2991. M32 Spot (74)

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.

Soap, M32 Spot, Bristol, June 2020
Soap, M32 Spot, Bristol, June 2020

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.

Face 1st, M32 Spot, Bristol, June 2020
Face 1st, M32 Spot, Bristol, June 2020

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.

2975. Brunel Way bridge (32)

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).

Face 1st, Brunel Way, Bristol, May 2020
Face 1st, Brunel Way, Bristol, May 2020

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.

2957. Stapleton Road

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.

Face 1st, Stapleton Road, Bristol, May 2020
Face 1st, Stapleton Road, Bristol, May 2020

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.

2932. Hepburn Road (16)

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.

Face 1st, The Bearpit, Bristol, July 2018
Face 1st, The Bearpit, Bristol, July 2018

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.

2869. Brook Road (2)

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.

Face 1st, Brook Road, Bristol, April 2020
Face 1st, Brook Road, Bristol, April 2020

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.

Soap, Brook Road, Bristol, April 2020
Soap, Brook Road, Bristol, April 2020

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.

2832. Lower Ashley Road (21)

There is a whole shed-load of development going on at this eastern end of Lower Ashley Road, and in fact there are some protestors camping in the three remaining maple trees just behind this hoarding who are fighting to stop the developers from felling them – you can read more about this on the Bristol Tree Forum. For street art photographers, hoardings are usually good news, albeit temporary, but the developments rarely are.

Face 1st, Lower Ashley Road, Bristol, March 2020
Face 1st, Lower Ashley Road, Bristol, March 2020

This hoarding wasn’t up for long before the great and the good got to action and Face 1st was always going to make his mark on this inviting opportunity. This is a classsic Face 1st piece with the hair of the smiling girl spelling out FACE. I would think that he can probably paint these with his eyes closed. Always such a pleasure to see his work.

2823. St Werburghs tunnel (159)

There are an increasing number of topical pieces appearing on the streets at the moment, and if nothing else, street artists are fantastic chroniclers of the social, political and economic landscape. There is plenty of material out there to inspire their work at the moment, although it is unclear whether they will be able to physically paint. I suspect that some will continue.

Face 1st, St Werburghs, Bristol, March 2020
Face 1st, St Werburghs, Bristol, March 2020

This piece by Face 1st in the tunnel perhaps epitomises and encapsulates our fears in graphic form of the terrible Coronavirus. Britain is in shock this morning when all that we hold sacred, our ability and desire to socialise, has been taken away. We are not yet commanded to remain in out homes, but it is only a matter of time. The death rate in the UK is disturbingly high and the next three months or so are goinng to be very testing.

Throughout, this blog will continue come what may…I have so much archive material that I can at last share with you all.

2778. Lawrence Hill roundabout (12)

I am not too sure how old this one from Soap is because I haven’t been to this spot for quite a few months. It looks a bit chipped along the bottom but is otherwise in rather good condition, so I would guess it is from the back end of last year.

Soap, Lawrence Hill roundabout, Bristol, February 2020
Soap, Lawrence Hill roundabout, Bristol, February 2020

This mouthy piece is typically cheerful and bright from an artist who appears to have had something of a renaissance over the past year or so. I like the incorporation of swirly colours around the character and line drawn ones within it too. It was painted alongside Bad Taste who Soap has collaborated with before and which I wrote about on Christmas Day. It just shows that it is worth checking out these spots from time to time.

2772. Moon Street (80)

In one of his favourite spots, Face 1st recently painted this ‘traditional’ Face 1st piece of a girl’s face surrounded by big hair spelling out Face. In this one there is a rather toxic-looking gunge dripping from the letters, but the girl seems to be pretty happy about it.

Face 1st, Moon Street, Bristol, February 2020
Face 1st, Moon Street, Bristol, February 2020

Although this area is being gentrified and several blocks adjacent to Moon Street have been levelled, it still remains one of my favourite places to hunt for street art.

2765. M32 Spot (58)

Finding a piece like this magnificent collaboration from PWA artists Soap and Face 1st gives me such tremendous pleasure and confirms for me that the time I spend finding, photographing and writing about street art is time very well spent. These two are capable of creating some magical images and there is a real sense of fun and mischief about these ones.

Soap, M32 Spot, Bristol, February 2020
Soap, M32 Spot, Bristol, February 2020

First up is a sword–swallowing act from Soap in which his mouth character lends itself to a different take on visualising this dangerous act. There are many things to admire here, such as the garland of flowers and the carefully thought out use of blue tones, I particularly like the swirl patterns in the shading.

Joining the two elements of the collaboration is a lovely splat pattern, but it is difficult to be sure which of these two painted it.

Face 1st, M32 Spot, Bristol, February 2020
Face 1st, M32 Spot, Bristol, February 2020

On the right is one of my favourite Face 1st pieces ever, and that is a very high bar. There is something so joyful about these two giggling girls mischievously spraying each other with paint and there is a balance to it reminiscent of yin and yang. What Face 1st lacks in sharp, crisp lines he more than makes up for in heart and soul. His work speaks to me.

Soap and Face 1st, M32 Spot, Bristol, February 2020
Soap and Face 1st, M32 Spot, Bristol, February 2020

On the one-way top end of Stapleton Road, it would be nice to think that drivers would glance to their right and admire this free art to cheer up their lives, but I bet most wouldn’t even notice it.