On the Saturday of Upfest 2016 I was not sure who the artist was on this wall. He was high up on a scaffold tower, and seemed only to have started his piece.
The wall in Greville Road is one of the least photogenic ‘art walls’ in Bristol. It is high up and surrounded by bright skies with the sun during the day behind the wall and so the face is usually in shade. The previous occupant was a hand by Jody.
Even on the Sunday and the Monday the wall was only half done, so I was still in the dark about the artist. I returned a few days after the Festival and the full picture was revealed…a most fantastic work by Cosmo Sarson.
His ‘Breakdancing Jesus’ remains one of the most celebrated pieces in Bristol, and this is equal to it. The colours of this work are wonderful as the figure floats under the multicoloured surface and his half-naked body is reflected in swirls. This really is one of the highlights of the festival and so worth waiting for.
After seeing all of his wonderful wheatpastes in Stokes Croft whilst ‘on tour’ in the UK, it was a real treat to find this fabulous Tian work at Upfest this year. This time his work was not a paste up, but nevertheless unmistakably a Tian piece.
I love his work, and in this piece there is a continuation of his use of sepia tones for the main subject. The whole work shows how accomplished Tian is using different techniques and materials. I am not too sure who is in the picture, but I guess she is famous.
I was rather hoping that while Tian was in Bristol, he might do another series of wheatpastes, but so far I haven’t found anything. I very much look forward to his next visit.
I am a huge fan of China Girl Tile, and was so excited to hear that she would be at Upfest 2016. I had seen lots of her work on social media, but nothing in the flesh, so it was a real treat not only to see her at work, but to be able to say hello and stop for a quick chat.
I caught up with China Girl Tile while she was finishing off her work in the drizzle on the second day of the festival. The wall she was working on is in the back yard of the Hen and Chicken and in really great company (Fake, Cosmo Sarson…and others).
I am glad she chose foxes for this installation, because as many of you may know Bristol is famous for its urban foxes. In fact some research a few years ago showed that the most densely populated group of foxes on record were in and around my allotment. Their numbers fell due to mange and the introduction of wheelie bins with strong lids. I digress. I love foxes.
Her reference to the Campbells soup tin is not only witty but is incorporated so very well into the unfolding story.
Her work is unusual and refreshing and executed with such skill and dedication. The tiles are really beautiful and enchanting. Please can we get more China Girl Tile work in Bristol.
Having recently posted a piece by Mr Sle7en, I thought it would be good to share his contribution to Upfest 2016. Again, Mr Sle7en incorporates the third eye into this piece and uses the strong colours associated with his work.
The writing says ‘Free Sesk’ which is a reference to the recent custodial sentence dished out to Jack Keeling, a well known tagger and graffiti writer in Bristol. I featured one of his throw ups on New Year’s Day this year. It seems a little unfair that he has been jailed, when there are so many other taggers in town, but I guess this happens from time to time and they all know the risks they are taking.
Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that I am particularly fond of wheatpastes. First it was Kid Crayon that got me interested and then 23 Magpies. More recently I have discovered the magic of Phoebe New York. Always there though, has been the work of D7606 a recent convert to the world of street art. Take time to read this excellent interview with D7606 by London Graffiti Interviews, in which he explains his name and describes his transition into wheatpasting.
When D7606 first pasted up this “Twiggy” post box, there was nothing else there, just a clean red box and his Twiggys. By the time I came to photograph it a day later, it was accompanied by no end of stickers…it would seem that a great many sticker enthusiasts enjoy the freedom that Upfest affords. You will spot also that some horns and glasses have been added to the left hand Twiggy.
I really like D7606’s work, and have spotted it all over the place so look out for more posts about him coming soon.
Tucked away in the garden of St Francis Church on North Street were a collection of artists who had prepared their works on boards 1.2m x 1.2m. Lurking here in one of the festival ‘backwaters’ were some wonderful treasures.
This magnificent piece by Swilfa, a London artist, captures Bob Marley really beautifully. What is different about his pieces is that they are created using a combination of acrylic paints and old pieces of vinyl records. If you look carefully you will see that the hair is styled from some 40 vinyl records (according to Swilfa’s Facebook page).
Dan Doodies is a street artist, designer, illustrator and painter form the Slough/London area. His piece at Upfest 2016 was one of the most memorable of the whole event. There is a rush of colour in this psychadelic piece that has a whiff of the Beatles and in my mind ELO about it.
I love this bold and striking piece and somehow it seems to represent all that is best about Upfest bringing artists together from all over the country/world to show off their works. I still feel with every passing day, what a privilege it is to live in Bristol and to have such a vibrant street art culture.