3980. Upfest 2021 75×75 (68)

You may recall that earlier on this year, at the start of the Upfest 75 walls in 75 days event, several beautiful new pieces were vandalised in one night. This piece from Jody was one of the pieces. I have been holding out for a long time hoping that Jody would come back and repair the damage, but so far no dice. So my impatience has got the better of me and I am sharing the piece on Natural Adventures in its vandalised state.

Jody, Raleigh Road, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21
Jody, Raleigh Road, Bristol, August 2021, Upfest 21

I took the feature picture only a day or two after it had been completed by Jody. Pictures of the clean piece are a bit of a rarity, and consequently haven’t been shared much on social media. Jody is a well known Bristol artist who is an old friend of Upfest, creating some amazing walls over the years. This Samurai is a real beauty and an eye-catching piece, but I can’t help getting angry every time I see it because of the writing and the smear on the nose. Some would say that it’s a jungle out there. I would say that there are some idiots out there.

Even with the damage to it, this piece is utterly outstanding – and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Jody will repair it one day.

3940. Upfest 2021 75×75 (61)

There is an interesting crossover with this piece from Soker in so much as it is an Upfest 75×75 piece from a Bristol graffiti writer who produces this kind of thing regularly all around the city to this high standard, without being ‘special’ event pieces. I’m not sure if I articulated that very well, but perhaps what I mean is that we are spoilt in Bristol with having so many outstanding writers like Soker.

Soker, Raleigh Road, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21
Soker, Raleigh Road, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 21

This is a lovely clean and colourful design from Soker, spelling SOKEM. There are two or three colour/fill themes going on through the letters and a central vanishing point for the 3D shading. This is what great graffiti writing looks like.

3915. Upfest 2021 75×75 (54)

You can always expect the unexpected from Diff, and this imaginative piece for Upfest’s 75 walls in 75 days summer event, is definitely on the creative end of the spectrum of amazing pieces we have witnessed over the last few months. The Tobacco Factory is always a central venue for Upfest, and this piece is set behind one of the gates at the side entrance alongside the car parking bays.

Diff, Raleigh Road, Bristol August 2021, Upfest 21
Diff, Raleigh Road, Bristol August 2021, Upfest 21

Diff has cleverly painted that most iconic of items, namely Scrabble letters, and stacked them to spell out RACISM.  The piece, set behind the gate, is chilling, powerful and impactful. It is funny how just the work can conjure up so many images, and when framed like this becomes a talking point. This commentary piece is one of the more thought-provoking from the event, but also one that might be hidden from the general passer-by. Excellent work from Diff, beautifully executed.

3144. Raleigh Road (9)

At last Cheo has broken cover. He seems to have spent much of the last six months on his studio work and commercial activities and painting walls has taken a back seat. This new piece on the wall outside the Souk Kitchen (a favourite for Upfest) is actually a kind of promotion for an augmented reality piece he has done recently.

Cheo, Raleigh Road, Bristol, August 2020
Cheo, Raleigh Road, Bristol, August 2020

The crisp piece shows a character fusion with a television set – a proper old one like we grew up with… It is called ‘Retro Flow’ and is the first time Cheo has worked with augmented reality. It is so good to see something on the street from Cheo after such a long break, looking forward to more soon.

2931. Raleigh Road Vector (31)

It seems somewhat remarkable that so many Soker pieces have been left behind in my archive over the last few years, but on the upside, it means I can share them with you now, while there is something of a slowdown with the appearance of new work in Bristol at the moment. I feel that things might be about to change however, with a slight relaxation of lock down.

Soker, Raleigh Road, Bristol, June 2018
Soker, Raleigh Road, Bristol, June 2018

This is a stunninng, crisp, clean and very easy on the eye piece of writing from Soker on a hoarding that sadly no longer exists. A beautiful design, great colour selection and fabulous 3D shadow that lifts the piece from the background all add up to piece of the highest quality from this master graffiti writer.

2895. Raleigh Road vector (30)

This long piece is a bit of a monster and unusually garish for Soker. It has the appearance of a huge washing up session with the grimey green slime getting a bit of a clean up from the bubbly water. The SOKER will come clean.

