About Ponny left us a few of his poignant wheatpastes about the place during Upfest, of which this is the third I have posted. All of them have featured subjects who have hit upon hard times. The beautiful stencils in dark tones highlighted with copper have a sad but gentle feel to them and they are full of pathos.
I am full of admiration for the work of this Italian artist, and how, in a quiet and subtle way, he reflects the troubles of our age of austerity and economic struggles. No fuss, no ranting, simply an honest portrayal.
This is the first of several more Shoreditch pieces from my visit there back in November to see the old year out and the new one in. What joy to spot this trio of Madonna stencils by the flamboyant and vibrant Pegasus, whose work has appeared in Natural Adventures a few times over the last four years.
These images capture Madonna beautifully, in what looks like her Desperately Seeking Susan period, sporting crosses on her ears and large quantities of bangles. It is interesting to note that in the two right hand side stencils, there are extra squares obscuring part of the piece, this in addition to the colour changes leaves us with three different stencils together. Lovely piece.
Tell me honestly…who doesn’t love a stencil of a chimp? And as they go, this is about as good as you are going to get – a brilliant piece by Matti. I don’t know too much about the artist, and although he has a website, it appears to be unpopulated.
This stencil captures so beautifully the nature and soul of this little chimp. What is going on behind those glassy eyes? This piece so perfectly matches the perfect subject matter with brilliantly executed technical skills.
Regular readers of Natural Adventures may recall posts about the ephemeral work of Annika Pixie who is a Bristol artist and regular at Upfest. Annika is a vibrant and colourful member of the local art community, who appears to spend her winters in Thailand teaching before returning to her adopted city.
This portrait carries all the hallmarks of an Annika Pixie piece. The face is partly obscured by a thin veil as if peering through a net curtain and there is a sadness in the girl’s expression. on her chest are some little ballet dancer stencils…I wonder what the story is here. It is always great to see Annika’s work although I was disappointed to have missed talking to her this year.
At the far east end of North Street, Bristol, is the colourful Steam Crane pub, which during Upfest plays host to several walls in its beer garden/back yard. There is a little side passage just to the right of the pub which leads you directly into the yard, and the wall on the right is always crammed with great street art.
On entering into the yard, the far left-hand wall is also given over to a large piece for Upfest. Along the back brick wall however, there is no street art, except for this cheeky little red squirrel by Bristol’s Stewy, whose stencils can be found all over the city.
The door is plain, but the whole scene – the grey timbered facade, white door and squirrel – seem to come together in a pleasing way.
The squirrel is a stencil that Stewy has used many times about the place but it doesn’t matter how many times you see it, it always charms.
Here are some Upfest pieces from the walls of The Steam Crane:
This gateway is a particular favourite of mine and has played host to some lovely pieces by 3rdeye and Aspire in previous Upfests. This year it was the turn of Dr Love, an artist from Tbilisi in Georgia.
The piece is a large stencil, and you can see just how tricky it is to put together a stencil of this size from the picture above. Looking at this stencil, I can’t quite work out the layering, but that is why I write about these things rather than try to do them myself.
Dr Love likes to spread love with his work and I think with this piece you can sense the tenderness of a skeleton holding a butterfly on his finger and the message is conveyed loud and clear with the large word LOVE across the middle of the piece. Sadly the work only lasted a few months before it was tagged, and I believe that a Muckrock piece is there now, but I’ve not managed to get down to see it yet.
Kin Dose is a Bristol artist who doesn’t hit the streets too often, but at Upfest 2018 he really excelled himself, spraying several wildlife stencils along the North Street area. This is the second one I have featured in Natural Adventures.
This piece, a bat of some description, is perfectly fitted to the utility box on which it appears, and kind of blends in a little so as almost to be invisible to the passer-by. You can tell, at Upfest, the difference between general visitors and street art ‘hunters’ as the latter are always looking at every wall, every door, every side street, every lamp-post, every utility box, in fact pretty much everything, whereas the former tend to stroll along chatting and seeing art almost passively.
Lost my thread a bit there…anyhow, this piece, along with its partners is something really special, which is what Kin Dose does so well. Special.