It was a version of this stunning stencil in Frogmore Street in Bristol, together with Kid Crayon’s wheatpastes that drew me into the extraordinary world of street art about five years ago. It is called ‘The Big Deal’ and represents the drug dealing that JPS witnessed in his home town of Weston-super-Mare.
Knowing what the piece represents adds a layer of sophistication to the two young and ‘innocent’ characters that appear to have appeared from the 1960s (we all dressed like this in those days) although the box over the shoulder of one of the children might be a wartime gas mask. I cannot explain just how much I love this piece, which is on Carlton Street in Weston-super-Mare, not only because of its quality of a piece, but also of how it engaged directly with me and drew me in. My favourite.
Last August I took a day trip to Weston-super-Mare, just me and the dog, while my wife and daughter were holidaying in Greece and my son was doing his own thing. I had contrived to go to WSM so that I couls photograph the street art. The dog didn’t know that and was just grateful to have a whole day out sniffing and running. Most f the pieces in WSM are by JPS and this ‘young girl throwing a strop’ is one of the best in my view.
The story about this piece from JPS is that the young girl is having a strop because she has spilled her paint before she was able to paint the wall. There is so much to like about the composition, for example incorporating the drain pipe, let alone the quality of the stencil itself. Such a wonderful piiece. I can thoroughly recommend a trip to WSM for the street art alone.
More from JPS in his home town, with this delightful young gladiator stencil. I don’t know the back-story to this piece, but there surely is one. The young bespectacled gladiator is holding up a keyboard for a shield, is this a metaphor? Is the boy hiding behind his technology? Is the character someone we know, a famous person?
As ever the stencil is stunningly well executed and the quality is really noticeable in the detail on the keyboard. If you are a fan of JPS’ work then a trip to WSM is an absolute must, and part of the fun is in finding these stencils dotted around the town.
Since acquiring a dog two years ago, I have managed to turn taking him for walks to my advantage, visiting street art hotspots in Bristol and beyond in the name of exercise duty. One such ‘walk’ was in the form of a day trip last summer that he and I took to Weston-super-Mare. Here he is photobombing a fabulous Yoda stencil by JPS. The dog actually only makes rare appearances on Natural Adventures despite being with me for most of my photography sessions.
Having just seen the final film of the Star Wars saga, it feels appropriate to post this piece at this time, and JPS has as you would expect turned out a masterful piece he has. The pictures are a bit bleached out, an artefact of me getting used to photo editor and not making a great job of it.
Incidentally, the dog pee on the Yoda was absolutely not the work of my animal, he has far too much respect for street artists.
I don’t know Weston-super-Mare all that well, in fact I think I have only ever been there three times in my whole life. The most recent trip was just me with the dog and a camera. As I looked for street art, I tried to make a note of where I was or take pictures of street names, but this little back alley managed to keep off my radar, so I am calling it back alley.
The rather troubling piece at the end of the alleyway is a leprachaun painted onto a black door by JPS. The stencil is one layer, but most effective in this rather creepy place. I expect that the character is from a horror film, but not being a fan of the genre, I don’t know which one.
There is a fascination among street artists with Tim Burton films. Maybe it is because the characters in them lend themselves so well to being copied and spray painted or maybe there is some kind of connection with his slightly macarbre subjects. In the heart of Weston-super-Mare is this superb stencil of Emily from Corpse Bride.
The artist is PZY whose work is often sited near the work of JPS and Fawn – these three seem to be fairly tight, and there seems to belittle room for other artists in town. This multi-layer stencil is beautifully worked and is about half life-size. Some fine work indeed – it would be great to see some of her pieces in Bristol.
All artists derive their influences from somewhere. Sometimes these influences are overtly acknowledged and deliberately expressed in their work, and this stencil by JPS is one such example. There is more than a simple nod to Banksy in this piece called ‘balloon girl’.
There used to be a stencil of balloon girl (with red balloons) in Park Row in Bristol, but I don’t think it is there any more. I think, more than any other artist, Jps’ work is often mistaken for the work of Banksy, and it is not hard to see why. Love this piece.