3877. Upfest 2021 75×75 (41)

From my favourite Bristol artist, Andrew Burns Colwill, is this outstanding new mural for Upfest’s 75 walls in 75 days event. Everything about this triptych piece is pretty much perfect. From the wall selection and use of the spaces to the highly political content, let alone the brilliant execution using his soak stain technique.

Andrew Burns Colwill, Luckwell Road, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21,
Andrew Burns Colwill, Luckwell Road, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21,

My interpretation of the three suited figures in a pool represents the drowning of our Government and in particular senior ministers who, let’s face it, haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory over the last few years. On the left could be Sajid Javid, our SoS for health who took over the role from the utterly incompetent and indiscreet Matt Hancock. It doesn’t really matter who it is as they are representative of the Conservative Party political gang who care more about power than they do about the citizens who put them there.

Andrew Burns Colwill, Luckwell Road, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21,
Andrew Burns Colwill, Luckwell Road, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21,

The central panel is more obviously a caricature of our utterly ridiculous Prime Minister who is now completely under the control of his power-hungry wife Carrie Johnson who seems to have more influence over government policy than he does. The pantomime continues, although it is more of a tragedy as our country slips into isolation and irrelevance.

Andrew Burns Colwill, Luckwell Road, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21,
Andrew Burns Colwill, Luckwell Road, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21,

The final panel, with the red budget box, is obviously our beloved (not) chancellor Rishi Sunak who appears to have hoodwinked the entire country into thinking he is our saviour. I don’t feel particularly saved. The bar amongst the cabinet is so low, that anyone with the slightest talent shines like a beacon, but it is all comparative. So the piece certainly portrays a failing government and failing ministers and it is delivered in a tranquil, calm and resigned manner that gives the piece so much power. It is brilliant.

Andrew Burns Colwill, Luckwell Road, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21,
Andrew Burns Colwill, Luckwell Road, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21,

Andrew Burns Colwill is also amazing at creating those tiny little details that add so much to a piece, like this little drip of water oozing from a real crack in the wall. A sensational piece and commentary on our current political state. Bravo!

3622. Stokes Croft

I drove past this about a week ago and pulled in to photograph it. The Merny (Morny) piece had slipped under the radar a bit, and I’m not too sure how long it had been there. No matter though as I am always delighted to see something new from him.

Morny, Stokes Croft, Bristol, April 2021
Morny, Stokes Croft, Bristol, April 2021

This one, along with many of his pieces, is a political piece that is critical of our current administration. Simply put ‘what a sad state of affairs’ more than adequately  presents the utter mess out country is in, not just in its appalling initial response to Covid-19 but also in its disregard for moral decision-making and corruption at the highest levels of government.  The Conservative way seems to be that as long as it makes money it makes sense, no appreciation of the consequences.

The ordinary man, maybe a cyclist or runner, is sitting to contemplate this mess. A wonderful human piece from one of my favourite Bristol artists.

3283. M32 Spot (88)

It has been a very, very long time since I last saw a piece from Object… and at this time of political turmoil I have missed his interjections and commentary defending the less well off and downcast members of our society.

Object..., M32 Spot, Bristol, October 2020
Object…, M32 Spot, Bristol, October 2020

Another rather grotesque imagining of a hand being eaten by hungry mouths… a piece with a lot of pain anguish and rage. The whole scene is rather unpleasant and uncomfortable, but I think that is the point, this is a challenging and political piece. The slogan ‘Eat the Rich’ accompanies th work as in so much of Object…’s art. A provocative and compelling piece.

2243. Upfest 2018 (145)

This is an interesting political piece by Bandito an artist I don’t know anything about but who has recently painted a piece in Bristol that I will have to dig out and post soon.

Bandito, Upfest, Bristol, May 2018
Bandito, Upfest, Bristol, May 2018

The work is a highly unusual one which slams home a message that wars should not be fought over oil. The flags of the USA, UK, Turkey, Israel, France and Iran, would indicate that the tensions lie here. Thought provoking.

2115. The Bearpit (180)

Here we have an artist doing what he does best. The passionate and politically active Object… is a champion of all that we should care about; homelessness, fair distribution of wealth and the environment.

