I have had a few days away from Bristol, which came on the back of a period of self-isolation, and as a result have gone into a bit of blind panic. This is the 15th 75×75 Upfest piece that I have written about, and I understand that 50 have now been completed, so I have a lot of work to do to catch up on some of these. This piece from Sophie Mills was one of the first I photographed, and was lucky enough to be there when she was just finishing the piece off.
A rhinoceros wearing a party hat is certainly a fairly unusual theme, and the hat looks a little incongruous, not only in it being a hat, but also in the painting style, almost as if it had been added by someone else after the event. Another interesting thing which might have been deliberate or coincidental is that Sophie Mills Thomas’s trousers are a perfect colour match for the piece she is painting.
This is a small but impactful piece that is bang in the middle of North Street and next to an Inky/Cheo Mibsy tribute piece that has remained intact for several years. A fine addition to Upfest’s summer event.
On the news that the last male northern white rhinoceros was put down yesterday he is survived by his daughter and granddaughter. His passing is a loss that is emblematic and the world will feel a little bit less complete. A sad day indeed.
A man with a proper man cave. Luke Hollingworth, AKA Stencil Shed, AKA Syd is an artist who works in his shed, and outside his shed. This is one of his ‘outside’ pieces that he did for Upfest, and what a great piece it is.
Unfortunately I only got a couple of pictures of it, but I remember thinking at the time how much I liked it. It has a story, a message. On a Tumblr feed Syd wrote:
‘My 12ft X 8 ft piece for @upfest. Two great endangered species, the sperm whale and the black rhino. Mashed up and contained in Hirst like formaldehyde. Have to say always find it challenging to come up with something decent when painting on boards (90% of artists get boards at upfest.) my usual street pieces are woven into the wall. This hits the spot I’m hoping with its inventiveness. Revisiting an old concept of mine from 2013 when I placed Damien Hirst in formaldehyde in a field of cows. This one more of a play on his shark turner prize winning conceptual art. Down super quick as my wife is 7 days overdue on the birth of our second child, gulp.’
I am feeling under a little pressure to get as many Upfest 2016 pieces posted before the end of July when the whole thing starts all over again. I think that the only way I will be able to achieve this is to shorten the narrative sections surrounding the images, which will be a Godsend for those who don’t like to read, but perhaps not so great for those who like to know a little more about the artists and the impression their work has made.
This is a wonderful piece by Braga Last1 whose owl in Dean Lane skate park I posted only a few days ago. This time he has created a beautiful rhinoceros in the school playground of Ashton Gate School.
The use of monochrome accompanied with colours spilling from the horn/tree on the rhinoceros is skilfully done, and the slight reflection of green on the head and back of the animal has been well thought through. A lovely piece.
Continuing for a little while with my Camden adventure, just around the corner, from the Fanakapan flies was this amazing rhinoceros by Osch. Both Osch and Fanakapan are unbelievably prolific. Hardly a week goes by without one or both of them creating something new.
In this piece, Osch uses his unfurling ribbon style to create the illusion of a solid creature, which is clever as painting itself could be considered to be an illusion. Layers. The rhino is superb, and reminds us (it’s function) about the plight of these creatures in the wild.
Rounding off the picture, and something that is a part of photographing street art, is the context of the piece, and in this particular piece there are some discarded flower pots that somehow add to the whole scene. A street art photographer’s dilemma is always to balance the perfect clean image, with the actual image in its context. I, like others, try to get both…but parked cars are a real menace!
Without question, one of the highlights of this year’s Upfest was this magnificent mural by the fabulous Louis Masai. His works are nearly always highlight threats to the environment or endangered species and on that ticket alone he ranks highly in my own personal favourite artists.
His recent murals have featured animals painted with a patchwork quilt kind of effect, and in this case the rhinoceros is being stitched together by a honey bee and a bumble bee.
Louis Masai, Redpoint, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
Louis Masai, Redpoint, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
It is difficult not to be impressed with this work, and not surprisingly Louis Masai’s status in the street art world has grown in the last year or two.
Definitely, definitely in my top five pieces from this year’s festival. It is a pity that it is slightly off the beaten track as many visitors to Upfest will have missed it. The piece is on the Redpoint Bristol Climbing Centre on Winterstoke Road.
It would be great if he could return next year, although I’m not sure he could better this one.