This was unquestionably one of the most memorable portraits of Upfest 2016. It is a face with a wonderful expression and crazy hair. The artist of this piece is Xemayo, about whom I know nothing and there wasn’t even a biography in the festival programme.
From his Facebook page I can make out that he comes from Valencia in Spain and his full name is Xemayo Gonzalez Vidal.
It would appear from looking at his feed that much of his street artwork takes on the form of these large portraits, often pulling faces. I love this upfest piece.
There can be few better ways to honour a fellow street artist than to paint an enormous portrait of them, and this is precisely what Ian Phenna did at Upfest 2017. The portrait is of the magnificent Nol, who was himself painting during the festival.
I do not know about Ian Phenna or his work, although his Upfest Biography says that he is a mixed media portrait and figurative artist originally from Liverpool. He has a dramatic approach to portraiture, often with hidden themes…
I really like this piece, and especially like the additional homage to Nol…the inclusion, albeit in greyscale, of one of his little monsters in the bottom right of the portrait. There are stencilled numbers all around the piece, something that Nick Walker likes to do too, but I don’t know the significance of them.
I think the whole thing is called ‘BrizNol’ which I rather like. This is a thoroughly enjoyable piece and one of my favourites from the festival.
Another really high quality piece at this year’s Upfest, this one is by local artist Jody. I think that this piece eclipses his wonderful work from last year, and this wall is really a very special wall.
Fin Dac had the privilege of painting this wall last year and it is fitting that Jody should continue where Fin Dac left off. This was a labout of love for Jody, and long after all the other artists had packed up and left, Jody was still at it, for several more days…maybe even a week or two.
I went back a lot, hoping each time that the piece would be complete, but I think Jody was hit by the changeable weather, and possibly the sheer ambition of the wall. On the upside, I have quite a few ‘in progress’ pictures.
There is so much to love and marvel at in this captivating piece. The beautiful profile portrait, the cut out birds reminiscent of Henri Matisse and the extraordinary pink folds of material in the woman’s hair and neckline. This is a master work.
In looking at the ‘in progress’pictures, it is interesting to see how Jody appeard to work in strips and patches, where other artists might come at a piece in layers. I guess the scale and scaffolding constraints dictate to some degree how a piece will be painted.
Along with Nomad Clan’s piece and one or two others, this really shows off the ‘high end’ of what street artists are capable of doing, and in doing it, bringing so much pleasure to so many people. I love this.
This is a different kind of piece for upfest, by Bristol-based Italian-English illustrator Lisa Rose. In her website biography, she says the following: Inspired by a million things but especially femme experiences and bodies, sexuality, and empowerment. It says it all really. Her website illustrations are very interesting and worth a look.
It is an unusual piece for a street art festival and represents the crossover between design/illustration and street work. Her strong lines and solid fill make this piece appear to be almost like a digital creation. This piece with the third eye is similar to one on her website and I would guess it a theme she explores. I didn’t get a chance to see her at the festival, but will look out for her if she is there in 2018.
I knew where to look first when I emerged from the tube station in Camden Town, and on locating my first spot, I was rewarded with a small parking yard which had been pretty much resprayed since I was here a year ago. Unfortunately the gates were closed, which made photographing the side walls a little tricky, but this end wall, a gateway to an inner yard, was thankfully unobstructed and face on. The piece is of course by Stinkfish, who is also responsible for the most iconic piece in Stokes Croft, Bristol.
Stinkfish specialises in painting yellow portraits from photographs that he takes of people he meets, and adorns them with vibrant patterns of colour and light, creating a magical movement all around the piece. These characteristics make his work easy to identify.
His pieces are always great to look at and seem to ask many questions about who these characters are. I am not sure about the background, which looks like it is by another artist. In my view, the pieces fight for attention instead of complementing one another, so I would suggest that this was not a collaboration, but I am usually wrong about these things.
On a recent trip to Camden Town, I visited a few of the streets I had been to a year previously. This particular hot spot for street art was rather annoyingly obstructed by this hoarding, which rendered any photography pretty useless, along the narrow passage where the best walls are. However, it was an ill wind really, as the hoarding has become the canvass for this fine and rather haunting piece by Irony.
I could tell, the minute I saw this portrait piece, that is was by an established and talented artist, but it wasn’t until I got home and properly looked at the pictures (and started seeing the image appearing on Instagram) that I realised it was by Irony. I am guessing that it is a reasonably new piece, and feel quite lucky to have ‘bumped into it’.
Perhaps better known for his smaller pieces, stencils and wheatpastes, this large blue face by Beastie came as a bit of a surprise to me at Upfest, so much so that I didn’t even know it was by him when I photographed it.
This was a striking piece that stood out and grabbed the attention and would appear to have an environmental theme to it too. It is interesting that this year’s Upfest appeared to have quite a lot of large portraits, many in single shades of one colour – maybe it is a thing or maybe just coincedence.
Looking forward to seeing what direction Beastie takes with his street art as his work is always interesting.