Soker, Raleigh Road, Bristol, February 2019
Soker, Raleigh Road, Bristol, February 2019

Painted in February last year, the piece would have been one of the last to appear on this particular wall, because not long after the hoardings were removed and the block of flats inhabited. Previously the empty lot had been a wonderful spot and was used every year by Upfest. Another loss to the Bristol street art community, but at least the housing provided looks like it was appropriately affordable.

2885. Raleigh Road vector (29)

What I am rather shocked by is the sheer number of outstanding pieces I have in my archive, and I guess it just goes to show that the high productivity of great street art in Bristol is pretty much relentless, and people like me struggle to keep on top of it. At least this pause caused by the coronavirus lock down provides me with an opportunity to share pieces like this amazing Deamze one that I had left on the shelf.

Deamze, Raleigh Road, Bristol, November 2016
Deamze, Raleigh Road, Bristol, November 2016

Although he is now in Hobard, Tasmania, Deamze will be forever a legend in Bristol and is sorely missed. His combination pieces incorpoorating wildstyle writing and a character are out of the top drawer and these technical masterpieces are something we can only reflect on these days.

Deamze, Raleigh Road, Bristol, November 2016
Deamze, Raleigh Road, Bristol, November 2016

One of the great things about Bristol is that the reputation for street art draws artists to come and stay or live in the city, so that for every great artist that leaves, at least two arrive, so the future is bright. The king is dead… long live the king.

2821. Raleigh Road (8)

Painted at the weekend (I think) this is a real beauty from Rusk (I told you there was more from him coming) and Jody. I can’t really articulate just how good this collaboration is and although the writing and the portrait don’t integrate, they certainly complement each other brilliantly.

Rusk, Raleigh Road, Bristol, March 2020
Rusk, Raleigh Road, Bristol, March 2020

On the left The expected high standard and tight work from Rusk delivers in bucket loads. A horizontal mix of bright and dul colours with some ‘glinting’ accents together with some nice inter-linking letters, a lilac outline and grey shadow – a lesson in how to make the complicated look simple.

Jody, Raleigh Road, Bristol, March 2020
Jody, Raleigh Road, Bristol, March 2020

To the right is a sensational portrait which is a tribute to Nipsey Hussle by the brilliant Jody. OK, so I’m old and my musical tastes although broad are not comprehensive and I have never heard of Nipsey Hussle before. He was an Ameican rapper, activist and entrepreneur who died in 2019, shot outside his Marathon clothing store in Los Angeles. I might have to go and dig out some of his music, and I thank Jody from bringing him to my attention.

Rusk and Jody, Raleigh Road, Bristol, March 2020
Rusk and Jody, Raleigh Road, Bristol, March 2020

I had seen this collaboration on Instagram and got myself down to Rakleigh Road a quickly as practical because one never knows just how long these things might last. This is a real beauty.

2224. Raleigh Road (7)

Another stunning piece for Upfest Summer Editions (in lieu of no festival this year) is this beautiful tiger by Bex Glover. Located on Raleigh Road on the wall of the Souk Kitchen and opposite the Tobacco Factory, this spot is highly sought after and one of the highlight walls for Upfest, so it is great to see Bex Glover having a presence here.

Bex Glover, Raleigh Road, Bristol, May 2019
Bex Glover, Raleigh Road, Bristol, May 2019

You may recall a recent piece she did near the Arches on Cheltenham Road, and if so you will recognise her distinctive style. Everything I have seen by her has a wildlife theme, and this one is no different, with a spectacular tiger set on a turquoise background with trees, foliage and birds. I particularly like the yin yang motif on the rear quarter of the tiger, if fact, I pretty much particularly like everything about this mural. There is a sense of peace and dignity in the work. Beautiful.

2061. Raleigh Road Vector (28)

Here’s one from Soker that nearly got away. Tucked away at one end of the hoardings in Raleigh Road, hoardings I might add that have now gone as the development reaches completion, this is a piece that could easily have been missed.

Soker, Raleigh Road, Bristol, February 2019
Soker, Raleigh Road, Bristol, February 2019

This stretch has been a productive one, particularly for members of ASK, but no more, they’ll have to find other walls to keep them busy. I rather like this cheerful and colourful piece, which is completely on point as always.