2438. Upfest 2018 (160)

Way back at Upfest 2016, I bee W was the first street artist at a festival that I had the courage to speak to, shortly before I spoke with Dice 67 (who I later went on to conduct my first, and so far only, interview). Turns out that the vast majority of street artists are lovely people and even at festivals make time for a quick chat.

I bee W, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
I bee W, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

I bee W is a stencil artist whose stencils are often placed on carefully crafted or textured backgrounds and so become part of something bigger than the stencil alone. There is a story here, but I’ll be damned if I know what it is. A lady in a bikini bookended by a pair of seahorses. It is a pretty piece albeit slightly surreal. I have a few more of his pieces lurking in my archives, so I’ll have to dig them out.

That rounds off this series of ten Upfest 2018 catch up posts, but I’ll be doing more over the autumn and winter as there are still so many I haven’t yet posted.

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2108. Upfest 2018 (135)

At the launch of the ‘Cannon Fodder’ show last Friday I was lamenting the lack of wheatpaste artists in Bristol with Jimmer Willmott. It was Kid Crayon’s brilliant wheatpastes dotted around the city that inspired me to write about street art in the first place, but he has moved away from the form. However, what was very exciting was that Jimmer said he was thinking about doing some… now that would be amazing.

The exception to the rule occurs during upfest, when wheatpasters descend on North Street and festoon walls and lamp posts with their paste ups. One of the frequent visitors I look forward to each year is Face the Strange, and who can blame me with pieces like this one?

Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

Face the Strange challenges the viewer by presenting ordinary images, often models from magazines, that have had major head surgery. This bizarre piece combines a suited worker with a seahorse… but of course why not? I am a big fan of this kind of distortion, particularly when combined with marine life. Fun.