4087. Upper York Street (26)

It is good to be posting a piece from Upper York Street… it has been a while, and even better that it is a thing of beauty by The Hass. this wonderful mural appeared a few months ago, but my first photographs of it were not at all good, so I have had to wait a while to get some new ones.

The Hass, Upper York Street, Bristol, November 2021
The Hass, Upper York Street, Bristol, November 2021

On the front of the Bristol Design Forge, this incredible skull is a great improvement on what was rather dreary and drab facade previously. The striking image is centred around the skull, and the patterned shapes cascading away create interest and colour to the whole wall. Another glorious production from The Hass, whose work really is out of the top drawer.

The Hass, Upper York Street, Bristol, November 2021
The Hass, Upper York Street, Bristol, November 2021

3709. Upper York Street (25)

One of the golden rules of enjoying urban architecture and culture is to remember to look up. We spend most of our lives looking at where we are going, or worse, looking at our digital screens, that we forget to look back, look around and look up. If we don’t pause to look and enjoy then we risk the world passing us by, and then, what’s the point of anything?

Gage Graphics, Upper York Street, Bristol, May 2021
Gage Graphics, Upper York Street, Bristol, May 2021

The recent piece I featured by Gage Graphics on the front elevation of a new development is actually one of three pieces (that I have found) on the building by Ollie Gillard. This one is high up on the balcony of one of the apartments and is really quite magnificent. Painting on brickwork like this can’t be particularly easy, and it might have been better to have rendered this section of wall prior to commissioning the artwork however the end result is outstanding.

The piece features a cockatoo wearing a headdress made, ironically, of feathers, and singing into a sparkling microphone. In the distance a mountain rises high and at the top left the sun shines with some birds silhouetted against it. I don’t know what the story is but I definitely like the piece.

3678. Upper York Street (24)

To deliberately misquote a biblical phrase, ‘the Lord taketh away and the the Lord giveth’. The whole area of small businesses and light industrial units in the Upper York Street and Wilder Street area have been knocked down for new developments including housing and student accommodations, depriving street/graffiti artists from some premium walls. The gentrification programme is moving at pace and sweeping all around it aside.

Gage Graphics, Upper York Street, Bristol, May 2021
Gage Graphics, Upper York Street, Bristol, May 2021

It would appear that the developers of this block, which has been build with alarming speed during the coronavirus pandemic, have offered a small gesture that acknowledges the area’s street art heritage with this incredible mural from Gage Graphics. We know what an accomplished artist Ollie Gillard is and his outstanding murals can be found on private houses, restaurants and businesses all over Bristol. This is another fabulous addition to his portfolio that contributes to the whole Bristol USP thing.

Gage Graphics, Upper York Street, Bristol, May 2021
Gage Graphics, Upper York Street, Bristol, May 2021

The piece itself is a wonderful tropical paradise scene in which creatures of the forest admire a circus act being performed by a little mouse in the wooded foothills of a small mountain. Ollie Gillard transports us to a different place with this mural and there is so much detail to look at and admire. Well worth a visit, but does it compensate for the loss of the local street art walls, I guess only partially. It will be interesting to see whether this new build gets tagged and bombed, once all the hoardings come down.

3431. Upper York Street (23)

I wrote about the passing of MF DOOM in a post a few days ago referencing a piece by Mr Klue in St Werburghs Tunnel, and this is another tribute piece to the rapper, this time from Smak and Sled One.

Smak, Upper York Street, Bristol, January 2021
Smak, Upper York Street, Bristol, January 2021

It is clear that MF DOOM was very much loved by the graffiti art community, and I have seen dozens of tribute pieces on Instagram over the past few weeks. This collaboration though is really out of the top drawer. On the left is an outstanding portrait of the masked artist from Smak, and an example of his sophisticated skills can be seen in the colours and how they are used on the mask – an extraordinary metallic effect reminiscent of Fanakapan.

Sled One, Upper York Street, Bristol, January 2021
Sled One, Upper York Street, Bristol, January 2021

On the right-hand side of the collaboration is Sled One’s contribution, and here his wacky and creative imagination goes into overdrive, with an MF DOOM/Thomas the Tank Engine fusion piece… crazy. Only Sled One could come up with a concept like this and execute it with such aplomb. Brilliant!

Smak and Sled One, Upper York Street, Bristol, January 2021
Smak and Sled One, Upper York Street, Bristol, January 2021

All in all this is a truly outstanding collaborative tribute and the best I have seen so far.

2875. Upper York Street (22)

This is one of the last pre-lock down pieces from March this year (photographed in April) that I have (not strictly true, as I do have more, but it is the last one I am posting for a while, before I start on a trip through the archives. Painted by Bnie, this beautiful piece of graffiti writing was sprayed at the same time as Hazard and Smak decorated this hoarding (see yesterday’s post).

