2349. Dean Lane skate park (236)

Getting lucky is all part and parcel of photographing and recording street art. I remember when I first started out I never thought I’d actually meet an artist (I naively thought it was all done under cover of darkness) let alone watch them at work. Over the last five years I have met countless artists and would consider myself friends with several of them. One who I met for the first time a week or two back was Subtle, and what an astonishingly nice bloke he is.

Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, July 2019
Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, July 2019

Subtle, whose work first entered my consciousness in about 2016, is an artist who has eluded me until now and whose work just seems to be getting better and better with each piece. While I watched him doing this piece (distract I ought to say) he let me into a whole load of tips on technique, the most memorable of which is that he uses a roller and emulsion for the bulk of his work (most of what you can see above) and saves the spray paint for the details. The reason for this approach is driven by cost – a wall as large as this one would cost quite a lot if it was all done with just spray paint.

Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, July 2019
Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, July 2019

I really enjoyed my twenty minutes in the company of Subtle and am pleased that I managed to get a reasonably clean completed picture (in spite of Soak and Young’s intervention) a few days later. For sure, this is one artist I’d love to catch up with again, and now that he has moved more centrally in Bristol I think the chances of that happening are greater than before.

Rezwonk and Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, September 2018
Rezwonk and Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, September 2018
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2316. Dean Lane skate park (230)

It is impossible to tire of the beautiful and bold writing of Subtle. This magnificent recent piece in Dean Lane is a perfect example of his writing style that is always so instantly recognisable.

Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, July 2019
Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, July 2019

I like the fact that he has taken time to prepare the wall properly and chosen such a magnificent pink/magentafor the letters which are so cleanly painted. As is often the case with his work he has included just a few little highlights on the letters that lift the whole thing up another level. Subtle consistently turns out these superb pieces, which in this case is anything but subtle.

2096. St Werburghs tunnel (70)

Last night I missed meeting Subtle by a whisker. I was at the opening night of the Cannon Fodder art show at the Loose Cannon cocktail bar just off Millennium Square in Bristol organised by Jimmer Wilmott and Paul Monsters. I saw Kid Crayon and during a break in conversation went to have a chat with him. He was just saying goodbye to an artist that was leaving. I asked him who it was and he told me it was Subtle… well at least I now know what he looks like.

The art show launch was really well attended and the venue is a good one for this kind of show. There were pieces by several Bristol (and beyond) artists including: Kid Crayon, Decay, Chiba, Silent Hobo, Jimmer, Nol, Guts and Paul Monsters. The artwork was a little beyond my price bracket but actually great value. If you are in the area it is well worth popping in although I’m not too sure how long it runs for.

Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, March 2019
Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, March 2019

Anyhow, this fine piece by Subtle is a reasonably recent one from St Werburghs tunnel and although quite simple carries all the hallmarks of his fine work. The first picture is a little blurred, thanks to my dog pulling his lead at just the wrong time… it was the only front-on picture I have of this piece.

I’m sure I will bump into Subtle before too long.

2007. St Werburghs tunnel (61)

I think that Subtle is a really classy graffiti writer, and his collaboration with Rezwonk at Dean Lane last year will go down as one of my all time favourites. This is another humdinger, beautifully designed and executed and with a little character just for good measure.

Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, January 2019
Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, January 2019

The character is Dexter from the 1990s cartoon Dexter’s Laboratory, and he really adds something special to this piece. I love the way the bubbles from his flask are replicated all over the writing.

Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, January 2019
Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, January 2019

This is a high-quality piece which is well conceived and nicely proportioned. Although there is complexity there, it is really easy on the eye. More please.

1753. Dean Lane skate park (171)

This collaboration is a real treat and raises the bar by quite some margin. It is by Subtle and Rezwonk and is quite the best collaboration I have seen on this wall this year, in fact possible anywhere in Bristol.

Rezwonk and Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, September 2018
Rezwonk and Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, September 2018

Rezwonk has provided an incredible background of little white symbols – actually I think they are made up of the letters R E Z W O N K, and in amongst them are some bright green ones randomly spaced. Each of the symbols has been dabbed, probably with a cloth, to give them some texture. This really does provide a perfect backdrop.

Rezwonk and Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, September 2018
Rezwonk and Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, September 2018

The writing from Subtle is nothing short of sublime, every single part of it touching on perfect, right down to the hex shading on the S and the T providing texture and interest, but it is the 3D effect that really sets this piece apart. It is hard to look at it and not be fooled into thinking it has been written on a board that stands proud of the wall by a couple of inches. Also some of the accents have picked up the same bright green used by Rezwonk, to provide some read-across between the two.

An utterly outstanding collaboration that takes collaborations to a new level.

1689. Upfest 2018 (29)

Oooh! a stunning wildstyle burner from the Bristol graffiti writer Subtle. I am lucky enough to find his work dotted around the city from time to time and he is right up there with the best writers Bristol has to offer (and there are a lot of them).

Subtle, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Subtle, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

This is a very tidy piece, clean and with some lovely colour choices, which are set off perfectly by the grey background. I wish I could tell you more about Subtle, but thus far I have never met him, and there is not a lot of information knocking about on the Interweb either. He has an Instagram account that will give you some idea of his work. Really nice piece.

1163. Moon Street (38)

Perhaps not so subtle in this instance. Here we have another deliciously clean piece of writing from Subtle on the long hoarding in Moon Street. The orange and dark pink sit really well on the grey background. As mentioned recently, it seems that Subtle has become more active of late and I am seeing his work appearing on Instagram more often too.

Subtle, Moon Street, Bristol, November 2017
Subtle, Moon Street, Bristol, November 2017

I like the way the shading on his lettering is fashioned in such a way that there is a vanishing point somewhere behind and below the piece.Other less accomplished writers do much simpler shading to their pieces, as if a light were being cast from one direction. I’m not sure if that makes sence, but I think I know what I mean.