4977. River Avon (38)

Soap, River Avon, Bristol, December 2022
Soap, River Avon, Bristol, December 2022

This piece by Soap, was so good, I had to photograph it twice. The first time I tried, the results were terrible on account of strong sun and shade scattered over the piece. I made sure that my return visit was on an overcast day, with some better images.

Soap, River Avon, Bristol, December 2022
Soap, River Avon, Bristol, December 2022

Soap likes painting this character, which I think might be based on the cartoon character Ice King from the animated TV series Adventure Time, although I am not completely sure about that. This creation is a thing of beauty, and not only features the chrcter, but also spells out SOAP. A few gems thrown in for good measure, this is a masterclass in contemporary writing from Soap.

4937. Spake Evans Park (60)

Face 1st, Kool Hand and Soap, Sparke Evans Park, Bristol, January 2022
Face 1st, Kool Hand and Soap, Sparke Evans Park, Bristol, January 2022

I think that 2022 was the most prolific year for Bristol street/graffiti art ever. More artists joined the already large cohort, and it would seem that many of them painted more often than before. Of course, this is counterbalanced a little by the departure of some artists, and others going to ground for sustained periods. Overall, though, it was a bumper year. What this means is that there are way too many great pieces that were left ‘on the cutting room floor’, so the next few posts will be an attempt to dig out some of the pieces I simply didn’t have time to post during the year. Starting in January 2022 with this splendid collaboration between Face 1st, Kool Hand and Soap.

Face 1st, Sparke Evans Park, Bristol, January 2022
Face 1st, Sparke Evans Park, Bristol, January 2022

I have a feeling that the reason I didn’t post this at the time is that my first round of photographs were sun/shade impacted – this is a spot to be photographed on dull days. To the left is a typically happy piece from Face 1st, that really set the tone for the joy he spread for the rest of the year.

Kool Hand, Sparke Evans Park, Bristol, January 2022
Kool Hand, Sparke Evans Park, Bristol, January 2022

The middle section was painted by Kool Hand, with this really on-point crocodile holding a marker pen. I was chatting with Face 1st earlier this week, and he said that he felt that this piece really demonstrated how Kool Hand had moved up a level, and I would definitely agree.

Soap, Sparke Evans Park, Bristol, January 2022
Soap, Sparke Evans Park, Bristol, January 2022

Finally, (and it is always finally, because Soap always paints on the right-hand side of a collaboration) we have a superbly expressive piece of writing from Soap, one of his very best, in my opinion, with stacks of movement and interest. Even if you can’t quite read his letters, he has signed the piece with his tag three times for good measure. I am so sorry you have had to wait a whole year for this one.

4912. St Werburghs tunnel (330)

Face 1st, Soap and Zake, St Werburghs, Bristol, December 2022
Face 1st, Soap and Zake, St Werburghs, Bristol, December 2022

The Pirate Wall Art (PWA) crew have had a fantastic year, as individuals and as collaborators, creating some of the most memorable pieces in Bristol, and this one at the entrance of St Werburghs tunnel is as memorable as any.

Face 1st, Soap and Zake, St Werburghs, Bristol, December 2022
Face 1st, Soap and Zake, St Werburghs, Bristol, December 2022

The trio of Face 1st, Soap and Zake have created this fun piece, with Face 1st and Soap propping up a frog by Zake. Everything you’d want to see from these three is here, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next year.

4840. Brunel Way (182)

Face 1st, Zake and Soap, Brunel Way, Bristol, November 2022
Face 1st, Zake and Soap, Brunel Way, Bristol, November 2022

One of the great pleasures in life is coming across a PWA collaboration, and this little beauty painted under Brunel Way recently was a real treat. It is a well-balanced triptych, with Face 1st on the left, Zake in the middle and Soap on the right. It is an interesting observation that most of the time when Face 1st and Soap get together, they nearly always paint this way round – it must simply feel comfortable that way.