Bnie, Upper York Street, Bristol, April 2020
Bnie, Upper York Street, Bristol, April 2020

This, I think, is the crispest, cleanest piece I have seen from Bnie to date and shows off her talents perfectly.The alternation of graded yellow and blue fills is really nicely done and the patterned 3D shading, a bit of a Bnie trademark, is superb. A classy piece.

2873. Upper York Street (21)

I have been to this hoarding three times and each time the light has been overpowering (whatever happened to those overcast days?). The sun reflects off the windows of buildings behind the camera which reflect dappled sunlight all over this wall, ruining any chance of a decent shot. To take these pictures I waited 20 minutes for the slowest-moving solitary cloud to pass over the sun (I guess I was lucky), and then had to act fast.

Hazard and Smak, Upper York Street, Bristol, April 2020
Hazard and Smak, Upper York Street, Bristol, April 2020

The beautiful collaboration is from Hazard and Smak and I think was one of the very last pre-lock down pieces in town. The hoarding surrounds a whole block that has been demolished, bar one single house, which you can see  in this photograph. It is like a scene from the Disney Pixar movie Up.

Hazard, Upper York Street, Bristol, April 2020
Hazard, Upper York Street, Bristol, April 2020

On the left is a stunning leopard by Hazard (Harriet Wood) which speaks for itself really. The whiskers are particularly good, and I like the way the whole thing bleeds into the Smak writing next to it.

Smak, Upper York Street, Bristol, April 2020
Smak, Upper York Street, Bristol, April 2020

Smak consistently produces graffiti writing of the highest order and this is another one to enjoy. Book-ended by leopard spots the mixture of angular and rounded letters is beautifully presented and filled thoughtfully with blues and yellows. Altogether a lovely collaboration.

2868. Upper York Street (20)

A whole block of buildings bar one house on Upper York Street has been demolished and the site is being developed. While this meant that some great graff walls disappeared, they have been temporarily replaced with hoardings. A week or two back some Bristol artists hit the hoardings and this piece from Decay was painted then.

Decay, Upper York Street, Bristol, April 2020
Decay, Upper York Street, Bristol, April 2020

This is a really nice piece from Decay in which he has adopted a slightly different typeface design from the one we are used to seeing. The red line outline provides a nice 3D effect and the painted drips (as opposed to drippy drips) are a nice touch.

This wall is not easy to photograph due to the big sky above it, and afternoons are very tricky indeed – I have been foolish enough to walk down there on three sunny afternoons! This might explain the slightly washed-out look in these pictures.

2619. Upper York Street (19)

A stunning piece by Ments on a great wall. This whole area is being redeveloped, and I fear that the wall may have already been demolished, which is a real pity because it has hosted some really spectacular art. The reduction in available walls to paint in this area is going to be a bit of a challenge for street/graffiti artists and is a pattern being replicated all over the city. It will be interesting to see if new areas become popular painting spots in the future.

Ments, Upper York Street, Bristol, October 2019
Ments, Upper York Street, Bristol, October 2019

The piece is so very typical of Ments’ organic style, and this one has a molten metallic feel about it. The letters spell out MENTS (although the T looks like it is missing). I also get a slight sense of the surrealist Yves Tanguy here, or at least the meltinng shapes and shadows reminnd me of his work. A classy and unusual piece.

2615. Upper York Street (18)

I love it when visiting wheatpasters come to town because during their short stay they tend to paste up several pieces, often in locations slightly off the beaten track. This is a magnificent one from qWeRT continuing the theme of love, with our little googly-eyed character standing at a podium and pointing at a chart. Look a little closer and the chart tells us that there is a growth of love on the streets. A wonderful sentiment, but optimistic at best I would say.

qWeRT, Upper York Street, Bristol, November 2019
qWeRT, Upper York Street, Bristol, November 2019

I often wonder if people who are not interested in street art ever look at things like this, even if only out of curiosity, or whether they simply walk on by without so much as a glimpse. Surely people must wonder what this thing is or why is this here or something, but perhaps not. The next obvious thought is why do wheatpasters do this, as surely they will rarely see the enjoyment/confusion their little contributions make.

Knowing that qWeRT was in the area, I have been looking out for little googly-eye and found five from this session, but there are sure to be more out there. Love this one a lot.

2559. Upper York Street (17)

Sled One is hitting a bit of a purple patch just at the moment, and his Instagram feed is overflowing with recent pieces from all over the country. This is a reasonably recent collaboration with Ments and is located on a wall that both artists are familiar with.

Sled One, Upper York Street, Bristol, October 2019
Sled One, Upper York Street, Bristol, October 2019

Whether it is graffiti writing or character pieces, Sled One simply knocks it out of the park every time, and his writing in particular seems to embrace so many different styles and techniques. Although you can pretty much always identify the work as his, he has a very broad range of letter shapes and styles and no two pieces are remotely the same, unlike some artists who use the same essential building blocks for every piece. A master at the top of his game.