752. Upfest 2016 (114)

This is a beautiful wheatpaste by the wonderfully talented What Have I Done Now. The piece contains real pathos, and has resonance with Italian frescos…simply replace the police with Roman soldiers.

What have I done now, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
What have I done now, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016

This is similar in subject matter and style to one of his other Upfest pieces. Great work.

456. Upfest 2016 (53)

Well, here it is, the ‘official’ piece by What Have I Done Now. This Alice in Wonderland work seems to create a graffiti wall all on its own. An anarchic Alice (the piece is called ‘A is for Alice) stands looking at a colourful wall (with drips!) and casts a beautiful shadow. I can’t quite read the words on the left of the picture, but I think it says ‘curiouser and curiouser, (?) I am. Which way do I go?’  which is a slight corruption of the original quote.

What Have I Done Now, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
What Have I Done Now, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016

I am very fond of the Alice in Wonderland story, having read it more than once, but also having listened to the most incredible double album musical version of the book starring Karen Dotrice, Bruce Forsyth, Dirk Bogard, Tommy Cooper and many other incredible actors. I listened to this hundreds of times with my sister when we were kids. This artwork has sent me on a hunt for the album and, goodness me, the Interweb has come up trumps. I cannot tell you how happy I am to be able to listen to the album again after some forty years or so – you can hear it on YouTube here. I thoroughly recommend it. Happy now.

454. Upfest 2016 (51)

There is something dark, political and edgy about What Have I Done Now’s work. His paste ups are full of menace, like this one (called laugh riot) of a riot police figure, waving a US flag and adorned with Mickey Mouse ears. Taking a swipe at some attitudes in a small wheatpaste without words is part of the skill of this kind of street art.

What Have I Done Now, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
What Have I Done Now, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
This piece was situated in the small lane at the bottom end of Dean Lane skate park where it joins North Street. I think some bits of it still remain. I have also found in my Upfest archive his ‘official’ piece for the festival and I will post it shortly.

This is one for the fans of political street art, an art form that seems to be slightly out of vogue at the moment.

416. Upfest 2016 (43)

I like a bit of edge, and at This year’s upfest it was provided in small doses by the brilliant wheatpaster ‘What Have I Done Now’. I don’t know if he had a ‘feature piece’ or whether he had been invited to simply paste up his work wherever he felt like, but there was plenty of the latter on show.

What Have I Done Now, North Street, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
What Have I Done Now, North Street, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016

This small Piece appeared on the corner of a large advertising hoarding, and as with so many of these things, many visitors to Upfest walked straight past it, probably focusing on finding the next art venue. A pity.

What Have I Done Now, North Street, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
What Have I Done Now, North Street, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016

I liked What Have I Done Now’s biography in the Upfest programme, it reads:

When people ask me what kind of artist I am, I say political.As more often than not I’m responding to the machinery of control as it grinds us all up in its gears. I’m trying to remind folk we can simply refuse to stop applying the grease.

Good words, and great art work. More to come.