3241. North Street

It took a little while to get there, but this outstanding mural from Sophie Long has been well worth the wait. The row of shops in North Street, which includes the Upfest shop in the middle, is becoming a bit of a showcase, with four of the five similar buildings now boasting a fine mural. Most interestingly all of these murals are by female artists. I reckon that we should be lining up Hazard for the remaining slot… That would be my first choice.

Sophie Long, North Street, Bristol, October 2020
Sophie Long, North Street, Bristol, October 2020

Sophie Long is well known for her paintings of wildlife and use of bright colours and in this mural she doesn’t disappoint. Four bumblebees surround the top window of the building with rays of bright colour shooting out from the centre. Often Sophie Long will pay attention to anatomical accuracy, but in this mural, the bumblebees have a slightly cartoonish appearance. This is a fine addition to the existing murals in this row.

Zoe Power, Gemma Compton and Sophie Long, North Street, Bristol, October 2020
Zoe Power, Gemma Compton and Sophie Long, North Street, Bristol, October 2020
Bex Glover, North Street, Bristol, July 2020
Bex Glover, North Street, Bristol, July 2020

2860. Cheltenham 2019 (31)

At last I have a space to unlock this amazing piece by Sophie Long at the Cheltenham Paint Festival featuring a family of polar bears taking a walk. The piece is one of the larger ones that I have seen by the Bristol-based artist and was one of the highlights of the festival. Unfortunately, although I went to the festival on two days, I didn’t get to meet Sophie on this occasion.

Sophie Long, Paint Festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019
Sophie Long, Paint Festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019

The painting carries all the hallmarks I would associate with Sophie Longs work. The bears are beautifully laid out in differing poses and touched with some colourful paintwork that complements the overall composition. Imagine how different this piece would look if it were just plain white bears.

Sophie Long, Paint Festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019
Sophie Long, Paint Festival 2019, Cheltenham, September 2019

Of course, no Sophie Long piece would be complete without drips, and this piece has lots of them. This is a fine wildlife work from an artist who specialises in this kind of subject.

2835. North Street

I love seeing Sophie Long’s work on the streets and simply don’t see enough of it out there, so finding this on North Street a little while back was genuinely a wonderful surprise. Her striking wildlife paintings/street art are truly beautiful and nearly always have this characteristic dripping which marks the piece as one of hers.

Sophie Long, North Street, Bristol, January 2020
Sophie Long, North Street, Bristol, January 2020

This tiger is skilfully done, although if I were being ultra critical I’d say the the body proportions aren’t quite right. The head is a little exaggerated and the body too short, but it does comply with our mind’s eye of what a tiger looks like. I very much look forward to seeing more of her work if and when the lock down eases.

1711. Upfest 2018 (36)

There is a very clear message in this excellent piece by Sophie Long, ‘save the bees’, a most noble message and one that most sensible people can subscribe to. It is common knowledge that globally and locally we are losing our pollinators at an alarming rate and most of the decline is due to pesticides because…guess what…they are designed to kill insects. A classic case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Sophie Long, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Sophie Long, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

There is a nice interview with the artist on the excellent Auntie G website which I can recommend – it is only a couple of minutes long, but it is nice to see the artist explain her work.

Sophie Long, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Sophie Long, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

Now onto the artwork itself. I am definitely a fan of Sophie’s work and have featured several pieces in Natural Adventures in the past. Her studies of wildlife are magnificent and her rather etherial style gives her subjects a sense of movement. Her trademark though probably has to be those drips…such wonderful drips. This was one of the special pieces at Upfest this year.

1323. Upfest 2017 (133)

Sophie Long is an established artist in Bristol whose wildlife pieces with stunning drips are well known to those who look out for such things. I recently posted her fabulous shark piece in Cheltenham road which I walk past pretty much every day.

Sophie Long, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017
Sophie Long, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017

This upright orangutan is rather beautiful and conveys so well the sombre disposition of these incredible creatures. we are reminded of our evolutionary closeness to them and our utter disregard for their environment. Orangutans have become an emblem of despair, but also of hope for the future. This fine piece would sit comfortably on any naturalists wall.

1136. Cheltenham Road , Library (2)

This is the second stunning piece that has recently been commissioned (I guess) on the hoardings outside the site where the library used to be. You can read more about my thoughts on this here. The shark here is absolutely amazing and Sophie’s trademark drips are to die for. I honestly think this is one of the best street pieces I have seen in a little while.

Sophie Long, Cheltenham Road, Bristol, November 2017
Sophie Long, Cheltenham Road, Bristol, November 2017

Sophie Long has captured the form and slow movement of the shark perfectly and the reflected light ripples across the dorsal surface. Of course, as someone with a marine biology training, I am particularly taken with this piece. Sophie Long is a local artist whose work I have seen before, but not posted yet. Her website gives you a good insight into some of her work.