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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.