4461. Upfest 2022 (3)

This year, Upfest is in two parts. The first part, which has been running for about three weeks now, has been to paint as many of the feature semi-permanent walls as possible before the festival weekend (May 28-29). The second part will be the remaining 350 or so artists painting on boards ‘live’ at various venues. This piece from My Dog Sighs falls into the former category.

My Dog Sighs, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022
My Dog Sighs, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022

There are positives and negatives to this new approach (change is never easy). On the upside, there will be plenty of completed new works for visitors to enjoy, without the eyesore of scaffolding on the other hand, that wonderful interaction with some of the greatest artists on the circuit is lost. It can feel a little bit like ‘rent an artist’, without the opportunity to watch them at work. On balance I can see that it makes sense, and as a resident of Bristol I have been able to meet a lot of artists over the last week or two.

My Dog Sighs, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022
My Dog Sighs, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022

Unfortunately I missed My Dog Sighs this time, which is a pity. I think he was in and out very quickly. Such are the demands on some of the bigger names during festival season. This piece is one of his pigeon pieces, similar to the one he painted for the Cheltenham festival last year. The characters and colours are magnificent, and his work so totally on point. It might have been nice to see another one of his eyes for this festival, but I might just be being picky.

My Dog Sighs, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022
My Dog Sighs, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022

Pigeons are something of a favourite theme for street artists, and I guess that perhaps there is something unconscious going on, in that these artists being on the streets probably see a great many of these urban birds. A fine addition to the Upfest 22 collection.

3776. Upfest 2021 75×75 (8)

What an absolute beauty from Irony. I want this post to be about the outstanding art and not the difficult light conditions, so I will get my apology in early. The sun was bright and behind the wall, so the artwork is a little on the dark side. This wall needs to be photographed on a dull day probably to get the full weight and beauty of the piece.

Irony, Greville Street, Bristol, June 2021, Upfest 21
Irony, Greville Street, Bristol, June 2021, Upfest 21

Irony is known for his incredibly detailed high-end murals and has appeared at many festivals around the UK, but he also paints walls all over London and he is far from a ‘pop star’ celebrity, preferring to keep his anonymity as far as that is possible. He is a modest talent.

Irony, Greville Street, Bristol, June 2021, Upfest 21
Irony, Greville Street, Bristol, June 2021, Upfest 21

These giant rooftop pigeons, painted on the rear wall of The Hen and Chicken, are close to perfect. Their fluffed up ruffles so accurately portrayed and their general demeanour is so life-like. Irony has gifted Bristol yet another classic piece. But one that you have to look out for as it could easily be missed.

Irony, Greville Street, Bristol, June 2021, Upfest 21
Irony, Greville Street, Bristol, June 2021, Upfest 21

Upfest has definitely triumphed this year with its 75×75 event, and this is only the eighth one I have posted… so much more to come.

3221. Cheltenham 2020 (10)

No street art festival in the south of England is complete without something, and often several somethings from My Dog Sighs. The artist seems to be particularly fond of the Cheltenham Paint Festival and this year’s main piece was no disappointment.

My Dog Sighs, Paint Festival 2020, Cheltenham, September 2020
My Dog Sighs, Paint Festival 2020, Cheltenham, September 2020

This is a superb take on urban pigeons in a style that My Dog Sighs has made his own. These clusters of pigeons, identifiable by their necks and iridescent purple and green breasts have faces as varied as their real life counterparts and have a sort of bewildered indifference about them.

My Dog Sighs, Paint Festival 2020, Cheltenham, September 2020
My Dog Sighs, Paint Festival 2020, Cheltenham, September 2020

I very much like the way the beaks are attached to the faces with string and the human faces, almost as if these are people in pigeon costumes, but that would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it?

My Dog Sighs, Paint Festival 2020, Cheltenham, September 2020
My Dog Sighs, Paint Festival 2020, Cheltenham, September 2020

This was one of my favourite pieces at the Festival this year, and a little different from some of the ‘big-ticket’ pieces he has done in previous years. I feel a My Dog Sighs gallery coming on soon.

