With so much amazing work being produced in Cheltenham and around Bristol at the moment, it can be easy to overlook the constant churn of what I would call typical Bristol pieces being added to our walls day in, day out. One of the most prolific of these Bristol artists is Face 1st and this is a superb piece from him down at Turbo Island.
This piece has been on the ‘Island’ for quite a while now and is a cheery delight for anyone driving along the Cheltenham Road into the centre of Bristol. Unfortunately my photography skills are not quite so cheery and this shot is a bit blurred. I am having a few problems with my camera at the moment which I really need to sort out. Anyhow, don’t let the poor quality of photograph detract from the uplifting piece from Face 1st.
In the last twelve months or so the board at Turbo Island has attracted some fabulous pieces by greatly talented artists and now it is the turn of Tom Miller with his debut piece on this wall. And what an amazing start.
Tom Miller has been turning out so many pieces since lock down and I have struggled to keep up with them. Some are for fun like this one, but he has also worked on a couple of commissions which is really good, because an artist’s life is a tough one and paid work can be hard to come by.
There is an abundance of colour and form in this abstract piece and typical of the artist there is a great deal of energy and activity. So much to look at and so much detail, it can be hard for the brain to decipher exactly what is going on, but this is a great strength that Tom Miller has. It is not to everyone’s taste, but I love it.
Clearly, this piece is more about the subject than it is about the artist, however as a chronicler of street art in Bristol I reserve the right to acknowledge and praise the artist Hazard for painting such a poignant and striking piece for #blacklivesmatter.
This is yet another wonderful and uniquely Bristolian piece from this brilliant artist. How lucky to have had two new pieces from her in recent weeks.
Of course, the Bristol BLM demonstration has hit the headlines at the weekend for the pulling down and throwing into the floating harbour of a statue commemorating Edward Colston, a Bristol slave trader. This lawless act has caused consternation at the highest levels of government, but I have to say it was completely understandable and rather predictable. The Bristol constabulary were amazing in the way they dealt with the demonstration and prevented anything flaring up by keeping a light touch approach to policing. One really has to ask what a statue commemorating Colston was doing in the centre of town in this day and age in the first place.
Without denying our history (a dangerous avenue) perhaps it is time to have a review of our commemorative monuments in today’s context and to mothball or place into historical museums statues that are inappropriate today.
This one is not for the easily offended, and if graffiti cock ‘n’ balls are not your thing, I think you might need to move on pretty swiftly. This is a rather mischievous collaboration between The Cat Came Back and DNT on the Turbo Island wall.
On the left is the cock – one of graffiti’s most enduring images – that is part cock, part cat. I can’t quite make out the writing, but I think it says ‘I’m Cat’. You can make up your own minds about this one.
On the right is another kind of robot sort of creation from DNT. The whole collaboration looks like it was painted in a bit of a hurry or under the influence of alcohol/other. A bit of fun for some.
Oh my goodness, Sled One is literally (almost, figuratively too sort of) on fire at the moment, or at least painting fire, with this bright character toasting a cartoon marshmallow over a hot flame.
This piece is more contrived than might at first be apparent. The subject is a direct nod to the bonfires that are regularly started on the little ‘green’ on Turbo Island usually by revellers, homeless people or addicts of one sort or another. I think that this is a remarkable piece by Sled One in so many ways. Technically it is brilliant, but equally brilliant is the little story that is unfolding in front of us.
I don’t really know how it is even possible, but I think this young artist is just getting better and better and I’m not sure he is even close to peaking yet. I hope this purple patch we are seeing from Sled One continues well into the year.
Turbo Island Has seen quite a bit of action in the last month. First there was a reminder to vote in the election from DNT (not posted), then there was a happy Christmas message from Rezwonk and Decay, and then early in the new year, Mr Klue gave us this lovely abstract piece.
Nothing lasts long on this hoarding before it gets tagged, and I was a bit slow in photographing this one. I do think though that it is a great place for street/graffiti art and I would like to think that this will become a high quality high turnover space for local artists. It certainly is in a fantastic spot with a whole ton of cars passing by every day, and I think that there is an element of curation from the Peeople’s Republic of Stokes Croft.
Mr Klue has included a Mad Hatter’s hat, which is a motif used reasonably frequently in the artist’s work. Great to see a flurry of Mr Klue pieces this winter, because as many will know I am an admirer of his nicely understated work.
Of all the wonderful street art pieces that I write about on Natural Adventures, by far the most tricky are the ones linked to dates in the calendar, such as Christmas and Halloween. This is because I am pretty much always running with a backlog of posts and because I tend to write them in advance. This means that if I take pictures of a wonderful collaboration like this one by Decay and Rezwonk on Christmas Eve (which I did) it takes several days and sometimes weeks to process and write about them. What I am saying is that my system is not very flexible and I am not very agile in my approach. No matter, I get there in the end, and the artwork is no lessim pressive for the delay.
I couldn’t get a clean front-on shot of this piece at Turbo Island, because there were several homeless people sleeping just in front of it and I didn’t want to be insensitive to their privacy (not that you have any sleeping in the open air).
The collaboration itself is yet another from these two regulars who have painted together many times this year and seem to enjoy it – I think they paint together under the crew name HTM, but I don’t know what it stands for yet. The snowy scene is beautifully crafted by both artists, but it is the twinkling lights that top the piece off perfectly, and I love the socket and plug too, a great touch. A near perfect Christmas piece (I think it has already gone).
Here at Turbo Island we have two Mutatee faces for the price of one. One has been painted over while the other had been stuck to the wall more recently at the time I took this picture.
On the left the face is almost invisible, especially from a distance as it blends into the wall. What is rather comforting is that both of these little faces will probably be here for some time and undergo reasonably frequent facelifts whenever the wall is repainted.
The more recent face on the right has retained its vibrant blue colour that we have come to know and love in Bristol. I have now found quite a few of these little installations, but am rather hoping that there are plenty more to find.
FTurbo Island is a dynamic spot in Bristol. It is in the heart of Stokes Croft and attracts a spectrum of visitors, many high or drunk, who use the space to sit and while away the day. It also has a nice wall that the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft (PRSC) try to curate, but tagging is a real problem here which is a great shame.
I decided to go ahead and post this beautiful portrait by Hazard in spite of the tags because I don’t think it had been up for much more than a day when I photographed it. I spoke to Hazard about it when I met her at the Cheltenham Art Festival and she was fairly philosophical about it and said ‘well it’s Turbo Island, isn’t it?’.
The portrait is another in shades of blue and red and is really beautiful. There is something even more annoying about the tags that are indiscriminate in their destruction, can’t the DBK lot appreciate beauty? Are they incapable of leaving some beautiful things alone? Untouched it would have looked a little bit like the pieces below:
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.