3636. Moon Street (88)

Here he is again, the beating heart, the drum-beat of Bristol graffiti art reassuring us that all’s well. Face 1st has painted this doorway in Moon Street many times in the past, but his visits to this holy place for graffiti, along with visits of other artists, have declined in frequency since the area started undergoing some major gentrification. Soon Moon Street and the nearby hotspots for street art and graffiti will be mere memories, embedded in photographic archives and digital spaces. The Bristol scene will continue to thrive though, I am sure, just in different places.

Face 1st, Moon Street, Bristol, April 2021
Face 1st, Moon Street, Bristol, April 2021

This piece is similar to one that Face 1st painter on the M32 roundabout a couple of weeks back, with a lot of pink bubblegum kind of stuff going on with the character’s hair. I think that Face 1st must have had a job lot of pink and needed to use it up. Always good and always present. Fun from this PWA perennial.

Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, April 2021
Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, April 2021

3616. Cumberland Basin

Here we have a classic Face 1st piece. A wall tucked away from general view and a chuckling girl’s face splashed on it. It is pieces like this, dotted all over the city that add to the overall fabric of Bristol. Sub-consciously, many thousands of people in Bristol will have seen one of these faces, they might not have registered them, but they will have seen them, and they will process them simply as being part of the furniture of the city.

Face 1st, Cumberland Basin, Bristol, April 2021
Face 1st, Cumberland Basin, Bristol, April 2021

Somehow, Face 1st injects a sense of fun and mischief into his work that comes across so well. These cheeky girls probably play slightly into the hands of subversive minds (it is graffiti after all), but are entirely accessible for all to enjoy and feel free. This one is a particularly lovely ecxample.

3585. Greenbank (1)

I don’t mind admitting that it took me a long time to find this hoarding. Variously known as the cycle path or Greenbank or the Bristol to Bath cycle path, I was just too proud to ask anyone where it was and in the end found it using Google Maps – where would we be without such miracles of the modern world? This hoarding on the periphery of a huge development is about 100m long, and it has recently become an important, albeit temporary, graffiti spot.

Face 1st, Greenbank, Bristol, March 2021
Face 1st, Greenbank, Bristol, March 2021

It was nice to be greeted with this firm favourite of mine, Face 1st along with so many other familiar artists… my archive for March overfloweth! This is a standard Face 1st design with a pretty girl’s face and hair constructed with the letters FACE. I like the addition of the gold earring and the little blue and pink accents by the eye. Lots more from this wall to come.

3522. M32 roundabout J3 (285)

Well it looks very much to me like Nightwayss has joined the PWA crew, which is very exciting indeed if it is in fact the case. Here he is sandwiched between Soap and Face 1st, adopting the shared colour scheme in a fine collaboration on the :32 Roundabout.

Soap, M32 roundabout, Bristol, February 2021
Soap, M32 roundabout, Bristol, February 2021

On the left of the trio is a piece from Soap using the green and pink base colours shared by all three artists. Spelling out his name, Soap has incorporated some gems into the letters, something he recently did in another piece at the M32 Spot. I like it when artists pick up a new theme and run with it for a while.

Nightwayss, M32 roundabout, Bristol, February 2021
Nightwayss, M32 roundabout, Bristol, February 2021

Another recurring theme that we see from Nightwayss is a good old cassette player/radio adorned with a couple of monkeys. Great to see the PWA label.

Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, February 2021
Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, February 2021

To the right is the third element of the collaboration and the ever-cheerful work from Face 1st. This giggling girl looks to have a fairly gloopy toxic head of hair, which is actually beautifully filled by Face 1st. It is impossible not to like these pieces and the wonderful crew that is Pirate Wall Art.

3511. M32 Cycle path (111)

These boys have been really enjoying themselves this Winter. Barely a week passes without a new collaboration – I genuinely don’t know how they afford the paint, but this passion conquers all obstacles. Face 1st and Soap have been painting together for longer than I have been writing this blog, which is about six years, and have developed an almost telepathic partnership that comes across in their collaborations.

