While busily searching Bedminster for new Upfest walls, I took a turn down a street I don’t normally visit and at the end saw this lovely stencil from Stewy. The same piece used to be in North Street, but that disappeared some years ago. This brilliant piece portrays the musician Robert Wyatt, who’s version of ‘Ship building’ remains one of my favourite tracks of all time.
I am so pleased that I found this, because I was a little upset when the North Street one went. It is the joy of stencils, that they can be recreated more than once, extending the lifetime and footprint of a piece of art. Fabulous work by a fabulous artist of a fabulous artist.
One of the notable things about Stewy is that he skulks around, a little bit like the fox depicted in this stencil, without fanfare or pomp and with great modesty leaves us with some beautiful and lasting art to enjoy. Stewy selects his spots very carefully and few if any get tagged or over-painted because of where they are.
Stewy is a well known artist who gets a lot of commissions, and alongside his animal work, he is famous for his stencils of well-known people such as pop stars, politicians and other notable figures. In this gorgeous piece he has painted a fabulous Bristol fox in this three-layer stencil. This fox might have been there forever, or might be relatively recent, but that is the thing with Stewy, it is hard to know sometimes.
This wall used to have a wonderful tribute piece on it to honour DJ Derek by Deamze and Sepr. From speaking to a local, I understand that the owners of the wall loved it, but they had to have some damp treatment work done on the house and the mural had to go as part of that. The result is a vast wall that is crying out for decoration
Who should come along, but Stewy, who has some other pieces nearby, to place a stencil of a duck, high up on the wall perching on a pipe. Although a small piece, it commands the wall and adds interest for passers by who manage to extract themselves from their mobile technology and look at the world around them.
This is a fun stencil, and I can imagine a wry smile on the artist’s face when he painted this. This is all part of the circle of life of a Bristol wall.
I was alerted to this superb stencil from Stewy and Voice of Joan through a rather different route than my usual network of artists/hunters. I stumbled upon an Instagram post from @thiscitymum, and unlike my usual leads who scan the regular spots we visit, she wonders around the city taking pictures of wonderful things and in doing so leaves the beaten track and finds some hidden gems like this one.
This huge stencil on the side of a house is in an area where parked cars are a fact of life. I have visited this piece twice and the cars are a real challenge, so these are the best pictures I have so far. The single layer stencil in black is set on the neutral green background and features Lewis Carroll’s Alice peering round a curtain. Of course the piece is after John Tenniel who produced the original illustrations for Alice in Wonderland. (Note this representation is a reversed version of the original).
Private commissions like this one are what makes a city sing, and I take my hat off to the owners of the end-of-terrace house. I have featured Stewy many times on Natural Adventures and his pieces are always of the highest quality. I have not however heard of Voice of Joan before, but will keep my eyes peeled. Something a bit different in Bedminster.
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.
I am being a little bit lazy this week and have selected some doors that cross over into my street art posts. I make no apologies…I am a busy man and some weeks I just don’t have the wherewithal to take door pictures.
I would say however that the first door (which was originally going to be the only door for this week) is one of my all time favourite doors, so it deserves a special post really. I will soon be posting it again as part of my street art thread.
The other doors have been lurking in my Thursday doors folder for far too long and need to come up for air. Incidentally Coming up for Air by George Orwell is one of my top ten novels…well worth a go if you’ve not read it.
The bear by Stewy might trigger some memories of the squirrel I posted a few weeks back by the same artist.
Well that’s it for this week. I hope I can get out and find some new doors next week TTFN.
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:
I think that Stewy owns this wall. The Bristol-based stencil artist has had one of his pieces on this little wall in North Street for at least three years now. The ram is a fine successor to the Bristol Pounds £5 that was there before.
I am and will continue to be a keen supporter of Stewy’s work, which is a cool mix of celebrity work and wildlife stencils. This was not his only stencil at this year’s Festival, and I’ll save one of his others for a future post. Let’s hear it for this extremely intricate single-layer stencil of a ram…
There is a small wall on North Street that Stewy seems to have made his own. Back in July 2016 he had a fabulous stencil of the great musician Robert Wyatt on this wall, which was a particular favourite of mine, because I like his music.
This beautiful stencil, sprayed around the time of last year’s Upfest is a reproduction of a Bristol Pounds five pound note (yes we have our own currency here in Bristol) which depicts a number of Bristol heroes including Isembard Kingdom Brunel, DJ Derek and Robert Wyatt. To get a decent look at it you need to look at it sideways.
Anthony Wedgwood Benn, or Tony Benn, will be forever remembered as the Bristol South East Labour MP who ruffled the feathers of the establishment with his hard left wing views. An adopted son of Bristol and much loved MP. This is a lovely tribute to Tony Benn by Stewy.
I think I a several years late in posting this fabulous stencil, and it has faded a little over time, but I have only just discovered it, and felt it write to post it as soon as I was able. Stewy has a great track record of creating stencils of important popular figures from Bristol, some of which are recorded previously in the blog. I like his work very much, and this particular piece feels so very right.