One of the golden rules of enjoying urban architecture and culture is to remember to look up. We spend most of our lives looking at where we are going, or worse, looking at our digital screens, that we forget to look back, look around and look up. If we don’t pause to look and enjoy then we risk the world passing us by, and then, what’s the point of anything?
The recent piece I featured by Gage Graphics on the front elevation of a new development is actually one of three pieces (that I have found) on the building by Ollie Gillard. This one is high up on the balcony of one of the apartments and is really quite magnificent. Painting on brickwork like this can’t be particularly easy, and it might have been better to have rendered this section of wall prior to commissioning the artwork however the end result is outstanding.
The piece features a cockatoo wearing a headdress made, ironically, of feathers, and singing into a sparkling microphone. In the distance a mountain rises high and at the top left the sun shines with some birds silhouetted against it. I don’t know what the story is but I definitely like the piece.
To deliberately misquote a biblical phrase, ‘the Lord taketh away and the the Lord giveth’. The whole area of small businesses and light industrial units in the Upper York Street and Wilder Street area have been knocked down for new developments including housing and student accommodations, depriving street/graffiti artists from some premium walls. The gentrification programme is moving at pace and sweeping all around it aside.
It would appear that the developers of this block, which has been build with alarming speed during the coronavirus pandemic, have offered a small gesture that acknowledges the area’s street art heritage with this incredible mural from Gage Graphics. We know what an accomplished artist Ollie Gillard is and his outstanding murals can be found on private houses, restaurants and businesses all over Bristol. This is another fabulous addition to his portfolio that contributes to the whole Bristol USP thing.
The piece itself is a wonderful tropical paradise scene in which creatures of the forest admire a circus act being performed by a little mouse in the wooded foothills of a small mountain. Ollie Gillard transports us to a different place with this mural and there is so much detail to look at and admire. Well worth a visit, but does it compensate for the loss of the local street art walls, I guess only partially. It will be interesting to see whether this new build gets tagged and bombed, once all the hoardings come down.
The great thing about visiting areas of Bristol one doesn’t normally go to is that you open your eyes to a whole new culture and architectural environment. So when visiting Totterdown to photograph the new Banksy recently, I was exposed to quite a few pieces and murals that I had been aware of but had never seen. One row of houses in particular caught the eye due to the very large murals on their garden-facing walls, which could be viewed from the road below. The row of houses is on St Luke’s Road.
The artist of this mural (along with several others) is Gage Graphics aka Ollie Gillard and who writes graffiti under the name Serif. This is an outstanding mural that shows a section cut through the ground, exposing different rock strata that lead up to the root system of a tree. The tree is bending in an autumn breeze and fits perfectly between two windows. All the while a milky daytime full moon looks on. What a wonderful thing to have on your house, and a fabulous gift for the citizens of the area to enjoy.