Face 1st, Brunel Way, Bristol, November 2022
Face 1st, Brunel Way, Bristol, November 2022

Face 1st’s piece in chrome is a nice simple girl’s face with the letters FACE neatly spaced around the edge, with a deep black 3D drop shadow and neatly bounded with a thin green line. Basic stuff done really well.

Zake, Brunel Way, Bristol, November 2022
Zake, Brunel Way, Bristol, November 2022

The middle section, or ‘filling of the sandwich’, is this unusual portrait piece by Zake. I am not too sure what is going on here, but it looks like the brain of the blue character is being expelled through his mouth, and that the brain appears to have a character all of its own. Quite bizarre, but beautifully painted with all the fine shading attributes associated with Zake’s work.

Soap, Brunel Way, Bristol, November 2022
Soap, Brunel Way, Bristol, November 2022

The symmetry is completed with another chrome piece, this one by Soap, to the right, reflecting the basic design of Face 1st’s on the other side. The central element is Soap’s characteristic mouth/skull ‘super tag’ with the letters SOAP encircling it. All in all, a wonderful piece from the PWA boys to brighten up our dull existence.

4525. Dean Lane skate park (501)

I genuinely thought that this wall would become redundant when work began on redeveloping the building about a year ago, a suspicion exacerbated when they put some windows in the wall. My fears may have been unfounded, as the wall appears to be intact and has regular makeovers, many of them quite fantastic, like this PWA collaborative wall from a short while ago.

Face 1st, Dean Lane, Bristol, June 2022
Face 1st, Dean Lane, Bristol, June 2022

The three artists are Face 1st, Chill and Soap, and together they have created an upbeat and rather fun triptych. Face 1st on the left ha painted one of his traditional smiling face characters whose hair is made up of the letters FACE – full of joy.

Chill, Dean Lane, Bristol, June 2022
Chill, Dean Lane, Bristol, June 2022

In the middle, Chill has created one of his cartoon-style line drawings with quite a story going on. I don’t know what the story is, but it includes a bird, a rose and a scroll with the artist’s name on it. More mischief and fun.

Soap, Dean Lane, Bristol, June 2022
Soap, Dean Lane, Bristol, June 2022

To the right is Soap’s contribution in which he continues the colour selections, backfilling his letters spelling SOAP and featuring (a many of his posts do) the Ice King from Adventure Time – a cartoon series that sadly passed me by.  Nice work from this PWA trio.

4311. M32 roundabout J3 (393)

It is pretty much impossible to observe one of these classic Soap pieces and not feel a small wave of happiness wash over you. The stylised laughing mouths/skull shaped characters are a trademark mega-tag that Soap has been painting and refining for years.

Soap, M32 roundabout, Bristol, February 2022
Soap, M32 roundabout, Bristol, February 2022

This piece in great bronze colours was one part of an outstanding PWA paint jam, that included Face 1st and Chill, and a guest appearance from Kool Hand. The finishing on this piece is first class and demonstrates amply Soap’s skills.

4153. M32 roundabout J3 (373)

The PWA boys were so very busy in 2021, and their numbers swelled with the additions of Nightwayss, Zake and Chill. Few spots in Bristol were untouched by their joyful collaborations, among them this fine wall at the M32 roundabout.

Soap, M32 roundabout, Bristol, December 2021
Soap, M32 roundabout, Bristol, December 2021

To the left is a well crafted piece of writing from Soap with some curious and interesting ideas creeping in, including the slogan, much used by street artists, ‘eat the rich’. The whole thing is liberally sprinkled with cut gemstones, something I must ask Soap about next time I see him.

Zake, M32 roundabout, Bristol, December 2021
Zake, M32 roundabout, Bristol, December 2021

The middle section of this triptych is by Zake with a characteristic face, full of expression and beautiful contours exaggerated by skilful shading and highlighting. The face also has a hand which is operating a little string puppet. There is a story here, but I am not too sure what it is.

Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, December 2021
Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, December 2021

The final part of the collaboration is by Face 1st and it is a really fabulous bit of writing, sans smiling girl. Lots of gunge oozing from the 3D lettering, which seems to have been a bit of a thing for Face 1st in 2021. There was a fourth part to this collaboration, which was the Nightwayss piece I posted a few days ago, but it didn’t sit as part of the symmetry of these three pieces.

Happy New Year.

4127. The Carriageworks (42)

You might have noticed my recent joy that the arches on the facade of The Carriageworks  have been exposed and almost immediately painted by the PWA crew. Although the joy might be short-lived, it is genuine and complete and these photographs capture some of that feeling for me.

Soap and Face 1st, The Carriageworks, Bristol, December 2021
Soap and Face 1st, The Carriageworks, Bristol, December 2021

To the left is a fabulous mash-up from Soap and Face 1st. All the elements that you would expect from a collaboration between these two are there, and it is great to see their work back where it belongs. These two young women were loving it too, and spent ages taking pictures of each other on the magnificent backdrop. They were not the only ones to stop and photograph the arches in the few minutes I spent there.

Nightwayss and Chill, The Carriageworks, Bristol, December 2021
Nightwayss and Chill, The Carriageworks, Bristol, December 2021

To the right (the second of the fur arches), Nightwayss and Chill, who seems to have been recruited into the PWA fold, have collaborated to create a fabulous and slightly eclectic scene. The self-portrait and small mammal, some kind of primate I am guessing, are by Nightwayss along with the writing at the top spelling ‘NIGHT’. The two-tone cartoon character is by Chill, a tattooist, who really seems to be enjoying painting walls at the moment. Great art, great location, great artists… what more could you ask for?

4110. The Carriageworks (41)

I cannot begin to explain how much joy this collaboration, on two of the arches (part of a larger four arch spread) on the front of The Carriageworks, gives me. This once popular spot was fenced off for development in 2018, and I feared that we would never see any street art on these arches again. Two weeks ago, the covers came off the building site and the facade of this building has been retained along with the four arches, and it took the Pirate Wall Art (PWA) crew no time at all to repossess these ‘canvasses’.

Face 1st, Chill and Soap, The Carriageworks, Bristol, December 2021
Face 1st, Chill and Soap, The Carriageworks, Bristol, December 2021

On the left is a three way mash up with Face 1st at the top, Soap on the right and possible new recruit into the crew, Chill. Everything about this is very PWA and how appropriate it is that they should be the first to recolonise this spot. I wonder how long it will be before anti-graffiti paint is applied by some killjoy who understands nothing about the area. We will wait and see, but in the meantime we can enjoy stuff like this.

Face 1st, Nightwayss and Soap, The Carriageworks, Bristol, December 2021
Face 1st, Nightwayss and Soap, The Carriageworks, Bristol, December 2021

On the right hand arch is a classic Soap/Face1st mash up piece, the likes of which often made an appearance on this very wall in years gone by. This is a fabulous nod to those great times and maybe, just maybe, we’ll get to enjoy plenty more in the future. I’ll be posting the other two arches soon.

Face F1st and Soap, Stokes Croft, Bristol, December 2017
Face F1st and Soap, Stokes Croft, Bristol, December 2017

4070. Dean Lane skate park (439)

It looks like Zake has been taken under the wing of PWA (Pirate Wall Art crew) recently, at least he seems to be painting a lot alongside Face 1st, Soap and Nightwayss. This is a superb and fun collaboration between Face 1st, Soap and Zake, and plays to their collective strengths.

Soap, Face 1st and Zake, Dean Lane, Bristol, November 2021
Soap, Face 1st and Zake, Dean Lane, Bristol, November 2021

I like this collaboration, because it is a merger of all three artists, with the outer two smiling girls from Face 1st, the laughing scull/mouths from Soap and the jolly centrepiece from Zake. All of these characters set on a boiling bubble splash of orange, red and pink. A joyful and fun collaboration, which I don’t think lasted too long – nothing much does on this wall these days.