I had kind of given up on the final three Upfest 75 walls in 75 days pieces, especially as the 75 days was up some time ago, but hope and excitement were restored when Sled One painted this beautiful piece for the event a couple of weeks ago.
Above the General Store in North Street, the intricate mural features a snakes and ladders theme, with a medieval twist hinted at by the hand-held daggers and ornate sleeves. I did not notice the Advance Pest Control van in the photograph until posting this piece, but I think it adds a little something to the scene.
As we would expect from Sled One, the mural is executed with class and precision and is a fine contribution to Upfest’s summer event. So now there are only two pieces left for me to find. One, I know where it is, the other is a mystery.
Farrah is an artist who I have only been aware of only for a short time, after her stunning Upfest piece from earlier in the year. Since then, I have noticed a lot more of her work about the place, possibly because I am now following her on Instagram and have been looking out a bit more.
This outstanding mural in Weston-super-mare was part of the Westonwallz initiative, ably assisted by Upfest, and is called Oxygen. Definitely a topical piece given the COP26 talks at the moment. Farrah’s works are inspired by the natural works an have a calm and inspiring quality about them. This particular piece seems a little incongruous sited above a pizza and kebab joint, but perhaps it brings with it a touch of class, which is never a bad thing. A stunner, for sure.
On the wall adjacent to the recent Irony piece that I posted last week is this Upfest 21 contribution from John Curtis, a well-known Bristol artist who seems to be as comfortable painting large walls as he is with his canvasses.
John Curtis’s USP is recreating Bristol urban landscapes, full of movement and light and chiming with locals because the subjects are usually familiar landmarks. This piece beautifully captures the M Shed and the old cranes that stand to attention on the harbourside.
This sight would warm the hearts of any native of the city and is beautifully captured. A fine contribution to the 75 walls in 75 days event.
This leaves me with only three more pieces to post from Upfest’s 75×75. Two of them I know about, but haven’t yet been able to photograph, but the last one evades me, so I am going to have to do some detective work before I can complete the whole set.
We have been so spoiled this year with the Upfest 75 walls in 75 days event, and in particular with some extraordinary pieces by Irony. This is the second Irony piece from the event, and is an absolutely extraordinary portrait.
Irony is known for his female portraits that it is difficult to keep your eyes off. The photorealistic detail and depth is beyond astonishing, and puts this artist right up into the world top league alongside other artists like Bubblegum in Barcelona.
Looking deep into those eyes, it is impossible to know what the girl is thinking, and as with many of his portraits, her emotions are not easy to read, inert almost, and yet she is wonderfully animated. I think the blue hair is a touch of genius that works so well with this wall and this spot.
I made several attempts at photographing this wall, but it is not easy as the immediate front yard has become a bit of a building site and there are two rather unhelpful black wheely bins that are totally in the way most of the time.
In my view, this is one of the best pieces to appear in Bristol in 2021.
This morning’s post is something of a landmark for me. It is my 4,000th street/graffiti art post on Natural Adventures, not something that I planned all those years ago with this first post.
It is fitting, I think, that one of the most impactful street artists to hit the walls of Bristol is the subject of this milestone post – Insane51. This is probably ‘the’ feature wall for Upfest and gets an awful lot of footfall and exposure. You might recall the Greta Thunberg piece by Jody that preceded this one.
Apart from being visually stunning as it is, Insane 51’s work is designed to be viewed through 3D colour filter glasses that allow you to see the two pictures that combine to make the one mural. You can see what I mean if you look at this article from the the Bristol Post.
The artwork itself is best described by the artist, taken from his Instagram feed:
🔴 ‘DREAM” 🔵
⚫ NYX holding SELENE 🌕
⚫ Nyx is the Greek goddess of the night. A shadowy figure, Nyx stood at or near the beginning of creation and mothered other personified deities such as Hypnos (Sleep) and Thanatos (Death), with Erebus (Darkness). Her appearances are sparse in surviving mythology, but reveal her as a figure of such exceptional power and beauty that she is feared by Zeus himself.
🌕 Selene is the goddess of the Moon. She is the daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia, and sister of the sun god Helios and the dawn goddess Eos. She drives her moon chariot across the heavens.
An extraordinary piece by a world-class artist. On to the next 4,000 posts.
Although access to this wall can be a little limited, it is possible to photograph it reasonably well – I haven’t yet been to the spot when the gate was open into the yard, so my pictures are offset, taken over/through the fence. It is a new wall for Upfest, and they really must be congratulated on sourcing so many new walls for this year’s extended event.
The mural, entitled, ‘World on Fire’ is by Farrah and my first impressions are very much that the work resembles the style and colours that Vincent van Gogh might have used, although this is purely an abstract piece. It is beautiful, and the eye is pulled around the piece, drawn into the battling and swirling patterns and colours.
