1987. Upfest 2018 (123)

This stunning shutter piece is by Sake One, a West Coast (USA) artist who has been spraying since the early eighties and was greatly involved with the hip hop culture in San Diego during his youth. There is a thorough biography of the artist on the Upfest website, which is worth a read.

Sake One, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Sake One, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

The piece itself is a highly accomplished work, as you’d expect from an artist of this calibre. The profile of the girl is sensitively painted and blends perfectly with the subtle writing to its right. The tragedy of shutter pieces is that they are rarely seen during daylight hours, even at weekends when so many shops seem to be open…not like in the old days!

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1986. Upfest 2018 (122)

One of the first pieces that I recall from Upfest 2018 is this magnificent hummingbird by L7M, a very well-known artist originally from São Paolo who first picked up a can at the tender age of 13. Obviously practice makes perfect.

L7M, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
L7M, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

The vibrancy and movement in ther piece is remarkable, and the hummingbird itself is absolutely stunning. L7M was one of the featured artists last year and we certainly got our money’s worth as he did another excellent piece a little further down North Street (to follow).

1985. Upfest 2018 (121)

Many years ago I recorded a Supertramp concert from the the TV, using a cassette recorder and microphone pointed at the TV speaker…it was how we did things in those days. My brother was having a small party of teenage friends on the same evening, so my recording was polluted with the sounds of a party going on in the background. When I played the recording back, I heard one of my brother’s friends exclaim ‘wow wee!’ at the start of one of the songs (he obviously liked it), and to this day, I can still hear that boy’s voice in my head, and do so every time I say wow wee. This digression is relevant only in that when I saw this brilliant piece by Peter Sheridan at last year’s Upfest, the voice in my head said ‘wow wee!’.

Peter Sheridan, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Peter Sheridan, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

This was absolutely one of my firm favourites from the festival. There is so much to like… the composition, the colours, the perspective and the brilliant execution. Even the observation of how the bark on this particular type of tree looks (similar to a silver birch or cherry bark). An absolute belter, and for comparison, I have included his unflattering but brilliant piece depicting Teresa May (boo) and Pokeman Go in 2016.

Peter Sheridan, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
Peter Sheridan, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016

1976. Upfest shop yard

I guess this piece by Pelmo is something of an exclusive, as it was painted on the practice wall at the back of the Upfest shop, and is therefore not on public display.

I took the picture a week or two after I had sprayed my own very first effort on this exact wall, and went back to the shop to see if it was still there. Sadly (but not unsurprisingly) my amateurish effort had been buffed over, but I was honoured that it should have been replaced by such a fine artist as Pelmo.

Pelmo, Upfest shop yard, Bristol, July 2018
Pelmo, Upfest shop yard, Bristol, July 2018

I don’t really know what the protocols are around publishing pictures from this wall, but on this occasion I think I’ll take the risk, mainly because I am a big fan of this artist’s work. His work often contains these, oversize and overweight people with a love and sensitivity that can be difficult to gauge without offending. Pelmo does this brilliantly. A wonderful forgotten piece.

Scooj, Upfest shop, 8 July 2018
Scooj, Upfest shop, 8 July 2018

1956. Upfest 2018 (120)

With this wheatpaste we enter the complicated world of large corporates ripping off the work of street artists to use as a backdrop for marketing their goods without acknowledgement or payment to the artists. This is a long-standing and difficult issue and one that is becoming more of a conflict zone as street art becomes more and more popular. This article on the BBC website explains it really well.

Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Face the Strange, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

Face the Strange and many other artists ran a campaign highlighting a particularly high-profile marketing strategy by clothing company BooHoo after they had featured work by Bristol’s own SPZero76 and Kid Crayon amongst others on some London walls without bothering to identify or contact the artists. It is clear from this paste up that this kind of corporate behaviour is unpopular and that payments/acknowledgment should be made to the artists.

This is a minefield if you venture into it too far, so I tend to keep to the periphery of the discussion, for example it has the potential to bring legal protection of potentially illegal activity and how do we square that one? I just wish people would treat others with respect and decency, I think that is all most people are expecting.

1955. Upfest 2018 (119)

I am really taken with this piece and could look at it all day, there is something I find most engaging about it…perhaps it sings to the biologist in me. The artist Decimart is from Jerez de la Frontera in Spain and appears to travel around for his work.

Decimart, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Decimart, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

I am most pleased that I managed to get pictures of the piece at different stages of its development, but am sorry that I missed out on meeting the artist himself. This was a particularly tricky spot to work in, especially on the Saturday, because of the high winds that funneled through this space. In fact some of the boards, including this one, had to be secured more firmly  in place or they would have blown away.

Decimart, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Decimart, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

In spite of the wind and rain, Decimart has managed to produce one of my favourite pieces of the festival. I would dearly love to see him make a return in the future.

Decimart, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Decimart, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

1954. Upfest 2018 (118)

I have just taken a good long hard look at this piece by Harpoart prior to writing about it and the thing that screamed out at me was how much this looks like a stained-glass window study. It turns out on doing a little research on the Interweb that he is not only a street artist, but is also a stained glass maker.

HarpoArt, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
HarpoArt, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

Harpoart has created this stunning owl, at least I think it is an owl, on an approach, set on a wonderfully textured blue background. There is a lovely sense of movement about the piece.

HarpoArt, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
HarpoArt, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018

I’m not sure that I have seen any of this Brighton artist’s work before, I don’t think so, but perhaps I should make a mental note to make a trip to Brighton some day.