2022. Stokes Croft

Something a bit different today. Where Stokes Croft and City Road meet, there are some poster frames on a wall, which I think have been installed by the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft (PRSC). The posters here could easily be mistaken for the random advertising we are subjected to on a daily basis and which we tend to ignore and filter out as white noise. But take a slightly closer look and you’ll see something quite different.

Unknown artist, Stokes Croft, Bristol, January 2019
Unknown artist, Stokes Croft, Bristol, January 2019

I don’t know who the artist(s) is/are that put these posters together, but I thoroughly enjoy seeing them when I walk past. Often with some political undertone the wry humour shines through. The first is of a spoof Evening Standard (check the spelling) billboard, stating that ‘things can only get bitter’ a direct reference to the current Brexit crisis that continues to divide the country.

Unknown artist, Stokes Croft, Bristol, January 2019
Unknown artist, Stokes Croft, Bristol, January 2019

The next poster shows a portrait of David Cameron with paper peeling off where his face is to reveal large corporate office blocks (banks?) behind – surely they are not suggesting the ex PM was driven by capitalist ideology..?

Unknown artist, Stokes Croft, Bristol, January 2019
Unknown artist, Stokes Croft, Bristol, January 2019

The third poster is a commentary on the ‘social media brain drain’ with a character, loosely based on Mickey Mouse encouraging people to look up from their phones. I wonder how many people look up and read this poster…not many I would guess.

All of these posters are provocative and humorous and I’ll keep looking out for more. Perhaps I’ll get lucky and find out who is behind them too.

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2010. East Village, New York (3)

Have a beautiful day! Wandering around East Village early in the morning before the rest of the family got up pretty much guaranteed that I would have a beautiful day, and that was before we’d even thought about sightseeing. Finding wheatpastes by Phoebe New York simply added to my state of happiness.

Phoebe New York, East Village, New York, October 2017
Phoebe New York, East Village, New York, October 2017

It is difficult to have regrets when you manage to see so much street art, but I know that there was a whole bunch more that I missed. Perhaps we’ll just have to go back again some day. Some of the Phoebe New York paste ups were really faded and looked rather less sophisticated than her more recent work, so I am guessing that some were already quite old.

Phoebe New York, East Village, New York, October 2017
Phoebe New York, East Village, New York, October 2017

Her modus operandi seems to be relatively straightforward…a PNY head stuck onto a cut-out of a model from a magazine and a message of some sort. It is a great idea, but the equally clever bit is in finding a great place to paste the piece up. Various doorways seemed to be favourite, although competition for space can be ferocious at times.

Phoebe New York, East Village, New York, October 2017
Phoebe New York, East Village, New York, October 2017

The first time I came across Phoebe New York was at Upfest 2016, but I have a feeling that she might not have travelled all the way over to Bristol but could have had an accomplice who pasted her pieces up…only a hunch. It matters not, I love her work to pieces.

1971. Shoreditch, London (23)

I thoroughly enjoy acquainting myself with the work of artists new to me, and becoming familiar with and knowledgable about their work. Of course, it takes time to do this, but that is what I like spending time doing.

Sten and Oli, Shoreditch, London, November 2018
Sten and Oli, Shoreditch, London, November 2018

Sten and Oli came into my consciousness during my visit to Shoreditch last November. In some small areas, it became difficult not to find some of their charming creations, mostly pasted at knee height, and all little characters of varying kinds.

Sten and Oli, Shoreditch, London, November 2018
Sten and Oli, Shoreditch, London, November 2018

These three little critters seem to come from the family of long-eared creations – most endearing, but also with a bit of a dark side to their personas. They remind me a little bit of the gremlins in the movie who could switch from cute to bad boys in an instant on contact with water.

Sten and Oli, Shoreditch, London, November 2018
Sten and Oli, Shoreditch, London, November 2018

I surely love these wheatpastes, they have real class and a collectability about them. I managed to bag a few on my trip, but know there are many more out there to find. Of course, what really needs to happen is for Sten and Oli to make a trip down to Bristol… always welcome here.

1956. Upfest 2018 (120)

With this wheatpaste we enter the complicated world of large corporates ripping off the work of street artists to use as a backdrop for marketing their goods without acknowledgement or payment to the artists. This is a long-standing and difficult issue and one that is becoming more of a conflict zone as street art becomes more and more popular. This article on the BBC website explains it really well.

Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

Face the Strange and many other artists ran a campaign highlighting a particularly high-profile marketing strategy by clothing company BooHoo after they had featured work by Bristol’s own SPZero76 and Kid Crayon amongst others on some London walls without bothering to identify or contact the artists. It is clear from this paste up that this kind of corporate behaviour is unpopular and that payments/acknowledgment should be made to the artists.

This is a minefield if you venture into it too far, so I tend to keep to the periphery of the discussion, for example it has the potential to bring legal protection of potentially illegal activity and how do we square that one? I just wish people would treat others with respect and decency, I think that is all most people are expecting.

1937. Shoreditch, London (17)

My fondest discovery from my November trip to Shoreditch was dozens of these unusual and fabulous wheatpastes by Sten and Oli. There were so many, that they will keep me busy for some time to come. These paste ups were the first three I found by this talented partnership.

A monkey skeleton with an Idiot crown…

Sten and Oli, Shoreditch, London, November 2018
Sten and Oli, Shoreditch, London, November 2018

A rather sad-looking character mask positioned over a faint portrait…

Sten and Oli, Shoreditch, London, November 2018
Sten and Oli, Shoreditch, London, November 2018

A curious rabbit kind of thing with button eyes…

Sten and Oli, Shoreditch, London, November 2018
Sten and Oli, Shoreditch, London, November 2018

All three pieces are full of imagination and curiosity. Positioned quite low down on walls, these beautiful wheatpastes are missed by many going about their busy lives. Their loss. Regulars will know that I am a sucker for wheatpastes, and ones such as these tick all my boxes.

1911. Upfest 2018 (107)

This is the second Mini Gabi wheatpaste I have posted from Upfest 2018 which this time features our heroine making a strong and contemporary statement ‘girls’ rights to feel safe!!’

Mini Gabi, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Mini Gabi, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

Before the festival I had never heard of Mini Gabi but strangely enough on my trip to Shoreditch in November I saw several of her paste ups, which felt really good. I’ll be posting them in due course. I’m rather liking this little character who has real attitude (some similarities to Phoebe New York), and regular readers will know I am very ford of wheatpastes.

1907. Upfest 2018 (103)

This is the third of D7606’s 10 celebratory balloons that he pasted up around the Upfest site to celebrate the 10 years that the festival has been running.

D7606, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
D7606, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

In this one, which completely upstages the Tesco poster on which it is pasted, we are presented with an image of Frida Kahlo – a popular figure for street artists.

D7606, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
D7606, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

I have more of these balloons, but am not quite sure if I collected all ten of them – we’ll have to wait and see when I get to the end of my Upfest 2018 posts.