This is the largest piece I have seen by Farrah, and the first to have made it on to Natural Adventures, but definitely not the last. I don’t know too much about the artist, but her informative Facebook page is worth a quick look, and her Instagram profile offers this insight:
Paintings inspired by the natural world and delicate ecosystems of our beautiful planet, from fragile coral reefs 💦 to the lush green rainforests 🍃.
You may recall that earlier on this year, at the start of the Upfest 75 walls in 75 days event, several beautiful new pieces were vandalised in one night. This piece from Jody was one of the pieces. I have been holding out for a long time hoping that Jody would come back and repair the damage, but so far no dice. So my impatience has got the better of me and I am sharing the piece on Natural Adventures in its vandalised state.
I took the feature picture only a day or two after it had been completed by Jody. Pictures of the clean piece are a bit of a rarity, and consequently haven’t been shared much on social media. Jody is a well known Bristol artist who is an old friend of Upfest, creating some amazing walls over the years. This Samurai is a real beauty and an eye-catching piece, but I can’t help getting angry every time I see it because of the writing and the smear on the nose. Some would say that it’s a jungle out there. I would say that there are some idiots out there.
Even with the damage to it, this piece is utterly outstanding – and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Jody will repair it one day.
UPDATE – A day or two after I posted this piece it was repaired, so I returned and took some pictures of what the piece should have looked like:
Wouldn’t it be great if Irony painted more often in the west of England… oh, hang on a minute he seems to be turning up everywhere at the moment, something surely to be celebrated. Maybe we could tempt him to move to Bristol and treat us with his work more often, that would be good.
This magnificent cockerel piece above Sultan’s Kebab House is as brilliant as it is unexpected. What? Who? Why? The piece bursts out of the ordinariness of its surroundings on a bright yellow background and demands attention. What a fabulous addition to this seaside town, known for its street art culture generated mainly by JPS and augmented by Banksy’s ‘Dismaland’ exhibition from a few years ago.
The piece is part of an event orchestrated by Upfest for the town, more information taken from the Upfest website is as follows:
Europe’s biggest street art festival is coming to Weston this summer.
Upfest will join forces with Weston Town Council, local artists and organisations including Culture Weston to create a series of murals on buildings across the seaside town this month.
Up-and-coming local artists from Weston, as well as artists from further afield, will be taking part in the project.
They will paint 10 different murals over 10 days, mainly focused in and around the town centre.
The initiative has been funded with a £20,000 grant from the town council.
There will not be a set theme, with artists being asked to come up with their own designs.
The murals will form part of a permanent trail around the town, and it is hoped this will help to bring people into Weston. A shortlist of artists for the project is now being drawn up.
Of course, 10 walls in 10 days is going to be a bit of a challenge for me to record, living a little bit away and only visiting occasionally, but I will try my best.
I think that this piece, more than any other, perfectly demonstrates how a piece of urban art, free for all to enjoy, can lift the spirits of a place, create a sense of pride and identity and drive inward investment. A perfect win win situation.
Well now we are getting in to the final 10 pieces from Upfest’s 75 walls in 75 days event and I am getting a little edgy, because my ‘collector’ gene will be working overtime to ensure I get every single one, and that might be difficult.
I don’t normally associate Silent Hobo with Upfest events, so it was really nice to see that he has participated in this most unusual of years with this enormous mural in Ruby Street.
Of course, with so many murals in residential streets for this year’s event, parked cars have been a real problem. I think I might suggest to artists that next year they start their pieces four feet above the ground, or that they paint cars in the lower portion so we don’t actually miss anything (now there’s a creative concept).
As with all of Silent Hobo’s excellent observational work, he captures the mood of ordinary people, especially youngsters so well. One could do a celebration of Bristol, just by showcasing all of his pieces. It would seem that he is very proud of the city and its citizens and his murals are a wonderful record of the city in the 2000s.
Another thing that Silent Hobo portrays beautifully is pets and wild animals. Here he rewards the viewer with a fabulous cameo of a little boy and his dog in a red armchair, a delightful scene. Yet another outstanding wall from Silent Hobo and for Upfest.
There is something rather special about this Upfest 2021 75×75 piece and once one understands the context, the whole piece falls into place in one of those ‘of course’ moments. If I told you that the artist, Martin Glover, is deaf and that the piece is called SIGN, you can probably work out that the hands spell out SIGN in the signing alphabet. Clasping the little finger (S), touching the middle finger (a,e,I,o,u), fists G and two fingers on the palm N – three fingers is M.
The piece is therefore not only rather clever and informative, but it is technically very nicely painted, and all around the edge there are hands signing in yellow. I expect the whole thing spells out a message, but I don’t know what it is.
There really is no limit to the creativity that street art offers both the artist and the viewer, and this piece simply proves that. It is a shame that it is tucked away in a corner of the Tobacco Factory car park where not many people will have the chance to see it, but it is worth the effort to seek it out if you are up for it.