It always, always pays to switch things up a little bit and alter the routes taken to reach regular spots. I decided to drive down the City Road a week or two back, something I rarely do, but was most excited to catch sight of this bright red vision to my left. I parked up and went to investigate.
Deep joy. The red flash was this magnificent collaboration from Face 1st and Soap and by the look of it was rather recent – certainly I hadn’t had any tip offs on social media. Sometimes you just get lucky.
The left hand side is by Face 1st and depicts two happy girls mucking about with spray paints and their combined big hair spelling out FACE. This is a joyful and fun piece, which this artist is so good at creating, spreading a little happiness.
To the righ is the Soap half of the collaboration where he uses the same righ red colours to spell out SOAP with the most elaborate fills and highlights, so full of detail. Of course there is his trademark mouth, although it looks a little different in style to his usual one. A lovely collaboration surprise.
What the world needs more of in these difficult times is great collaborative happy street art like this magnificent recent collaboration from Soap and Face 1st. These PWA (Pirate Wall Art) friends have been painting together for a long while now and their work is so perfectly in tune. They have their own identities, but when they paint together the work is seamless.
On the left is a classic piece of soapiness from Soap with the characteristic mouths spelling out SOAP. The squiggles between the A and the P are superbly done and the arrows just add that touch of graffitiness about it all. A very fine bit of painting from Soap.
On the right Face 1st treats us to one of his charming cheery faces with big hair spelling out FACE. The matching colours with Soap and white highlights on the curves create teriffic read-across between the artists. A lovely collaboration.
Something good pretty much always results when these two PWA artists collaborate, which fortunately for us is often, this time under the M32. Soap and Face 1st seem to have a telepathic connection like Pires and Henry (I had to choose Arsenal players, but think of any deadly football partnership and you’ll know what I mean), and their collaborations feel so comfortable and easy if you know what I mean.
I don’t quite get what the story is but there is consistency across the whole collaboration. On the left Soap is the writing of Soap which is filled with a sophisticated array of colours and techniques and is truly a thing of beauty. Soap’s fills just seem to get better and better.
On the right we have a rather unusual Face 1st piece of a girl riding on the back of a cigarette-smoking frog waving a bee on the end of a stick in front. What?!? I must ask him what on earth is going on in this piece next time I see him. Wild, imaginative and wonderful.
It took me a rather long time to find this collaboration from Face 1st and Soap. I knew it was in St Paul’s but it was not in the bit of St Paul’s where I thought it was. I found it on one of my Covid-19 dog walks, where I tend to walk down as many side streets as I possibly can – poor dog, gets dragged all over the place.
Painted just before lock-down, the Face 1st half visits a theme he has been experimenting with lately of a face being inside a face and I think it works very well. He has an amazing talent for conveying the emtion of his faces with such simple features, just a mouth and eyes, this one seems to be having fun.
The Soap side of the collaboration continues the theme of being part above and part below a waterline and the colour of the paints used is commensurate with this difference and is skilfully done (by both artists in fact). Overall this is a lovely collaboration. Due to the very bright conditions, the colours are not quite so well represented in these pictures.
I am not too sure how old this one from Soap is because I haven’t been to this spot for quite a few months. It looks a bit chipped along the bottom but is otherwise in rather good condition, so I would guess it is from the back end of last year.
This mouthy piece is typically cheerful and bright from an artist who appears to have had something of a renaissance over the past year or so. I like the incorporation of swirly colours around the character and line drawn ones within it too. It was painted alongside Bad Taste who Soap has collaborated with before and which I wrote about on Christmas Day. It just shows that it is worth checking out these spots from time to time.
Finding a piece like this magnificent collaboration from PWA artists Soap and Face 1st gives me such tremendous pleasure and confirms for me that the time I spend finding, photographing and writing about street art is time very well spent. These two are capable of creating some magical images and there is a real sense of fun and mischief about these ones.
First up is a sword–swallowing act from Soap in which his mouth character lends itself to a different take on visualising this dangerous act. There are many things to admire here, such as the garland of flowers and the carefully thought out use of blue tones, I particularly like the swirl patterns in the shading.
Joining the two elements of the collaboration is a lovely splat pattern, but it is difficult to be sure which of these two painted it.
On the right is one of my favourite Face 1st pieces ever, and that is a very high bar. There is something so joyful about these two giggling girls mischievously spraying each other with paint and there is a balance to it reminiscent of yin and yang. What Face 1st lacks in sharp, crisp lines he more than makes up for in heart and soul. His work speaks to me.
On the one-way top end of Stapleton Road, it would be nice to think that drivers would glance to their right and admire this free art to cheer up their lives, but I bet most wouldn’t even notice it.
Yay, let’s hear it for the boys whose recent collaboration in the tunnel is full of happiness, music and soul. Last year, Face 1st and Soap went through a period of not collaborating for whatever reason, but they seem unstoppable just now with several walls that this pair have painted already this year.
On the left of the piece is a nice piece of writing from Face 1st with a beautifully worked horizontal gradation through his lettering and a decent 3D effect using a vanishing point underneath. On the right is a cheerful mariachi singer surrounding the whole collaboration with happy notes from his guitar. I’m not too sure if Soap has ever actually played a guitar, but the left hand is gripping the neck in a rather awkward upside-down position. Overall a wonderful and joyful piece.
Not exactly a Christmas Day kind of piece, but one I photographed in the tunnel of St Werburghs way back in July this year and have only just got round to posting because… well just because.
It is a rather nice collaboration between Soap (a regular on these pages) on the left and Bad Taste on the right. Soap was undergoing something of a renaissance during the summer and seemed to be churning out bright and happy pieces of which this is a super example.
I know nothing about Bad Taste and can only think that he/she was a visitor to Bristol who’d hooked up with Soap to find a cool place to paint. The rat is really nicely painted and stood out from the crowd in the tunnel for quite some time I seem to recall.
Now get back to your turkey (or vegetarian alternative) and enjoy the rest of this joyous Christmas Day.
Yet another fine PWA (Pirate Wall Art) production from Soap and Face 1st down under the M32 along the cycle path. I think that this is quite a good wet-weather spot, because there is a small overhang to protect the wall and artists from the rain.
On the left is a ‘traditional’ soap face, with two mouths agape. Looked at onother way, the shape can be seen as a kind of skull, with the mouths forming the eyes or eye sockets – that’s what I see at least.
On the right is a Face 1st ‘beauty’ in a rather unseemly situation, vomiting toxic looking stuff. Now I’ve noticed that in recent weeeks Face 1st has been animating his faces with things like this, to tell more of a story than simply creating a pretty thing to look at. His faces are beginning to convey sadness, frustration, disgust, nausea and so on. An interesting development and great to see.
How fantastic to see these two PWA artists hooking up again after what feels like way too long. Soap and Face 1st have been painting buddies for a long time, but lately have been doing their own thing. I was beginning to think that they might have fallen out and may maybe they had, so it was with some relief that I came across this fine collaboration on the M32 cycle path.
The collaboration itself is a lovely crisp piece, which is tapping into Face 1st’s recent theme of a crying face, which I interpret as a metaphor for the desperate state of our nation. This collaboration is really tight and one of my favourites that this pair have produced. The yellow boundary contains the two elements into a ‘proper’ collaboration of shared paint and merged ideas rather than the loose collaboration of when artists paint different things together.