3905. Upfest 2021 75×75 (51)

It is always a real pleasure to welcome Dan Kitchener back to Bristol, and his work is absolutely astonishing, but for Upfest to allocate this wall to him is unfortunate to say the least. At best, perhaps the narrow space where the wall is located reflects the backstreets of a ‘Tokyoesque’ scene, but the detail and interest in this wonderful mural just can’t be fully appreciated from the street, and it is near impossible to photograph. Rant over.

Dan Kitchener, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 2021
Dan Kitchener, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 2021

These busy scenes that Dan Kitchener creates have a strong feel of ‘Bladerunner’ about them, if you know what I mean. Dark, wet, oriental streets with neon advertising and car headlights providing an intoxicating atmosphere and people with opened umbrellas busily scurrying across the traffic. Dan Kitchener gives us a complete urban nighttime landscape.

Dan Kitchener, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 2021
Dan Kitchener, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 2021

When you look closer at the work, you can see how effective the spray paint is for creating the reflections in the wet tarmac, but also in offering great detail in the neon lighting. There is a simplicity about Dan Kitchener’s style that allows your brain to work hard and fully create the scene. It is like an illusion, yes, an illusion that tricks your brain into thinking this is a real scene, a photograph or a memory. Clever stuff. Really evocative.

Dan Kitchener, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 2021
Dan Kitchener, North Street, Bristol, July 2021, Upfest 2021

It is possible to photograph the wall from the roof of the bank, but I have not yet been in the right place at the right time to achieve this, and for most passers by this is similarly an impossibility. Another outstandingly brilliant piece from Dan Kitchener for Upfest.

1791. Upfest 2018 (67)

Probably not seen by many visitors to Upfest because of its location, this magnificent piece by Dan Kitchener was sited on yet another of this year’s new walls. It has to be said that the Upfest organisers, led by Steve and Emma have done an incredible job with finding new locations for artists to paint.

Dan Kitchener, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Dan Kitchener, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

Although I had a map of where all the artists would be, I kind of stumbled upon Dan Kitchener at work. There were very few other visitors watching on, unlike some of the more central venues.

Dan Kitchener, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Dan Kitchener, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

I went back to the site  a week or two after Upfest to be sure that the scaffolding was down and only then could really appreciate the magnitude of this piece. I love Dan Kitchener’s work, and although the style is familiar, it is the little details in his pieces that I find so compelling.

Dan Kitchener, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Dan Kitchener, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

The night sky alight with neon signs in a Tokyoesque city and rain falling on the road and pavements that reflect the signs so beautifully. The whole thing is heaving with atmosphere, bustle, dampness and nighttime.

Dan Kitchener, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Dan Kitchener, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

For me though, my favourite bits are the individual characters under their umbrellas, and Dan Kitchener usually positions one of these closer to the foreground to provide a focal point for the scene. An absolute masterpiece.