Kosc really is an extraordinary talent, especially as, under a different name, he is a graffiti writer with an utterly different style. Pieces like this are serious business for Kosc who is fine-tuning his skills for these photorealistic portraits and writing.
Picton Lane is a wonderful Bristol backstreet in Montpelier that plays host to some classic pieces, of which this is one. I remember seeing it as a work in progress a long time ago, but didn’t get back until quite recently to enjoy it as a finished piece. I am full of admiration for the piece. It is so good, and I am not sure that I would be doing it justice by waffling on like I usually do, and I am doing right now.
Kosc has reached a new level this year, and it is difficult to know how much higher he can take it. I wonder whether he should do a street art festival circuit to get better known outside Bristol, but that takes a lot of commitment. This black and white face is just awesome.
The tiniest tinge of colour is provided by the magpie’s tail, but it is enough to lift the whole piece just that little bit more. It is Kosc’s attention to detail that makes this piece sing. An absolute beauty.
The Nomadic Community Garden just off Brick Lane is an extraordinary place. A labyrinth of sheds and raised beds made from old railway sleepers. It is kind of untidy but un an organised way. At the far end of the garden is a large wall and it is covered in ‘high-end’ pieces from established artists.
I think I read somewhere that the garden was being cleared out. I’m not sure if this is the case, but it would be a pity. Cities need these eccentric spaces, without them we are all impoverished.
This fabulous piece is by Irony, whose work really is unparalleled. The mural was painted as part of the Meeting of Styles street art festival in May 2018. So, so cool.
When they (whoever they are) created Irony, they certainly bundled up an enormous amount of talent into one person. This magnificent portrait piece was painted by Irony for the Cheltenham Paint Festival in 2018, but luckily for everyone who lives in or visits the town, it is still there for all to see.
I had seen this piece many times on Instagram, but to see it ‘in the flesh; is another experience altogether. It is breathtaking. I don’t know the backstory to this piece, if even there is one, but it really is special.
It is a pity that we don’t get to see much of Irony’s work here in the West of England, but I guess we have Upfest and the Cheltenham Paint Festival to lure him out of London from time to time.
I have to say that this is a slightly baffling piece by Gustavo Nenao in Leake Street tunnel. It is a photorealistic portrait of Nelson Mandela wearing a not very photorealistic party hat with Happy Birthday written on it. While the subject matter is certainly curious, the execution is perfect, especially as the portrait is in black and whiite, with so many shades in it.
I am guessing it was done as a birthday tribute to the great man himself, but can’t be sure, and hey – I was in London which is way outside my normal stamping ground and I feel no pressure to know anything about anything on the street scene there. I come as a tourist, just like everyone else. A querky and excellent piece.
Well this is an absolute stunner, make no mistake. A few days in the making, and the scaffolding hiding the true genius of both the piece and subject, this must be one of the highlights of Upfest 2018.
It is a strange thing as a writer and observer of street art, that I am really only familiar with Bristol street artists or artists who frequently visit Bristol. I really don’t know very much about the world circuit of famous artists that travel the globe for festivals and commissions – this leaves me looking a bit daft when writing up pieces like this one because I simply don’t know the artist Arcy at all.
One thing is for sure though I will certainly be looking out for his stuff on the Interweb from now on, as this is such an outstanding work by a truly gifted artist. His website is well worth a look, and his biography is here. Also check out his gallery of walls…this guy is good.
Of course, the picture is of one of the greatest and most influential people of our time, Stephen Hawking, who sadly died in March this year aged 76. I think that this piece really captures the spirit of Stephen Hawking brilliantly, the bright and slightly cheeky personality. This is photorealistic art at its best. Bravo!
This is an outstanding large mural by Sicilian duo Rosk and Loste and one of the finest of the larger pieces at this year’s festival. Unfortunately I am unable to tell you anything more about the artists, because I can’t find anything about them on the Interweb.
This massive wall is slightly set apart from the main concentration of Upfest artwork, and probably receives fewer visitors during the festival weekend which is highly unfortunate, because this piece is really impressive.
I didn’t actually get to see it until a few weeks after Upfest, because it is in a part of town I rarely visit and I had to wait until I was passing by to get these pictures. The photorealistic style is so impressive as is the scale. Worth the journey.
This is a magnificent new wall for Upfest 2018, just off East Street and pretty much perfect for large ‘permanent’ pieces by some well known artists. First up is this magnificent portrait by Koeone.
I am not sure I have come across the artist before, which is a bit of a surprise because he lives and works in North Devon, not a million miles from Bristol. This is typical of his work which features greyscale photorealistic portraits of women with pink and blue lettering and icons on the top of the head.
The final product is really classy and all the better coming from a self-taught artist. Koeone shares this wall with Nol, Hull Graffiti, and Voyder amongst others. Real high quality stuff. Definitely worth a visit.
One of the great difficulties of writing posts from Upfest is that so many of the artists are new to me and it is difficult to comment on anything other than first impressions and a little bit about the artist. Often, as in this case, the piece is so good that my short ramblings don’t really do it any justice at all.
Akse started as a graffiti artist back in 1992 in ther suburbs of Paris. He now lives in Manchester and is known for his photorealistic portraits. This incredible portrait of Frida Kahlo is one of the most memorable of this year’s festival and mirrors the great piece from Alexander Tadlock last year. As a subject, Frida Kahlo seems to hold interest for artists and I look forward to many more portraits of her in the future.
There were several highly memorable pieces at Upfest this year, and this photorealistic colour negative by Takerone was in my view one of the best. Takerone, who comes from Hungary, tries to make his art photo real, but makes an effort to retain a natural look.
If, like me, you are wondering what the positive image looks like, then definitely take a look at Takerone’s Facebook page which has a brilliant film clip with positive and negative versions of his work side by side. Just a great idea and incredible execution. I have tried to cut an image from his video below: