I met Falko One in East Street on the Sunday of Upfest. It was early in the morning and showers were threatening. He had already started on the first of three commissioned elephants he was planning to complete in the day, but was doubtful because of the rain. This is a man who likes to paint elephants, and he does it really well.
Falko One it turns out is one of the most well known street artists in South Africa and has been working for almost thirty years inspiring others and growing the graffiti culture there. He is best known for his elephants.
As with several other pieces at Upfest, it was great to see the artist in action and how he went about creating his piece. I think what you see here is someone very much at ease with the subject. He has a great understanding of the proportions, shape and movement of elephants and can create these amazing pieces in no time at all.
The colours and shading, also bring a unique aspect to his art. I mean who ever saw a pink elephant before…hic?
Oze Arv was a very busy man during his short stay in Bristol for Upfest. This Portuguese artist from Lisbon uses patterns to mix expression and graphics. His style is instantly recognisable, as you will see as I post all of the work he left behind for Bristolians.
This is a lovely shutter piece on North Street, one of two ‘official’ pieces he sprayed for Upfest. Shutters are always hard, but he has been smart with this one, laying down a white background, which lifts the whole piece really well. I think most of his work tends to include the natural world.
I like the combination of the abstract and natural, I think it works well. I caught up with him for a few minutes, and he seemed like a really nice guy, happy to chat about his work. Lots more to come.
This is another piece that has been waiting and waiting in my archive and which I can at last write about, having recently found out who the artist is. The artist has been something of a mystery, and I have posted two of his pieces here before, the sinister cat and scary clown. It is of course Dose, AKA Kin Dose, AKA Nick Harvey.
I found out who he was by accident. I saw a poster advertising an art exhibition in the main street close to where I live, and there was the sinister cat on the poster, so I took a closer look. There was more information that helped me to track down Kin Dose on Instagram. Once on his feed, I looked through his work, and there was this piece…mystery solved.
Kin Dose is clearly extremely talented and versatile. I’ve not yet been to his exhibition (at the time of writing) but hope to get there before it closes.
A little while ago Frankie Beane posted a piece by Telmo Miel which was absolutely stunning. We had a short exchange of comments, and I looked into whether or not Telmo Miel had been to Bristol for Upfest. It turns out they have been a couple of times before, the last of which was in 2015. It also just so happens that I photographed their shutter piece not knowing who they were, and only now am I able to share it.
Telmo Miel is/are two artists who paint as one. This was the Dutch duo’s biography from the Upfest website:
‘Telmo Pieper and Miel Krutzmann are the names behind Telmo Miel artistic machinery. Telmo Pieper was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands where he graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy. He is a creator, image maker and a contemporary graffiti artist. Miel Krutzmann also received his degree from the Academy in Rotterdam, and he is a mural painter and illustrator, who started drawing as a child and never stopped. Together, they share a fascination for (sur)realistic imagery and are currently making life-sized wall paintings using spray-paint all over the globe.’
I hope they return soon as their work is actually rather good.
Sometimes collaborations really work well, and this beauty between Decay and John D’oh is quite a beauty. Half way along North Street, I first saw it during Upfest (it was a weekend and the shutters were down) although I don’t think it was sprayed for the festival.
It is a striking shutter piece and John D’oh’s stencil is rather special. I am not sure who it is of, but it works so well with the colours favoured by Decay. For me this is a special Bristol piece to be treasured.
There was an underlying theme to Upfest 2016 and that was the emergence of ‘Mr Graff’. This was a playful idea where Cheo was asked to create Mr Graff in the style of Roger Hargreaves ‘Mr Men’. Other artists were encouraged to play with the idea, and several did exactly that.
This piece ‘Mr Impossible’, is by the colourful and talented Loch Ness who specialises in psychedelic and surreal imagery. His pieces often have a host of playful characters sprayed in a multitude of great colours. Loch Ness also sprayed another piece at the school during the festival, but I don’t have a picture of the completed work, which was still behind scaffolding when I caught up with him for a chat. His work brightens up the dullness around us.
I took this picture during Upfest 2016, and was going to enter it as one of the pieces from the event. What a mistake that would have been. The piece is a collaboration between Copyright and Gemma Compton and was sprayed some years ago.
Of course I never usually get to see shutter pieces, because they tend to be up during the times I am out on the streets taking pictures. The work of these two artists works so well in combination; they both like bold colours, reds and blues, and both usually include female subjects. Gemma in particular likes to incorporate natural motifs setting the pieces off nicely.
This is a striking and enduring collaboration from this couple.