3830. Upfest 2021 75×75 (24)

There is no doubt about it – what we have lost in quantity by the change in format of Upfest 2021, we have certainly gained in quality. The 75 walls in 75 days initiative has been a massive success and each new wall brings with it extraordinary talent. This outstanding wall is by Pikto and really sets a high bar for this year’s productions.

Pikto, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21
Pikto, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21

It is the composition and colours that initially draw the eye, but there is something about the catapult boy’s expression that tells a story here of mischief and satisfaction. Photorealistic pieces like this one have improved so much in recent years that we have become rather blazé, and it is not until you stop and study them that you see the quality and the detail.

Pikto, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21
Pikto, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21

This particular wall has played host to some masterpieces recently and this one carries on that fine tradition. I took these pictures on a sunny day, and I rather like the way that the shadow cast by a tree to the left is commensurate with the shadow cast by the boy’s cheek on his face. Awesome is an over used word, but I will use it here. This piece from Pikto is awesome.

Pikto, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
Pikto, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016

2845. Camden Town, London

Digging deeper into the archives. I took this picture in November 2017 in Camden Town, a full year and five months after it was painted by JXC. Frankly it is probably as good a photorealistic piece you are going to find anywhere, anytime. Why didn’t I post it before? I baffle even myself.

JXC, Camden Town, London, November 2017
JXC, Camden Town, London, November 2017

The picture may feel familiar and that is because it Chunk from the film The Goonies although with the addition of a tattoo on his stomach of JXC. I met the artist at the Cheltenham Paint festival last year, and he is such an incredibly nice guy and so modest with it.

JXC, Camden Town, London, November 2017
JXC, Camden Town, London, November 2017

It can be difficult to process that this piece has been painted with spray paint, and the sharpness of the patterns on the shirt are simply extraordinary. Similarly the out of focus background adds to the apparent authenticity of the piece. A small miracle.

2454. Cheltenham 2019 (2)

How can this not be an enlarged photograph? Sam Art is surely playing with our eyes and deceiving us. This incredible piece was one of the first I saw at the festival and was in place early on the Friday when all the walls around were yet to be painted. I believe that he painted it off-site before installing it in Cheltenham North Place car park.

Sam Art, Paint festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019
Sam Art, Paint festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019

The theme for the festival was literature or books to celebrate the 70th year of the Cheltenham Literature Festival and this portrait of J.K. Rowling could hardly be more fitting.

Sam Art, Paint festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019
Sam Art, Paint festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019

It is way beyond my comprehension how artists produce photorealistic art like this so I prefer not to understand it but to wallow in its glory. An extraordinary piece from Sam Art.

753. Upfest 2016 (115)

I saw this magnificent piece at a couple of different stages in its genesis and what a masterpiece it turned in to. It is by Pikto, an artist who has been working on street art and graffiti art for some ten years. He has created pieces in London and all over the UK, in Poland and Denmark.

Pikto, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
Pikto, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016

This is really eye-catching and different, combining a photorealist technique with a rather surreal image. I love this piece, it is one of the outstanding images of Upfest 2016 in my view.

Pikto, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
Pikto, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
Pikto, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
Pikto, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016