Going to Cheltenham for the first time this September was such a treat, especially because so many pieces from last year (2018) were still intact, including this extraordinary and brilliant piece by SkyHigh.
I have seen SkyHigh’s work in London and in Bristol, but I think this piece in Cheltenham is as good as any other that I have seen. I can’t quite be sure that it isn’t a collaboration, because the jungle bookends don’t quite match his style that I am used to. As always SkyHigh spells out his letters with each one being distinct from the next to bring together an ecclectic whole that just seems to work. I have seen other artists try thisd technique, but in my view SkyHigh is top of the division. Sensational piece.
Laic217 has only gone and smashed it again, with this exquisitely summery scene. I can’t make up my mind whether the tree shade on the piece actually adds to the ambience, I don’t think it particularly detracts from it, which is not usually the case with shadows and street art.
This is a masterful piece by Laic217 with many of the features we are accustomed to seeing in his work… the bucket hat and smiley and a skeleton spraying, although the sspray paint seems to have been replaced with sun cream or something more gloopy. The crowning glory of the piece though is the shirt.
Laic217 works so hard on his fabrics and this Hawaiian shirt with tiger motifs has pretty much blown everything I have seen previously out of the water. I just don’t know how he has got the tiger print to look so good using a spray can – quite extraordinary. This is an artist whose work just goes from strength to strength and I just can’t get enough of it.
My oh my! Nick Harvey, who paints his street art under the name Kin Dose, has created something very special indeed for Upfest’s Summer Editions project. Although it is a pity that there is no festival this year, there has been ample compensation in the form of these ‘special’ pieces spread across the city, with more to come over the summer.
I knew that Kin Dose was painting a piece, so took the opportunity to go down and watch him work for a while. I have been an admirer of his work for a few years now, ever since I first became aware of him – it was his cat with black eyes at the Carriageworks that first captivated me. It is so good to be able to watch an artist at work and Kin Dose was sketching out the piece the first time I saw it. I asked him quite a few questions (probably too many) and was able to find out quite a lot about him and his work.
He came to Bristol a few years ago and had been known as both Kin and Dose, so combined both to give him his current street name. He used to do a lot of stencils, but said he has become a bit tired of them and no longer enjoys the fiddly cutting element of the technique. Recently he has been doing a lot more photorealistic stuff, and this one must surely be the jewel in the crown.
He explained that he perfected his technique through using air brushes to create these photorealistic pieces, and he also uses a lot of cardboard cut out shapes to mask areas and create sharp, clean lines. I asked if that was cheating and he said absolutely not, which made me feel a lot better, because I have been using card to create straight lines on my own rudimentary efforts.
The piece took about five or six days to complete, and it is amazing to see how a sketched out blur can turn into something quite magnificent. The piece is almost two paintings in one, the girl’s face and the tiger brought together on a cosmic backdrop.
I’m not too sure what the piece is telling us, but I suspect it is something to do with a connection with nature. The tiger’s head is really stunning and holds a captivating expression. His technique is remarkable, it is almost impossible to understand how he gets such fine detail into the fur and whiskers.
Another triumph for Upfest, and anotherr great addition to Kin Dose’s impressive portfolio.
Another stunning piece for Upfest Summer Editions (in lieu of no festival this year) is this beautiful tiger by Bex Glover. Located on Raleigh Road on the wall of the Souk Kitchen and opposite the Tobacco Factory, this spot is highly sought after and one of the highlight walls for Upfest, so it is great to see Bex Glover having a presence here.
You may recall a recent piece she did near the Arches on Cheltenham Road, and if so you will recognise her distinctive style. Everything I have seen by her has a wildlife theme, and this one is no different, with a spectacular tiger set on a turquoise background with trees, foliage and birds. I particularly like the yin yang motif on the rear quarter of the tiger, if fact, I pretty much particularly like everything about this mural. There is a sense of peace and dignity in the work. Beautiful.
Yet another amazing surprise from a week or two back walking on my way to work was this magnificent collaboration by DNT and Hazard. Previously this wall had hosted a fine collaboration by Soap, Hazard and Tasha Bee.
I haven’t seen any animals by Hazard before, only pictures of people’s faces, so this was definitely a lovely new insight for me. The Tiger’s face is brilliantly painted using as spectrum of white through to black spray paints, and it works perfectly on this wall.
The whole piece is brightened up with colourful writing by DNT on then left and Hazard on the right. The only thing I am n ot certain about here is whether Hazard’s name was by her or DNT. If it was by Hazard, then this is another first for me. Turbo Island is becoming a really great spot once again thanks to the efforts of PRSC and others who are working hard to make use of this wall.
Just opposite the Tobacco Factory in Raleigh Road Justinks painted this captivating tiger with an interesting twist. He describes his art as surrealism and biorealism, and although I think the latter might be a made up word, it certainly works when explaining this piece.
Justinks is based in Malta and works as a tattoo artist (the crossover between the two disciplines is remarkable), but since 2011 he made the decision to go big and create some large street art pieces – a great decision in my mind. It is difficult to know what to make of the subject of this piece due to its distortion of the familiar, there is no doubting the talent of the artist though. Great work.
One of the things I really like about Upfest is that it draws artists from all around the world which in turn gives us a chance to see a spectrum of differing styles influenced by native cultures…and there is a real difference not just an imagined one.
This is a beautiful piece by Moscow artist Antionia Lev who cites amongst her influences feminism, comic books and Henri Matisse. The latter of those influences is apparent in the colours and some of the shapes in this work. Coincidentally this is the second post in a row to contain a Swiss cheese plant leaf…what are the chances of that? I am very drawn to this piece whuich can be found in the back yard of The Hen and Chicken.