This unusual piece by Tom Miller is an advert for a band called Mama Jerk and the Lady Fingers. At this point I should like to thank Tom for introducing me to something wonderful and new. I am not very good at keeping up with the contemporary music scene in Bristol, I don’t go out much and when I do it is usually to visit friends or to eat out. Live or loud music I find great fun but a bit isolating, because my hearing is getting worse and I can’t hear anything people say to me and I have not yet learned the fine art of lip reading. Back to the point. In researching this piece, I checked out Mama Jerk on the interweb, and guess what… I loved their quirky fusion music. Furthermore I fully recommend that you take a look at or listen to their track ‘mountain’ you won’t regret it. This piece celebrates their second EP.
If I am brutally honest, this is not the best piece by this brilliant artist, but I forgive him wholeheartedly for introducing me to something I think I might enjoy for some time to come. The writing is ok, but the creatures are a little bit more what we would expect from Tom Miller and have an added element of mystery or menace about them with the white crosses over their eyes. A great outcome from following my passion for street art.
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.
Anyone who can tell me what is going on here (other than the artist himself) deserves a medal, because it is wild and complex. Tom Miller has an exquisite touch and fertile imagination, a potent combination for creating vibrant and sometimes provocative street art.
Tom Miller left this piece unfinished for quite some time with a little note in the bottom right hand corner saying ‘work in progress’, but I have to say that the only difference I can make out between the unfinished and finished version is his signature.
The piece is in two very distinct and contrasting halves. On the left are several faces looking a bit like masks and typically distorted in a surreal way that Tom Miller does so well.
On the right hand side are two large intertwined and rather frightening dog heads and just above them a series of smaller ones. There is real threat and menace here which seems to be at odds with the unsuspecting mask faces to the left. A truly dream-like or even nightmarish piece from Tom Miller, executed with enormous skill.
There is one artist in Bristol whose work is guaranteed to bring a splash of colour and an interesting perspective and that is Tom Miller. This piece has appeared recently opposite the Riverside Garden Centre and is a bit of a stunner.
There is a bicycle theme on the left hand side which is full of movement and which appears to metamorphosise into a fairly typical abstract explosion of colour and form the further to the right of the piece you look.
The transition is worked so skilfully and perhaps exaggerated by splitting the piece up into three sections (I had to do this because the fence where it is painted is so long.
Ever since I first saw my first Tom Miller piece I have marvelled at his extraordinary talent and how he has brought his unique brand of surreal fine art into the street. In my view an artistic genius.
I realise that this piece was not an official Upfest piece, but I don’t really care about that, because it is by one of Bristol’s finest artists, Tom Miller, and was painted in Dean Lane during the Festival – it counts in my book.
I managed to hook up with Tom Miller a couple of times over the festival, indeed we cowered from a heavy rainshower together on the Saturday morning under one of the skate park ramps.
Yet again, Tom Miller has absolutely ‘nailed it’ as he seems to do with every piece he creates. I only wish that my photography was up to the standard that he sets with his murals.
It is often difficult to fathom out what exactly is going on in Miller’s pieces and indeed, I think it is often open to interpretation – maybe only the artist really knows what this piece is about, but it incorporates all of his surrealist elements and the bright colours he uses. What is incredible about Tom Miller is that he seems to be just as adept with spray cans on walls as he is with paint brushes in the studio, and the end results are always unmistakably Miller pieces. Bravo two times over – I love this piece.
It is simply not, not possible (thank you Manja Mexi Movie) to admire the bravery and talent in the work of Tom Miller. This transformation of a container that is more used to hosting quick burners is quite remarkable. Sadly, it has since reverted, but for a few fleeting moments class had arrived in this Dean Lane spot.
Unfortunately I arrived a little too early to see this piece completed – there is a little footnote in the bottom right saying ‘Back 2moro’. I think it was almost completed, but when I returned only a few days later it had been over-sprayed. It is part of the game, and all artists know the score, but there is something disrespectfully self-destructive about writing over good art I feel.
Tom Miller confounds with his surreal explosiveness, connecting a dream world with a tangible one. The colours he has used and the overall effect is like nothing else I have ever seen in Dean Lane. I do like it when highly competent and trained artists take to the streets, it adds to the incredible diversity of free art. Bravo! Tom Miller.