Face, M32 cycle path Bristol, February 2021
Face, M32 cycle path Bristol, February 2021

They have selected a pink and yellow combination for this wall – not a pairing that I would naturally choose, but with the modest use of the yellow for highlights it works really well. Of course from Face 1st we have a smiling girl with big hair spelling FACE and liberally sprinkled with little hearts. Wass this a Valentine’s Day piece?

Soap, M32 cycle path Bristol, February 2021
Soap, M32 cycle path Bristol, February 2021

Soap, sticking to the colour brief has spelled out his name, but for the first time in a long time hasn’t incorporated his toothy motif other than by way of his tag at the bottom of the letter ‘O’. This is a lovely collaboration from a couple of artists really enjoying themselves. Keeping us all sane in these insane times.

3504. M32 Spot (107)

A really unusual piece from Soap and the third element of a collaborative wall which included Ryder and Conrico. An all black and silver/chrome design from Soap is not what I’d expect to see at all as he usually bathes his work in bright and cheerful colours.

Soap, M32 Spot, Bristol, February 2021
Soap, M32 Spot, Bristol, February 2021

The basic style is there from Soap with gaping mouths, and he has added a geological feel to it with a rocky appearance and gems embedded within the rock, ripe for mining. A curious piece and one that is at odds with Conrico’s and Ryder’s to the left.

3467. M32 Cycle path (106)

It is those PWA boys again working their magic, this time along the M32 cycle path. Always happy and always brightening up our lives, and let me tell you our lives need brightening up these days.

Soap, M32 Cycle path, Bristol, January 2021
Soap, M32 Cycle path, Bristol, January 2021

Soap and Face 1st tend collaborate by painting their separate pieces joined by a colour palette and some decorative features. This time thy have gone for pinks and purples and Soap, spells out SOAP with some lovely fills and a rather fetching bone across the A.

Face 1st, M32 Cycle path, Bristol, January 2021
Face 1st, M32 Cycle path, Bristol, January 2021

Face 1st brings us a laughing girl with FACE for hair, and carries across the same colours and some similar fills. This is yet another great collaboration from this pair.

3440. Frome side (7)

There are some pieces that will have very limited audiences, and this is one of them. Soap has painted one of his trademark smiley mouth-skull pieces on the back of a pillar under the M32 overlooking the River Frome. The only way of getting to see it is by dropping down under the motorway and walking along the reinforced bank of the River Frome. It can’t even be seen from the overlooking M32 Spot.

Soap, Frome side, Bristol, December 2020
Soap, Frome side, Bristol, December 2020

One might ask why paint something that so few people will see, but that might be missing the point a bit about the motivations behind why graffiti and street artists do what they do. It tends to be for the love of doing it. This is a particularly nice example of his mouthy face, with a lovely yellow background and sharp lines with some nice fills. The white highlights work really well to give it that 3D lift. A great column piece.

3436. M32 Spot (101)

The most common phrase I have used when writing about the work of Face 1st is “I will never tire of the work of Face 1st” and that phrase is as true now as it ever has been. Big or small, throw up or intricate piece, it just doesn’t matter, his art chimes for me, and he and those like him, are the engine room of Bristol graffiti art.

Face 1st, M32 Spot, Bristol, January 2021
Face 1st, M32 Spot, Bristol, January 2021

The new(ish) ramps at the M32 Spot are proving to be quite a fertile ‘canvass’ for our artists and Face 1st has painted this back board with one of his characteristic winking girls with hair made up of FACE. I love everything about this. There is an element of Marine Boy anime in those eyes.

in writing that last sentence I got distracted by Marine Boy. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a trip down memory Lane with typing Marine Boy into YouTube. Enjoy.

3424. M32 roundabout J3 (275)

This is a classic example of Face 1st doing what Face 1st does best and that is spraying an enormous face in a tunnel that is near impossible to photograph. I had toyed with the idea of not posting this piece, but that would be admitting defeat.

Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, January 2021
Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, January 2021

Face 1st seems to favour the M32 roundabout tunnels and it is rare for one of his pieces not to be present in one of the four tunnels 24/7/365. This piece is a trademark one from the artist with a happy girls face and hair composed of  the letters FACE. Face 1st and his PWA crew mate Soap typify the vibrancy and energy of the Bristol street art scene.