What an absolutely gorgeous sunny morning it is in Bristol today, deep blue skies and optimism in the air. This is an old photograph (consistent with all my recent lock down posts) of an even older piece by Smak. It is on a curious hoarding on the southern edge of Bedminster that leads to a tunnel under the railway.
It is all too easy to run out of superlatives when describing Smak’s work, and it is a rare thing indeed to find anything to be critical of. This is a thing of beauty, and I rather like the juxtaposition of urban graffiti writing set against greenery on the other side of the hoarding, like a scene from the Terry Gilliam film Brazil. Did I ever mention that my dad was the stage manager for Monty Python during their Drury Lane shows?
Aah, it is so easy to forget how bright and shiny (or shite and briney as an old colleague of mine used to say) this collaboration was when it was painted. Its quality has stood the test of time and it remained untouched for a very long spell – I think it has finally been painted over.
The collaboration on the M32 cycle path from 2018 was painted by Dot Rotten (SPOILT), Sled One and Smak. Dot Rotten is an artist Idon’t think I have posted before, but while I have been going through my archive recently I have spotted quite a few of his pieces, so expect more in the coming days/weeks.
Sled One has done here what Sled One does everywhere and that is turned out a high-quality character piece with great panache and style. The skull s beautifully drafted and has an animated humour about it. A nice touch to have an ASK speech bubble coming out of the cigarette.
On the right hand side of the collaboration is a clean, crisp and straight forward Smak piece which stands out from the wall thanks to the yellow outline and bright highlight spots. The whole collaboration has been painted on a shared background and colour selections and was a welcoming sight on this stretch of cycle path.
Somehow, since the lock down I have a lot less free time than I had before, which feels rather counter-intuitive. I am still working full time, only at home and mostly on Covid-19 communications. The kids are at home all the time and there is no respite from looking after them 24/7. The dog still needs walks. My wife too is working full time at home and occupies the study to work, which is where our main computer resides, and all my associated street art files etc.
The upshot is that I am writing these posts in the few minutes I can when my wife takes a shower in the morning. I am on leave next week, and might be able to write a whole bunch of posts to get a little bit ahead. I don’t like flying by the seat of my pants.
This is a stunning piece from the perfectionist Rusk on the RAW wall at Upfest 2016. I consider this to be an outstanding piece of writing and somehow Rusk, using highlights, has managed to create a metallic effect, so the whole thing looks like the side of a car or something like that. I can’t understand why I’ve not posted this before. Worth the wait.
I have been to this hoarding three times and each time the light has been overpowering (whatever happened to those overcast days?). The sun reflects off the windows of buildings behind the camera which reflect dappled sunlight all over this wall, ruining any chance of a decent shot. To take these pictures I waited 20 minutes for the slowest-moving solitary cloud to pass over the sun (I guess I was lucky), and then had to act fast.
The beautiful collaboration is from Hazard and Smak and I think was one of the very last pre-lock down pieces in town. The hoarding surrounds a whole block that has been demolished, bar one single house, which you can see in this photograph. It is like a scene from the Disney Pixar movie Up.
On the left is a stunning leopard by Hazard (Harriet Wood) which speaks for itself really. The whiskers are particularly good, and I like the way the whole thing bleeds into the Smak writing next to it.
Smak consistently produces graffiti writing of the highest order and this is another one to enjoy. Book-ended by leopard spots the mixture of angular and rounded letters is beautifully presented and filled thoughtfully with blues and yellows. Altogether a lovely collaboration.
On Turbo Island, one of the spots in Bristol that often exposes some of our greatest social problems in the city, is this wonderful message of thanks from Ryder to the National Health Service. Of course we must shout out to not only the NHS but also care home workers, all key workers, public servants and civil servants who are keeping this country ticking over during this difficult period. Notable by their absence in this list of heroes are bankers and hedge fund managers – I seem to remember the nation bailing them out about a decade ago. How quiet they are right now, speculating about how much money they can make when we come out of this crisis. Leopards never change their spots.
Ryder has managed to get out during lock down to create this piece, and I guess it could be interpreted as mental and physical exercise, and I guess he may have worn a mask when painting it. Just to emphasise the point about some of the social problems in this area, the plastic object directly in front of the wall is a sleeping bag/tent for some poor homeless person.
Thank you Ryder for raising the spirits of Bristol citizens at this time.
Right, so we are going to return to the now for a little while, after a short Covid-19 induced excursion through the archives. This recent piece from Smak at the M32 roundabout is really clever.
The overall effect looks like it has been partially scrubbed by some ‘do gooder’ trying to clean the wall, but it is designed to look like this, which when you consider it, is quite amazing. Clearly recognisable as Smak’s work, his style and class shine through in this original lock down piece.
Not all that long ago I was saying on Natural Adventures that I don’t post enough pieces by T-Rex, so here is a gorgeous winnged dinosaur from her on the recently discovered (by me) Alfred Street wall. There piece is linked with the Aspire piece to the right by incorporating toadstools, and an alien theme.
T-Rex has absolutely nailed these cartoon-style characters and they appear all over Bristol, often on caravans and vans that people live in dotted about the place. At any one time you are never too far away from one of these dinosaurs. This is an uplifting and happy piece, and I guess we could all do with a bit of happiness in our lives at the moment.
Yesterday, the UK went into lockdown which means that artists shouldn’t be spraying on the streets and I won’t be out taking photographs. This will give me an opportunity to go back through my archives and share with you pieces that deserve to be liberated. Watch this space for pieces going back as far as 2015.