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.

2755. St Werburghs tunnel (143)

Yay, let’s hear it for the boys whose recent collaboration in the tunnel is full of happiness, music and soul. Last year, Face 1st and Soap went through a period of not collaborating for whatever reason, but they seem unstoppable just now with several walls that this pair have painted already this year.

Face 1st and Soap, St Werburghs, Bristol, February 2020
Face 1st and Soap, St Werburghs, Bristol, February 2020

On the left of the piece is a nice piece of writing from Face 1st with a beautifully worked horizontal gradation through his lettering and a decent 3D effect using a vanishing point underneath. On the right is a cheerful mariachi singer surrounding the whole collaboration with happy notes from his guitar. I’m not too sure if Soap has ever actually played a guitar, but the left hand is gripping the neck in a rather awkward upside-down position. Overall a wonderful and joyful piece.

2744. M32 roundabout J3 (195)

There is no doubt about it, the ever-prolific Face 1st is absolutely on fire at the moment, being very creative with his ideas, collaborating and doing his usual stuff. I don’t know how he has the energy and can only guess that he has access to a cheap supply of paint.

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

Hidden away in one of the M32 tunnels is this absolute gem, understated as is so often the way with this artist, which is a kind of fusion of a rebirth concept and a Cadbury’s cream egg – or at least that is how I see it. It is this quirky kind of idea that keeps Face 1st right up there with the top artists in Bristol. I still have to hunt down several recent pieces he has done… I just can’t keep up.