This was a completely accidental find (often the most fulfilling ones). I was trying to find a cut-through in Southville, because I was sick of the traffic, and ended up turning into this cul-de-sac (I thought it was a through road) that I have passed many times before but never noticed this brilliant sheep stencil before.
I think the Stencil by Bristol’s Stewy might be reasonably new, because when I parked up and got out of my car to photograph it, I struck up a conversation with a man who was with the owner of the building, and they hadn’t seen the piece before. I told them that it was a great privilege to have such a lovely stencil on their wall, and they seemed to be in agreement. Much of Stewy’s work is one layer stencils like this one, and because of this focus and intensity they really stand out. It is such a great feeling finding something like this. It pays to go down streets you don’t normally go down, you just never know what you’ll find.
It is a funny thing, but I have always been quite nonchalant about Banksy. I love his art, I love it that he comes from Bristol but I tend to stand up for all the other artists whose work is extraordinary and who are not Banksy. However, even I got caught up in the frenzy of excitement that surrounded his visit to Bristol last Wednesday night/Thursday morning.
It is not often the artist comes back to his home city, so it always feels rather special when he does. The other thing about his work is that you have to get there quick to see it, because there are some crazy people who try to vandalise his stuff, particularly in Bristol – who knows why. And guess what, since I wrote the last sentence two days ago, an idiot has indeed vandalised the piece with some rather nasty message over the stencil girl.
These pictures are a little bit low-res, I have obviously kept the high res versions in my archive, to avoid copyright theft – something I rarely do. So sorry about the quality. The piece itself features a girl in a hoodie firing a catapult of beautiful red flowers. Is this a love message to Bristol?
The location of the piece is significant, because it is just around the corner that Banksy learned to spray paint under the watchful eye of John Nation, a youth club worker at Barton Hill youth club. John is the godfather of Bristol street art, and what he doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing about.
There was a constant stream of people gathering at the wall when I made it down there on Friday, and it was great to witness their sense of awe that something special had happened here and that they were able to share in it. I couldn’t resist photographing this gentleman with his motorbike, he said the selfie was for his motor club which I thought was very sweet.
You can get a sense of the flow of people from the final picture. The nice fellow in the yellow check shirt had come over from Swansea just to see this wall. I bet they are all glad that they did when they did knowing that it has now been vandalised.
A special day for a hunter and a special day for Bristol.
A stencil artist whose work I have always admired is London’s Unify. Unify’s work, for me has a real human touch, grabbing the viewer’s attention through an emotional draw. These works are more than illustrations they are stories, sometimes political, sometimes satirical, sometimes child-like and they are all pretty powerful.
This beautiful small stencil depicts a young girl painting some little red hearts that collectively form a peace symbol, something that is used a lot in Unify’s work. It is a touching piece full of hope, and beautifully presented between these two flowerpots.
More from JPS in his home town, with this delightful young gladiator stencil. I don’t know the back-story to this piece, but there surely is one. The young bespectacled gladiator is holding up a keyboard for a shield, is this a metaphor? Is the boy hiding behind his technology? Is the character someone we know, a famous person?
As ever the stencil is stunningly well executed and the quality is really noticeable in the detail on the keyboard. If you are a fan of JPS’ work then a trip to WSM is an absolute must, and part of the fun is in finding these stencils dotted around the town.
Since acquiring a dog two years ago, I have managed to turn taking him for walks to my advantage, visiting street art hotspots in Bristol and beyond in the name of exercise duty. One such ‘walk’ was in the form of a day trip last summer that he and I took to Weston-super-Mare. Here he is photobombing a fabulous Yoda stencil by JPS. The dog actually only makes rare appearances on Natural Adventures despite being with me for most of my photography sessions.
Having just seen the final film of the Star Wars saga, it feels appropriate to post this piece at this time, and JPS has as you would expect turned out a masterful piece he has. The pictures are a bit bleached out, an artefact of me getting used to photo editor and not making a great job of it.
Incidentally, the dog pee on the Yoda was absolutely not the work of my animal, he has far too much respect for street artists.
There is a great problem with street art, and that is that there is simply too much of it. I would think that for every piece I feature in Natural Adventures, there are probably two others I have photographed that never make it. That is why going back through my archives is such fun, bringing dormant pieces back to life.
This is a small piece from a trip I made to Shoreditch back in April this year painted by the artist Jaune, who specialises in pictures of waste disposal workers often in miniature like this one. It is great going to London occasionally hunting for street art, because there are many more internaional artists who visit there, compared with the provinces. Jaune I believe is from Brussels in Belgium, but I have never seen any of his work in Bristol.