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.
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.
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.
Sometimes it is better not to write too much about a piece, especially when it is this good. Smak posted this on Instagram and said what a banging board this is, and I quite agree. Hats off to whoever erected it under the M32.
This writing is close to perfect and there is something that is extra good about it, it might be the choice of vibrant and contrasting colours. Anyhow it is simply a really good example of how great technical graffiti writing can be.
Well, he’s on fire really isn’t he? Each time I do my rounds of well known street art spots there seems to be a Smak piece lurking there somewhere. This relatively recent one is bang in the middle of St Werburghs tunnel. I am quite pleased that the photograph has come out reasonably well considering the dire light conditions there.
This has all the elements of a typically technically brilliant Smak piece. Sensational design and lines, clean and tidy, wonderful 3D and fill work. I’m not sure he ever has a ‘bad hair day’ and if he does, I’ve yet to see it.
This is not an easy place to photograph. The spot is sandwiched between two busy slip roads underneath the M32, and just for added difficulty, access is over fences and the River Frome runs through the middle. I haven’t yet ventured into the spot and these photographs are taken through a bit of railing some distance away.
There is little I can say about Smak’s work that I haven’t said dozens of times before, but even in this tricky spot where only a few will ever get to see the piece his work is 100 per cent on point. There is a consistent font style to his letters and his shadinngs are utterly awesome. One huge advantage about this spot is that tagging tends to be pretty much absent.