3748. Upfest 2021 75×75 (3)

I have a feeling that this was the first of this year’s Upfest 75×75 pieces (75 walls painted in 75 days in lieu of a full blow street festival over a long weekend) and is by the magnificent artist Will Barras who is no stranger to Upfest.

Will Barras, St Francis Road, Bristol, May 2021, Upfest 21
Will Barras, St Francis Road, Bristol, May 2021, Upfest 21

There is a lot to love about this piece, in particular the local references to rock climbing, spray-painting and of course the moonlit Clifton suspension bridge. The night scene is painted very cleverly in muted colours to give it that dusk or nighttime feeling which works so well, and the mural seems to suck the light away from its surroundings.

Will Barras, St Francis Road, Bristol, May 2021, Upfest 21
Will Barras, St Francis Road, Bristol, May 2021, Upfest 21

The perspectives and energy of the cyclist seem to create a sense of energy and movement. There is a lot of dynamism in the piece, in spite of its dark tones. Replacing the Caro Pepe piece that existed here before was always going to be a big ask, but Will Barras has risen to the challenge and given us something unusual and rather special.

1464. Upfest 2017 (163)

Where do I begin with this piece, a collaboration from Will Barras and Xenz? Not that we knew it at the time, but this is the swan song for this premium wall on the Masonic pub. The second hand car business has sold up and developers will be moving in soon.

Will Barras and Xenz, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017
Will Barras and Xenz, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017

I spoke to Will Barras Before he started this piece, and he felt rather intimated by the size of the wall, by the previous piece (Pichiavo) and by collaborating on something this large. However, he faced his demons and got on with the job.

Will Barras and Xenz, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017
Will Barras and Xenz, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017

My first impression was not favourable – I didn’t like it. I felt the wall was way too big and there was so much going on it was difficult to engage with it. It has taken me several months to change my views, but change they have – I have become a fan.

Will Barras and Xenz, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017
Will Barras and Xenz, Upfest, Bristol, July 2017

I’m not sure why I think this, but I think it is called ‘she’s a waterfall’ – a song by The Stone Roses – anyhow I might be wrong about that. The two artists with similar styles, but different subject matter preferences (Xenz – fantasy worlds and birds, Will Barras – bikes and abstract stuff), have combined to create a huge picture story which contains beauty, hope, fantasy and of course a bike. A fitting farewell to this stunning wall.

Luis Seven Martins (L7M), North Street, Bristol, May 2016
Luis Seven Martins (L7M), North Street, Bristol, May 2016
PichiAvo, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
PichiAvo, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016