With so much amazing work being produced in Cheltenham and around Bristol at the moment, it can be easy to overlook the constant churn of what I would call typical Bristol pieces being added to our walls day in, day out. One of the most prolific of these Bristol artists is Face 1st and this is a superb piece from him down at Turbo Island.
This piece has been on the ‘Island’ for quite a while now and is a cheery delight for anyone driving along the Cheltenham Road into the centre of Bristol. Unfortunately my photography skills are not quite so cheery and this shot is a bit blurred. I am having a few problems with my camera at the moment which I really need to sort out. Anyhow, don’t let the poor quality of photograph detract from the uplifting piece from Face 1st.
One of the constants of the Bristol street/graffiti art scene, the beating heart, has to be the ever-present work of Face 1st. He appears to be tireless, and there is rarely a week goes by without a new piece from this happy-go-lucky artist.
This cheery piece on the M32 cycle path is not dissimilar in style and colour regime to the one he recently painted on a caravan nearby. Of all the artists in Bristol, if Face 1st were to stop painting, I think I might miss home the most.
If you can’t find a wall to paint, then you just have to get creative and find something else. In Bristol there are many people who live in vans and caravans and park up in quiet side streets. For some this is a lifestyle choice, for others it is borne out of necessity. Many occupants are open to having their homes decorated, and these guys got a fabulous makeover from Face 1st.
I understand that Face 1st has fun painting this and got on well with the occupants of the caravan. The piece itself is colourful and happy and in the style of a girl’s face with hair spelling out FACE, which is one of his regular compositions. I like this for so many reasons.
What the world needs more of in these difficult times is great collaborative happy street art like this magnificent recent collaboration from Soap and Face 1st. These PWA (Pirate Wall Art) friends have been painting together for a long while now and their work is so perfectly in tune. They have their own identities, but when they paint together the work is seamless.
On the left is a classic piece of soapiness from Soap with the characteristic mouths spelling out SOAP. The squiggles between the A and the P are superbly done and the arrows just add that touch of graffitiness about it all. A very fine bit of painting from Soap.
On the right Face 1st treats us to one of his charming cheery faces with big hair spelling out FACE. The matching colours with Soap and white highlights on the curves create teriffic read-across between the artists. A lovely collaboration.
In amongst the frenzy of activity in June and July as artists have woken and gone crazy for painting, the steady beating pulse of Bristol graffiti art continues in the form of work from PWA artist Face 1st. Reliable and dependable, Face 1st turns out his face-based pieces that rarely disappoint. His works have become so much a part of the furniture that sometimes we don’t even notice them (when I say we, I don’t mean me of course).
This is a lovely piece in russet tones and present us with FACE hair over a smiling girl’s face. There is something warm and familiar about his work, and something so very Bristol too. This is a modest low-profile piece and I love it.
Something good pretty much always results when these two PWA artists collaborate, which fortunately for us is often, this time under the M32. Soap and Face 1st seem to have a telepathic connection like Pires and Henry (I had to choose Arsenal players, but think of any deadly football partnership and you’ll know what I mean), and their collaborations feel so comfortable and easy if you know what I mean.
I don’t quite get what the story is but there is consistency across the whole collaboration. On the left Soap is the writing of Soap which is filled with a sophisticated array of colours and techniques and is truly a thing of beauty. Soap’s fills just seem to get better and better.
On the right we have a rather unusual Face 1st piece of a girl riding on the back of a cigarette-smoking frog waving a bee on the end of a stick in front. What?!? I must ask him what on earth is going on in this piece next time I see him. Wild, imaginative and wonderful.
A column piece from Face 1st under Brunel Way. Simple, joyful, playful, there is nothing here to dislike. This is the kind of throw up that Face 1st can do in his sleep, but it is not quite as easy as it looks (believe me I have tried to copy his stuff in my garden, and utterly failed every time).
The girl’s face that we have become so accustomed to is topped with a high head of hair, maybe a beehive. The way the light reflects off the chrome hair gives the whole piece a wonderful effect. Some of these smaller pieces by Face 1st get left behind in the archive, but not this one, no not this one.
I took a little tour of Bristol hot spots yesterday and there is a lot of new work to write about and post but I fear I will not get to share it all immdeiately. This piece was from a few days ago and is tucked under a railway bridge on Stapleton Road. It is of course by Face 1st.
This is a nice ‘traditional’ Face 1st piece with a pretty face and the word FACE spelled out in the hair. The colours are bright and the piece cheerful. You have to be quick though at the moment as turnover is very high. Another recent piece by the artist at the M32 roundabout lasted only moments… I missed it.
No retrospective romp through the archives would be complete without a piece from Face 1st, and this one in Hepburn Road from July 2018 is a real beauty. This piece is one of his more ‘traditional’ single face pieces with a hairdo that cryptically spells out FACE.
I had mistakenly thought that this was from The Bearpit, because there is not much to go on, but I am pretty sure it is actually from Hepburn Road. One of the dangers of not posting immediately. Great colours, great shapes, great smile, great work.
It took me a rather long time to find this collaboration from Face 1st and Soap. I knew it was in St Paul’s but it was not in the bit of St Paul’s where I thought it was. I found it on one of my Covid-19 dog walks, where I tend to walk down as many side streets as I possibly can – poor dog, gets dragged all over the place.
Painted just before lock-down, the Face 1st half visits a theme he has been experimenting with lately of a face being inside a face and I think it works very well. He has an amazing talent for conveying the emtion of his faces with such simple features, just a mouth and eyes, this one seems to be having fun.
The Soap side of the collaboration continues the theme of being part above and part below a waterline and the colour of the paints used is commensurate with this difference and is skilfully done (by both artists in fact). Overall this is a lovely collaboration. Due to the very bright conditions, the colours are not quite so well represented in these pictures.