2851. Star and Garter (4)

Strictly speaking, this is not the Star and Garter but the building opposite it, but it is in the general area. This wonderful collaboration was completed shortly before the lock down and is between painting partners Sled One and Ments.

Sled One, Star and Garter, Bristol, March 2020
Sled One, Star and Garter, Bristol, March 2020

On the left is a beautifully sprayed pigeon in a style that you would instantly associate with Sled One. The bread thing going on? I’m not sure but it could be a pun on pigeon toast instead of pigeon post, but it might be something else altogether.

Sled One, Star and Garter, Bristol, March 2020
Sled One, Star and Garter, Bristol, March 2020

Sled One pieces are often quite mysterious and although there is pretty much always a story going on, understanding it can be tricky. The fabulous colours used and his technique of clever shading to create a 3D effect are of the highest quality in this piece.

Ments, Star and Garter, Bristol, March 2020
Ments, Star and Garter, Bristol, March 2020

Ments, whose work has always had an organic flavour to it, has been experimenting of late with a range of forms and textures, including spheres and metallic objects. This is a really unusual abstract piecem that looks slightly unfinished in the top left hand corner. I will be interested to watch where this new directtion for Ments will take us.

2610. Stokes Croft

Oh what a beauty… a little piece of heaven just dropped onto the wall beneath Banksy’s Mild Mild West, and it is an absolute humdinger by Hazard. Painted only last week, Hazard has smashed it out of the park (to use a modern phrase – my kids would be laughing if they read this, but not much chance of that ever happening).

Hazard, Stokes Croft, Bristol, November 2019
Hazard, Stokes Croft, Bristol, November 2019

I love Hazard’s work, and it is great to see that she is capable of so much more than her trademark portraits. This piece is so good in my view that I actually think it is my favourite of hers… ever. She has captured the colours and proportions of the pigeon perfectly and has somehow created an irridescence on the bird’s breast with greens, whites, yellows and purples – what a job eh? And.., the flowers, flipping heck, the flowers!

I think I might be able to call myself a pigeon fancier, at least this pigeon.

I believe that there is some explanation on the fence in front of this piece, but it wasn’t there when I took these pictures, so I can’t tell you what it says.

Happy days.

1934. Shoreditch, London (14)

A magnificent celebration of the written word by Nomad Clan, depicting a letter and a pigeon, both methods of carrying written messages, to align with the theme of this large wall in Shoreditch on ‘connectivity’.

Nomad Clan, Shoreditch, London, November 2018
Nomad Clan, Shoreditch, London, November 2018

I am a huge fan of this talented duo, who have visited Bristol for Upfest in each of the last two years. This is a masterful work with many elements to focus on, but it is the feathers on the right hand side of the piece that I find most appealing…they have such a lightness about them.

Nomad Clan, Shoreditch, London, November 2018
Nomad Clan, Shoreditch, London, November 2018

Nomad Clan are known for their big walls and this one is big. Their concepts and ideas are so beautifully illustrated with a softness of tone that many artists appear to struggle with. I was very happy to find this piece.

1360. Newfoundland Street (1)

I’m not quite sure how this spot has passed me by until a couple of weeks ago. On the site where my old garage used to be – the place where I got my car MOTd – there is now a large development under construction. I believe that an hotel is being built, although I’m mystified as to why they have chosen to locate one here, it is not exactly a prime site.

Aspire, Newfoundland Street, Bristol, March 2018
Aspire, Newfoundland Street, Bristol, March 2018

There are several Bristol artists featured on this hoarding and the first of these I am witing about is Aspire. His work is always a real treat to find, especially as he now lives in London, and seeing new work by him in Bristol is a rarity. His depiction of birds is in the same category as ATM and Louis Masai and is always an eyebrow-raiser in these urban locations.

Aspire, Newfoundland Street, Bristol, March 2018
Aspire, Newfoundland Street, Bristol, March 2018

In this piece Aspire has painted four pigeons, although these are so beautiful I’d prefer to call them rock doves. In the centre of the picture is, I think, a partridge. I’m not sure of the significance of this…maybe there isn’t any, but it is an unusual assembly of species. Aspire’s work is always brilliant and this piece simply confirms that.