3038. M32 roundabout J3 (226)

One thing you know for sure is that when you find a piece by Subtle, you know it is going to be an absolute cracker, and this one is a cracker with a cherry on the top. It was painted during a paint jam a week or so back alongside so many other great Bristol artists, and is the first piece I have seen from him since the start of lock down.

Subtle, M32 roundabout, Bristol, June 2020
Subtle, M32 roundabout, Bristol, June 2020

The colours, fill, decorations and 3D shading contrast really well and contribute to this vibrant and feisty work. I’m not sure what ‘outsiders gents club’ refers to, but it is probably a reference to the fellow paint jammers on the day. Like the rest of us, Subtle has been impacted by coronavirus and has mentioned it on his last couple of pieces.

2831. Brunel Way Bridge (30)

From the moment I saw this piece I have had a terrible earworm and as the Coronavirus pandemic has worsened so has the earworm. To avoid the perilous infection don’t read the small writing under the ‘U’ of Subtle.. oh oh, too late… you’ve done it now! This is a cracking and topical piece by Subtle under Brunel Way in one of his favourite spots.

Subtle, Brunel Way, Bristol, March 2020
Subtle, Brunel Way, Bristol, March 2020

I have seen several Coronavirus-related pieces lately and some are humorous and some less so. It is difficult to know where the lines are in making light of the pandemic – this is uncharted territory. In my view Subtle gets away with it in this piece, mainly because I now he is a great bloke and also it is a rather good piece.

Subtle

A gallery of brilliant graffiti writing from Bristol’s Subtle.

All photographs by Scooj

Subtle, M32 roundabout, Bristol, June 2020
Subtle, M32 roundabout, Bristol, June 2020
Subtle, Brunel Way, Bristol, March 2020
Subtle, Brunel Way, Bristol, March 2020
Subtle, Brunel Way, Bristol, March 2020
Subtle, Brunel Way, Bristol, March 2020
Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, January 2020
Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, January 2020
Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, January 2020
Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, January 2020
Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, July 2019
Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, July 2019
Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, July 2019
Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, July 2019
Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, July 2019
Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, July 2019
Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, March 2019
Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, March 2019
Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, January 2019
Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, January 2019
Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, January 2019
Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, January 2019
Rezwonk and Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, September 2018
Rezwonk and Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, September 2018
Rezwonk and Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, September 2018
Rezwonk and Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, September 2018
Subtle, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Subtle, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Subtle, Moon Street, Bristol, November 2017
Subtle, Moon Street, Bristol, November 2017
Subtle, Armada Place, Bristol, November 2017
Subtle, Armada Place, Bristol, November 2017
Subtle, Armada Place, Bristol, January 2016
Subtle, Armada Place, Bristol, January 2016
Subtle, Moon Street, Bristol, April 2016
Subtle, Moon Street, Bristol, April 2016

2815. Brunel Way bridge (29)

In the rather damp environment under Brunel Way and immediately next to the River Avon, Subtle has painted another splendid piece in one of his favourite spots. There is no need ever to wonder who the artist is with his pieces, because his letters are always legible, clear and bold.

Subtle, Brunel Way, Bristol, March 2020
Subtle, Brunel Way, Bristol, March 2020

I like his colours used here and the alternation of outline from black to white on each of the letters. I am not too sure what OPEX refers to… time for a quick Google search… OK it is operational expenditure, but I don’t think that is what Subtle is referring to here. I think it is definitely time for a Subtle gallery, don’t you?

2730. Dean Lane skate park (276)

Hurrah! Seeing a wall like this just makes me so happy. A collaboration from two outstanding Bristol artists Kid Crayon and Subtle. Such a nicely prepped wall and great colour selection. Oh I do like this.

Kid Crayon, Dean Lane, Bristol, January 2020
Kid Crayon, Dean Lane, Bristol, January 2020

On the left is a fabulous Kid Crayon piece which sadly had been ‘got to’ by some idiot before I managed to photograph it. What possible joy can a person get from spraying over the face and eyes of a nice piece like this? Of course, apart from the character (and return of the floating crayon) the other outstanding feature is the pine car air freshener forming the A in crayon. Typically KC and typically appealing.

Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, January 2020
Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, January 2020

On the right Subtle’s contribution is superb. Beautifully proportioned letters creating the word Subtle are combined from two colour schemes, one with white shades and one with black, the whole lot coming together neatly. I don’t know who Sophy is… why would I? But I love the shout out to her. This is a beautifully presented collaborative wall.

Kid Crayon and Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, January 2020
Kid Crayon and Subtle, Dean Lane, Bristol, January 2020

2715. St Werburghs tunnel (137)

It took me a while to get a clean shot of this wonderful piece by Subtle because on my first two visits there were cars parked immediately in front of it. I ask you… cars parking in the tunnel! what is the world coming to?

Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, January 2020
Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, January 2020

Anyhow on my third visit I managed to get some nice shots, although as always, the artificial light played havoc with my camera settings and I had to do a little bit of post-production work to try and convey the true magnificence of of the piece.

Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, January 2020
Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, January 2020

I understand Subtle has had a lay-off from painting walls following an accident, but he is well now which is great news, and he appears to be painting like there was no tomorrow. Two things I particularly like about this one is the skull and the drips, both beautifully crafted and enhancing the piece enormously. More to come.

2704. St Werburghs tunnel (134)

Pre postscript- sometimes you can get things so wrong, and try to read more into a piece than is going on. Everything below is my own speculation and assumptions going into overdrive. The word is XODUS and not FOIS. It was painted opposite Kleiner Shames and Subtle hence the recognition. I’m not sure who XODUS is, but I feel a bit stoopid. Never mind, I don’t expect anyone will read this nonsense anyway…

Aah, the genius of two brilliant artists conjuring up this amazing and highly unusual piece. It would seem that a Kleiner Shames visited Bristol over the Christmas period and hooked up with his old mate Subtle. The pair both produced pieces in the St Werburghs tunnel, and obviously had a bit of time left over to turn out this stunner.

Kleiner Shames and Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, January 2020
Kleiner Shames and Subtle, St Werburghs, Bristol, January 2020

Signed FoiSubtle, the collaboration presents with two distinct styles. My guess is that the letters FOIS are by Kleiner Shames, he always writes these letters but never quite like this, and the characters, a wolf holding a rabbit by the ears are by Subtle, in a bit of a departure from his writing. There is a message on the piece written backwards that says ‘one tin wonders’. I would think this refers to the two colours (plus black) that were used for the piece.

I cannot tell you how much I love this. It is quirky and retro, the characters look like early Disney creations. As I always say when Kleiner Shames comes to town, come back soon.

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

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.