Tom Miller is an artist I have taken a great deal of interest in ever since I first encountered his unusual surreal pieces in Stokes Croft and in The Bearpit back in 2016. At that time he was still studying his craft at the university, but it was clear that he was creating something rather special. Some of his work is captured in this gallery.
What is most pleasing is that he is now getting a number of commissions and his artwork is appearing on large walls around the city, but he is keeping it real by continuing with his street art work too. This magnificent piece on one of the most prominent walls in Bristol took him a couple of weeks to paint and during that time I stopped to catch up with him.
Tom is genuinely one of the nicest artists I know, he is so modest and always seems to enjoy a bit of a chat. I have to say that I was concerned for his safety when he was painting this, because it was incredibly windy and the scaffold tower was wobbling much more than would have been comfortable. He survived though and what an amazing job he did.
This piece, as you would expect, is so full of colour and detail. Some might call it busy, but I would call it expressive. Lots of body parts combined with flowers and other familiar shapes and objects fill the space, and then there is some respite from this crowded scene to the right of the piece with two less frenetic panels.
The focal point is the face in the middle, and I wonder if it might be a subconscious nod to a piece that stood here for a few years of a large portrait of a girl with a yellow face.
As I said, the two panels on the right offer something different from the rest of the piece, with some landscape and cosmos to calm things down a bot. The far right section reminds me a little bit of the Pink Floyd record sleeve of ‘Dark Side of the Moon. This epic wall is a great addition to Bristol’s iconic street art culture and is one that people leaving the city on the M32 can’t fail to see.
I made a special effort to photograph this piece as quickly after I saw it because I never got a clean picture of its predecessor by Tom Miller that had been there for a long while on account of the difficulty of parking nearby. Lazy me. As a result, this one from 3Dom was not going to get away from me.
Surprises are always good, and this piece from 3Dom was certainly that. No warnings, no Instagram, it was just suddenly there one morning. The piece itself is typically crazy and surreal and has a joyful charm about it. 3Dom has signed it with his Instagram handle which makes me wonder if it was perhaps a commission, or at the very least he would have sought permission to do it. I think it is an expression of weather and space, with elements such as clouds, a rainbow, the sun combined with stars (see Orion’s belt?) a galaxy and a rocket. Nicely painted and bright and colourful. Thank you 3Dom.
One of the few pleasures of being the family taxi driver is that I get to visit various parts of Bristol that might not ordinarily be on my normal routes. I stumbled across this old garage piece by 3Dom when dropping my son off at a friend’s house recently.
Although probably several years old, the surreal piece is in reasonably good shape. There is a lot going on here, and the story is far from clear so I’ll not try to second guess it, but rather leave it to your imagination. It felt great to find this hidden gem.
One of the nicest walls in Bristol has just had a makeover. The whole wall in Cowmead Walk in St Werburghs is quite awkward to photograph, so I have split the collaboration by 3Dom, Sepr and Feek into three separate posts of which this is the first. Painted in deep rich colours, this 3Dom piece is truly outstanding.
3Dom’s character is perched on the edge of a hamster wheel in the corner of a room with some strange pink and green plants growing up from the carpet and a Swiss cheese plant thrown in for good measure. The character is, in 3dom style, a composition of shapes and forms assembled in a surreal way into ‘human’ form. Typically the character’s legs are clad with stripey trousers. The tubes coming out of the cube head have a smiley and a sad face on them, although I’m not sure what this is depicting. There is so much detail in here that you could spend a long time looking at it – feel free to go right ahead. Such quality.
I have always intended to post this huge piece on the wall of a garage in Surrey Street by Tom Miller, but just never got round to it. Cometh the moment, cometh the man. This early piece (2016) is typical of the explosion of ideas that comes from this creative dynamo and his colourful style.
There is no point in tryig to fathom out a story here, because although there almost certainly is one, it could take a lifetime to work out. All sorts of body parts and possibly an environmental theme are represented here in this surreal piece.
At the time, I don’t recall there being much of a fuss about this piece, and I think it remained under the radar for quite a long time. Alas it has now gone.
At last I have found it and better late than never. Thanks to the lock down restrictions, my driving to street art spots has been replaced by my walking the dog/exercise walks and when you are on foot so many more possibilities are open to you. It is easy to nip down this lane or trundle over to that place without worrying about parking, one way streets etc etc.
