for what I mean, and take a good look at the fishing boat tattoo on the fishenman’s head, brilliant attention to detail.
Anyone who was at Upfest 2016 would have been utterly charmed by the incredible tree frogs by JXC. It was one of my favourite pieces from last year, and I wrote about it here.
This year he was afforded a larger wall, one that Voyder wrote ‘Bristol’ on last time round. Instead of tree frogs, JXC treated us to an extraordinary seascape with a rather intimidating octopus in the foreground and some naval mines in the background.
This was another of the pieces that probably took longer to create than might have been expected, due to the constant rain interruptions over the three days of the festival.
The mouth on the side of the octopus isn’t the octopuss’s beak, rather is it a shark mouth inked onto its side. JXC’s work is heavily inkled with words and drawings that resemble tattoos, creating an interesting effect o the surface texture of the subject.
There is a story going on in this piece which is a little tricky to decypher. The words ‘Just Lie’ appear under the shark but I’m not sure what that refers to. Nice to see a smiley on the bomb – some ironic commentary there?
For a long while now, there have been hoardings outside the Metropolis in Stokes Croft, but this is the first piece I have seen there, since they were erected, worthy of photographing.
I saw the piece being sprayed when I drove past it, but had to return with a camera. What I didn’t know at the time is that it was the elusive Face F1st at work. So now I have seen him, and I know he has a beard, but that is about it.
This time there is no FACE lettering, instead an octopus (something he has sprayed before) and a face emerging from the centre of the piece. It is certainly quite unusual, and the colours give it a rather understated appearance but it is a good piece and a slight extension of Face F1st’s usual format.