Like so many of the artists in Bristol, Varo seems to go through very busy periods and then goes quiet for a while, before returning with a burst of activity. I managed to catch up with Varo briefly just as he was finishing off this extraordinary piece. The conversation was a little fragmented, because Varo’s English is a little bit basic, and my Spanish non-existent. We discussed the surreal and crazy nature of the piece.
Normally Varo’s work is quite easy to identify, but this piece is completely off the wall and had I not been there, I’m not sure that I would have been able to identify the artist. It feels like a comic-book Picasso, if you get my meaning, but to try and work out what the story is might just do my head in, so I am not going to attempt to interpret it. I prefer to stick with the ‘crazy’ descriptor. It is great to see something so utterly different and challenging.
For a little while Varo was a quite quiet, but over the winter and into spring he has become very busy indeed, often pairing up with compatriot and painting friend Zake. It seems that everywhere I go at the moment, I see a new throw up or bull head, but with this piece down in the skate park, he has really raised the bar, in my view.
There are actually two Varo pieces on view here, the upper one has been there for a while and is a classic piece of Varo writing, but the new piece below it is a beauty. A clever symmetrical design spelling VARO, with the vague appearance of a bull with horns and a little halo. The colour blending has worked really well between the pink and peachy colours, and the whole thing has a sumptuous deep 3D shadow in red. A fine offering from Varo.
This is a rather special collaboration from a pair of Spanish artists who seem to like painting together, Varo and Zake. Their styles are rather different, but their collaborations seem to gel really well together, maybe thanks to a common background and slight interface.
To the left are some rather nice and colourful letters spelling out VARO. The letters kind of start with a dragon figurehead to the left and a different colour for each letter. The grey 3D shading is really nicely worked and bordered with a fine red line.
To the right is one of Zake’s familiar faces, although this time it is attached to a body with the classic spray paint theme going on. I love Zakes faces that major on shadings to create depth and contours around the features. A classy double act.
I have a feeling that this fine little collaboration by Spanish duo Zake and Varo was painted on or around the Dean Lane Hardcore (DLH) event a couple of weeks ago. It is especially noteworthy because although Zake has been painting a lot recently, Varo has been on the rather quiet side for some time.
The face is obviously by Zake and yet another fantastic piece in his expanding repertoire. Once again, the piece is given a 3D appearance by some clever colour schemes, shading and highlighting, which is something of a speciality for Zake. The character has a thought bubble with the words ‘SK8 or Die’, which is definitely playing to the right audience in this spot.
Varo’s graffiti writing is altogether something different. He definitely favours these large blocky letters spelling out VARO, and with this artist, less is definitely more. He doesn’t go for intricate, swirly or patterned fills, but just keeps things simple. I love the turquoise middles to his letters that with some clever shading appear to hover above the letters. Good stuff – and as a bonus you get to see my dog’s rear end.
Varo has really hit on something that totally chimes with me – painting the same basic mega-tag of a bull in a variety of forms in different places. A simple idea that lends itself to the conditions of the spot chosen to paint and the amount of time available. To take this approach one step higher would be to paint them in the style of different artists, for example David Hockney, Matisse or Dali. That could be a lot of fun.
This particular bull, tucked away in a doorway in Leonard Lane is the full beast, including a tail rather than just the head, which we are more used to seeing. This is quite a raw piece, but is of interest because one knows that the artist is capable of doing much tighter work when the environment permits. A decent throw up.
I am really enjoying the stylistic variations of Varo’s bull at the moment. He is an artist who has emerged on the Bristol scene over the last couple of years, and his mega-tags are becoming more sophisticated and experimental with each outing.
This bull is part of a larger collaborative spread with other artists including Kool Hand and Daz Cat (to follow). This time the bull’s head is in profile rather than face on and has a rather cheeky grin. I think that Varo is on to a great theme here, painting the same subject in a variety of styles… endless material and interest value. I can’t wait to see more.
It’s that man again Varo with his recognisable mega-tag of a bull’s head, no doubt inspired by his Spanish heritage. This piece is a variation on his throw-up version and is rather an attractive looking beast with a rather foppish haircut.
There is something of Picasso in this piece, deliberate or otherwise and although it is nothing like it, it reminds me of Guernica, or his bull’s head sculpture made from a bicycle seat and handlebars. I like the cheeky boldness of the piece. Great fun.
Varo is a really interesting artist whose work is most recognised for the large and dominant bull super-tag that he paints around the place, but this somewhat betrays his talent as a great writer. This colourful piece appeared on the M32 roundabout a week or two back and shows off Varo’s talent.
The left hand side is a beautiful piece of writing, spelling out the name VARO, with a quite unique 3D shading that gives the whole thing a sense of movement and energy. On the right is a fabulous 3D rendering of his bull tag which has something of the exotic about it – maybe something to do with its Spanish creator. A wonderful And energising piece.
Looking back at the Poland v Spain paint jam at the end of May, this piece was of particular interest to me. It is by Varo, who I met and had a good chat with even though his English is a little patchy and my Spanish rather more so.
While we are talking the penny dropped about who he was, and that although I have seen some of his work before (typically a kind of abstract bull) I never really knew who he was. Well that has all been put right now. This is a fine block writing piece spelling out VARO set on a black background to give it full contrast. The letter style is unusual and rather nicely done.
This is not the last piece by Varo that I will be posting, I’m sure and I will have to dig out some others from the archive.
So far, since the lock down restrictions were first eased, there seem to have been an extraordinary amount of collaborative sessions, I guess because artists have missed each other through the lengthy coronavirus isolation. In this case the artists combining their talents are Varo and Saik.
Varo is an artist I met for the first time a couple of weeks back when he was painting alongside his Spanish compatriots during a paint jam on the M32 roundabout. I haven’t posted any of his work before, but that is all going to change from this moment forward. This is a nicely done piece spelling out VARO and has a natural, organic feel to it.
Saik is no stranger to Natural Adventures, but it has been quite a long time since I posted anything by the artist. This piece of graffiti writing is really nicely done, nice and tidy with an interesting fill in shades of green. An unexpected and interesting collaboration under Brunel Way.