I have been aware of this piece by 3Dom for a couple of years now, and without realising it have been agonisingly close to it without ever finding it, that is until last week. I could scarcely hold back my exclamation of joy and sense of relief that it is still in great condition.
The work itself has an aesthetically pleasing symmetry to it and although there is nothing specifically 3Domish about it, it is instantly recognisable as one of his pieces. My life is now complete (well that might be a bit of an exaggeration but I do feel a tremendous sense of relief).
The strangest thing about walking in Bristol at the moment is the curious juxtaposition of avoiding other people, by walking out into the road or crossing it altogether, and yet saying hello to them by way of an apology for having to avoid them in the first place. These are indeed curious times.
This is an extraordinary paste up that I really ought to have posted some time ago, but it slipped through the net until I had a little look back through old files. It is by the Bristol-based artist Gvnly and presents his surreal style with real confidence.
At first I mistook this for a regular poster and with peripheral vision it looked like a kind of generic ‘circus coming to town’ poster. But as always with these things taking a moment to stop and look has its rewards. There is a lot going on in this colourful piece and there is quite a dreamy type of theme going on. I’m not sure what media were used in the painting, nor do I quite understand how it was turned into a poster (I’m not very good at understanding that kind of stuff). The wheatpaste stayed up for quite a long time before finally seccumbing to the elements. Something a little different from the norm in Bristol, and all the better for it.
I’m on a roll now with another wheatpaste to share with you, this one from a session about a month ago is by Jimmer Willmott who went out on a spree with Kid Crayon. Jimmer’s surreal style is instantly recognisable and obviously influenced by great artists such as Magritte.
I think that this might be an original hand drawing that he has pasted up, rather than a print which is what many wheatpasters do. If it is, it makes the piece all the more valuable to me at least. Earlier on in the year at a small art event I remember talking to Jimmer Willmott and Kid Crayon expressing my thoughts that there was not enough wheatpaste work in Bristol and that it was a bit of a neglected art. I would like to think that in my small way I might have in part influenced this paste up session. I probably didn’t though.
During the early part of September I was away quite a lot and I didn’t have much time in Bristol to go to my usual haunts to find street art. This is always a little tricky, because FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) kicks in. Because the turnover of art in some places is so high, you can miss an awful lot of good work over the course of a fortnight. Of course I missed quite a lot, but as soon as I was able, I walked and drove to as many spots as I could, including Stapleton Road. As I was slowly driving along, I became aware of a pinky-purple flash on my left with my peripheral vision, but when I turned to look, I had passed whatever it was. I had a hunch it might be something I would be interested in so pulled into a parking space and walked back. I was rewarded with this magnificent new piece by Tom Miller, which I had seen on social media, but had no idea where it was.
I have posted many works by Tom Miller and have a gallery of his amazing pieces on Natural Adventures. This piece though has something really special about it. It was painted on a wall that had a few tags on it, but was nothing to write home about. Tom Miller has transformed it into a focal point for this little stretch of Stapleton Road in Easton.
So, what is going on in this piece? If I am honest I am not too sure. His style is rather surreal and busy and I think there is a lot of symbolism and personal baggage in the piece. The central character’s face has been replaced with enlarged eyes and a house and to the right is a pony or something like that, a toy perhaps. The whole piece is extremely colourful and like many of his works, full of movement. I expect one could spend hours trying to analyse and deconstruct the piece, but that is an academic exercise that might yield utterly incorrect conclusions. Perhaps the best way to understand the piece is to ask the artist himself, which I will do next time I see him. Brilliant and unusual piece.
When you see some street art that is a little weird and creative in Bristol, it is likely to be the work of 3Dom or Sled One and if you are particularly lucky it might be a collaborative effort from both of them. This is one such collaboration and weird and creative it is too.
The mash up of Mr Potato Head and a balloon is not the sort of image that comes readily to mind, but seems to come with such ease from these two. I think that the division of labour of the work was 3Dom on the left and Sled One on the right, and maybe a couple of other bits shared out equally.
This piece, together with a whole bunch of other ones was all part of a late birthday jam for 3Dom, and looking at his Instagram feed, it looks like they all had a really great day – lucky for us really.