Set in a wall on a hill very close to where I work is this beautiful old weathered door. It is the perfect ‘secret garden’ door, but it is not the secrets that hide on the other side of this wall that grabbed my attention, rather it is the small stone sculptures that pepper the outside of the wall along its length.
The artwork is by the late Bob Ballard, an artist from Bristol, and I found this tribute on the Society of Graphic Fine Art website which tells you a little more about him:
Bob Ballard was born in London in 1944. He had worked full time as an artist since 1989, when he won a Goldsmiths Travel Bursary (drawing and studying Romanesque art in Spain). Thereafter he was awarded many prizes, including the Bruckhaus Derringer Award from the Royal Watercolour Society. Bob’s work encompassed abstract and representative styles in a wide range of media, such as sculpture, print, oils, watercolour and pastels. Later in his career he was a senior lecturer at the University of the West of England, and senior tutor and research associate for COREOX, University of Oxford. Bob was a council member for both the Society of Graphic Fine Art (SGFA) and the Bath Society of Artists (BSA). He lived in Bristol with his wife Maggie.
Bob Ballard attached a number of small sculptures to the wall which the curious would notice. Little gifts of artwork that brighten up a day. I love this wall, I love the door and I love the sculptures.
I found this quote from Bob Ballard on his Facebook feed, which I rather like:
“ In my work I always try to place the unknown next to the known. Defamiliarisation is the essence of art. The closer you look at it the greater the distance from which it stares back at you.”
I love, love, love this one from NEVERGIVEUP in Moon Street. Regulars will know that I am very fond of his bunnies, but it is as much to do with the location and environment as it is to do with the artwork that attracts me to this piece.
The door in the wall leads to a derelict old building and gets sprayed regularly, but there is something about this rabbit that just seems to be utterly representative of how a little bit of art can bring a ray of sunshine to a grotty area. It stands out even more because of the way it contrasts with the wall and graffiti either side of it. All good.
First: I can’t believe that I have been doing doors for 26 weeks, half a year, it feels like no time at all.
Second: I expect that the phrase ‘when is a door not a door?’ has been used many, many times in Thursday Doors, but it feels appropriate here.
Third: I have not been as attentive this week as I might usually be due to a great many domestic distractions.
This door, in the heart of the old city in Barcelona, has for whatever reason been filled in. I have included it in the Thursday Doors series though because this is a common practice, and I find a great many of these ‘not a door any more’ kind of doors.
I love the textures of the bricks and cement surround and the inclusion of an iron ring, replacing where a knocker might once have been. If you look carefully, even a ‘not door’ can’t escape the clutches of graffiti and at some point in the past bunny ears have been added with the iron ring doubling up as a bunny nose.
The ‘not door’ is sandwiched between a more typical graffitied door on the left and a sliding gate on the right, offering more doors for your money (and plenty of contrast).
For those of you not keen on Laic217’s work, I apologise. I, as you should know by now, am a big fan, and as long as he keeps painting them, and as long as I keep finding them, I will keep posting them.
This is a quick one from a little while back in a narrow cycling alleyway that runs alongside the M32 between the St Pauls and Eastville junctions.
A wall, an obscured face, a bucket hat, a tracksuit, letters…it is all here and all so beautifully done. I’m not at all keen on the yellow background, but I am just being a bit picky.
Quite by chance I came across Laic217 spraying over one of his old pieces in Moon Street on my way to the ‘paint jam’ on 8 April. This was indeed a bit of a red-letter day for me, and I hadn’t even arrived at The Bearpit yet.
I have been really wanting to meet Laic217 for some time, because his work is so different and distinctive and he is so incredibly prolific at the moment. Now was my chance to say hello and ask him a few questions.
He seemed to know who I was (probably from my Instagram account), so I didn’t need to explain too much why I was interested in his work. He implied that he tries not to be influenced by other artists or what people write about him, preferring instead to plough his own furrow. He tends to spray alone and does not belong to any local crew. I picked up an accent which to my untrained ear sounded German.
When I asked him how can he be so prolific, he stated what I suppose is obvious, he said “It is what I do and I love to do it”. This is another skull face and bucket hat combo (I was glad to see he sports such a hat) with a gold tooth, joint, brick wall behind sun glasses and shattered smiley. It is all there and all absolutely wonderful.