Way back at Upfest 2016, I bee W was the first street artist at a festival that I had the courage to speak to, shortly before I spoke with Dice 67 (who I later went on to conduct my first, and so far only, interview). Turns out that the vast majority of street artists are lovely people and even at festivals make time for a quick chat.
I bee W is a stencil artist whose stencils are often placed on carefully crafted or textured backgrounds and so become part of something bigger than the stencil alone. There is a story here, but I’ll be damned if I know what it is. A lady in a bikini bookended by a pair of seahorses. It is a pretty piece albeit slightly surreal. I have a few more of his pieces lurking in my archives, so I’ll have to dig them out.
That rounds off this series of ten Upfest 2018 catch up posts, but I’ll be doing more over the autumn and winter as there are still so many I haven’t yet posted.
This is a magnificent piece by Deeds, so full of movement. Really stylish and classy. Although I am familiar with the name of the artist, he has been spray painting with stencils since the 1980s, I am not very familiar with his work.
In this piece The stencil of the horse appears to have been done in staggered sections to give it that feeling of movement, and the bright blue strips just seem to emphasise it. In the WIP shot above, you can see that he worked on the piece from the top down on the already prepped red background. A classy piece.
I have already posted a very striking Upfest piece by Brighton-based Mazcan but this one slipped a little under my radar until I recently started sorting through another batch of pieces from last year’s festival.
This is a superb work that looks like it has just dropped off the page of a rather dark comic strip book. There is drama and movement in the way the hair sweeps across the portrait… what is going on here? Her eyes give nothing away. Lovely piece.
It is curious, but in my mind’s eye I thought that I had already posted this piece by Guts, but my foolproof system tells me that I haven’t. So here we have a bright psychadelic piece which would seem to be about consumption. I am definitely a fan of Guts’ work and I think that he comes from the same school of colour use as Loch Ness.
There are plenty of his characteristic motifs, such as the little skulls littering the piece, but a feature I really love, and I know it is not the point of the piece, is the little ‘My Name Is’ sign where he has put his signature. This emblem was adopted by other artists on this set of hoardings at Upfest. Nice one Guts.
Deuz is another artist who was at Upfest 2018 who didn’t appear in the Upfest official programme, which is always a bit troublesome for me because I have to do my own research rather than rely on others. Deuz is a French artist who cut his teeth by writing graffiti on the streets of Marseille in the 1990s. He went on to study art and now his work is largely portraits of Africans, his ‘faces’ that were inspired by hip hop culture.
I don’t know who Nina Gabriel is but then again I can’t know everything. I would hazard a guess that she is probably a musician. The nicely worked greyscale piece was in the back yard of the Steam Crane, which since Upfest 2018 looks like it might have changed hands, and these hoardings have since come down, which is a pity.
I do like pieces that are black and white with one additional colour, there is something about them that helps to focus the eye and grab the attention. Such a piece can be fussy without being confusing. This Upfest 2018 piece by Wietse is a great example of this colour genre.
The globe-trotting artist was born in Bruges, Belgium is inspired by History, nature and travelling. Here he has painted (with brushes) a unicorn being attached, I think, by what looks like a pair of panthers. It is the kind of scene that would lend itself very nicely to illustrate the politics of the UK right now. It is in your face, beautiful, savage and feels like quite an outspoken piece. Whatever the narrative, I do rather like it.
Before this piece, I had never seen any by Hoakser before and although he is a well-known artist in his own right, I don’t think he has had much of a presence in Bristol. He comes from Birmingham, has been spray painting since 1998 and he is entirely self-taught, which gives me great hope. Hoakser has a very nicely presented website which is well worth a visit.
I am pleased to see that this fine character piece has a tangible reference to the Simpsons which was a central theme for Upfest 2018. I am guessing the scene is a bit of a self-portrait or possibly a portrait of King Robbo to whom this is a tribute piece. Nicely done.