My hundredth post on Upfest 2018 and I have been saving this piece to mark the occasion. Sometimes in this game you get to see something very special, and when I heard that Odeith was coming to the festival I had high hopes. This piece not only met, but far exceeded my expectations, and it was a real privilege to see this master of anamorphic street art at work.
I have seen a lot of Odeith’s work on social media, most of it of insects and spiders stretched across a corner, but this is the first time I have seen anything on three walls and under water. The effect is quite astonishing and how well it plays tricks with your eyes and mind. Even with the artist standing in the middle of the space, disrupting the effect, it still looks amazing.
The water level is so brilliantly devised that it feels like the viewer is swimming about a foot or so under the surface, and the water distorts the back of the scene where the crocodile’s head breaks the surface.
The walls of the tank are composed of large stone block letters, spelling out ODEITH. Not only is the concept of this piece extraordinary, but the skill and attention to details, light, shade texture and so on is second to none. I think that in most people’s eyes, this was the piece that stole the show. A technical masterpiece.
Antonia Lev is one of those lucky artists who managed to paint two walls at Upfest 2018. The first, in The Hen and Chickens yard I covered a few posts back was complemented by this hoarding piece in South Street Park.
Her work has a really interesting feel to it and the colours are in the bright pink/purple/blue range which makes it stand out from the crowd. I think there is a story going on here, part of which is a social media commentary, which is rather pertinent as the artist (on the far left of the picture) is herself using the keypad on her smart phone in these pictures. Great to get an introduction to this artist from Russia.
This gateway is a particular favourite of mine and has played host to some lovely pieces by 3rdeye and Aspire in previous Upfests. This year it was the turn of Dr Love, an artist from Tbilisi in Georgia.
The piece is a large stencil, and you can see just how tricky it is to put together a stencil of this size from the picture above. Looking at this stencil, I can’t quite work out the layering, but that is why I write about these things rather than try to do them myself.
Dr Love likes to spread love with his work and I think with this piece you can sense the tenderness of a skeleton holding a butterfly on his finger and the message is conveyed loud and clear with the large word LOVE across the middle of the piece. Sadly the work only lasted a few months before it was tagged, and I believe that a Muckrock piece is there now, but I’ve not managed to get down to see it yet.
I think that this Paul Monsters piece counts as an Upfest work, even though it was completed a few days before the festival itself. Upfest simply wouldn’t be the same without Paul Monsters, and I mean that quite literally, as he is at the core of the organising work and biography gathering for the festival and works in the Upfest shop in North Street.
Paul Monsters is a master of creating these geometric 3D patterns which he does both as small prints or enormous walls like this one. What was preciously a bland and unremarkable wall has been transformed into a thing of beauty which lifts the mood of the area and those that look upon it.
In this piece he uses his trademark colours of orange, brown, purple, green and blue using shades of these colours to create the 3D effect. A remarkable wall from a lovely chap.
I think that this was my favourite wall of Upfest 2018. Situated just off Dean Lane and on the margins of the Upfest main drag this new wall played host to four or five astonishing pieces, including my favourite piece of the festival by Kowse One. This magnificent and rather different piece is by Ione from Tenerife, which is interesting, because it shares the same understated tones used by Feoflip, a fellow Canary Islander, who came to Bristol in 2016 for Upfest and sprayed many pieces all around the city.
I rate this piece very highly in part because it is so unusual. It seems to borrow heavily from the Cubist and Surrealist genres and there are elements that remind me of Picasso and Miro. The figure also makes me think of Mary Poppins, but that might just be me. Subtle and interesting, I love this piece and love the wall.
Krishna Malla was late to the party this year, which was a good thing for me, because I managed to catch up with him just as he was packing up. Even though he seemed to be in a bit of a rush, he still made time for a chat. I remember his brilliant snail and hare work from Upfest 2016, so it was good to meet the Cornwall-based artist this time round.
This piece embraces fully the Simpsons theme for this year’s festival. The theme does seem to have divided opinion, but I sit firmly on the side of ‘love it’. I like the concept and execution of a mister Burns palm holding up the five fingers, each one a member of the Simpsons family. There is something rather od about it, but I rather like that. It would be great to see Krishna Malla return next year.
I love this stunning piece by Mose78, and I think the guy with the beard seems to rather like it too. Mose78 started off as a graffiti writer in the mid 1990s and transitioned into street art, although he doesn’t restrict himself to the spray can.
I have taken a look on his website, and I wouldn’t say that this piece is all that typical of his work, which is actually really diverse. Having said that, I really like this one, there is something rather compelling about it. It would be great to see more work from this Birmingham-based artist.