Object..., The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2019
Object…, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2019

This piece in The Bearpit is one of about twenty or so that appeared a week or two back to promote the movement ‘Extinction Rebellion‘. The movement is making three demands of the British government:

  1. The Government must tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens.
  2. The Government must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels.
  3. A national Citizen’s Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.

I have some sympathy with these demands, but worry that will not land well because of the astonishing mess of Brexit.

We have a divided nation, and broadly speaking environmental activism lands very badly with the Brexit narrative, and we have a Government dominated by the hard right whose interests are never shared with safeguarding the environment. Take for example the ex-Secretary of State for the Environment Owen Patterson who described the environmental movement (and indeed scientists and his own civil servants) as ‘the green blob’ – a derogatory term intended to belittle, mock and bully people who care about their environment, but his words chime for those who are comfortable or self-interested and wish to maintain a status quo (safe middle Britain).

I feel an essay coming on, but I have to make a chocolate panattone bread and butter pudding.

1799. St Werburghs tunnel (46)

With his style so unlike anything else in Bristol, it is easy to pick out Object…’s work wherever he places it. This piece in St Werburghs tunnel features a distorted humanoid monster – a thing of nightmares – doing something, although I’m not too sure what. As with all his work Object… has a real sense of physiology and plays with proportions and muscles and limbs – the art of the possible.

Object..., St Werburghs, Bristol, October 2018
Object…, St Werburghs, Bristol, October 2018

Themes in his work often reflect the unfairness in our society and he tirelessly represents the rage felt by many at injustice. He is probably the most politically motivated in Bristol and his agonising plays out in his work. Tortured, compassionate, angry and sad, his work carries with it huge emotional investment. All good.

1770. The Bearpit (162)

The conscience of our city is given a voice or at least a ‘visual voice’ via the prolific and passionate work of activist Object… . Without doubt, Object…’s work is moving, angry and political in equal measure and his ‘tortured’ figures represent pain and suffering of others.

Object...,The Bearpit, Bristol, October 2018
Object…,The Bearpit, Bristol, October 2018

In this piece the figures are in conversation with one or both saying ‘or you could handle it with some compassion‘. I’m not too sure to what this refers, but I think the message could be read on several levels, from the personal to local to national or even global level. We are living through hard times and compassion is taking a real beating. I’m sure these lurches to the right will come to an end, but for the time being we must endure them and push back wherever possible.

1417. The Bearpit (129)

I recently found out, from reading an interview with John D’oh, that he tends to create these single layer political stencils for places like The Bearpit, where their lifespan may at times be only a day or two. His more complex multi-layered work is reserved for walls where longevity is more likely…an utterly understandable position.

John D'oh, The Bearpit, Bristol, February 2018
John D’oh, The Bearpit, Bristol, February 2018

This piece is highly critical of Theresa May and the growing problem of homelessness and rough sleeping that is plaguing towns and cities across the UK. I really like the work he does and the way he uses his art to express political ideas. Much of his artwork tends to encourage ‘embellishment’ from passers by, and this one is no exception. The ‘cock and balls’ motif being put to good use.

Keep it going John D’oh.

1185. Leonard Lane (14)

John d’Oh has been very busy lately on the streets of Bristol, but this is the first time I have seen his work in Leonard Lane. Typical of his work, he takes a strong political line, and in this stencil he celebrates a Corbyn revolution.

John D'Oh, Leonard Lane, Bristol, November 2017
John D’Oh, Leonard Lane, Bristol, November 2017

This is beautifully worked, and of course I particularly like it because of its edge. There are many more pieces by John d’Oh that I have in my archive and I might have to start bunching them together, simply to be able to share them.

980. The Bearpit (86)

Object… has been busy in The Bearpit again, with a flurry of political pieces. This one cleverly uses the existing posters that were pasted to the wall as a colourful and contextual backdrop to his central piece.

Object..., The Bearpit, Bristol, August 2017
Object…, The Bearpit, Bristol, August 2017

This is a really good piece, creative and imaginative, and always with an edge that we expect from Object… . The character is imprisoned in a circle and encouraged with the words ‘push past their walls’.

Object..., The Bearpit, Bristol, August 2017
Object…, The Bearpit, Bristol, August 2017

There is a strong feeling of movement and momentum in this piece and it works really well for me, but it would, wouldn’t it?