4594. Upfest 2022 (34)

I guess it is a host’s prerogative, in this case Upfest, to be able to include lots of local artists to join in the fun of the festival, and it felt like, this year more than any other, that Bristol-based artists made up a significant proportion of all the artists in attendance. This is a brilliant thing, because it introduces all the visitors to the festival to the vast pool of talent we have in the city.

Zake, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022
Zake, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022

Any regular reader of Natural Adventures will be no stranger to the work of Zake, and here we see him at work painting the body of one of his characteristic cartoon-style faces. I like work in progress (WIP) photographs, because they give you a real sense of how the finished article was created, and how the finishing touches can transform a piece.

Zake, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022
Zake, Upfest 22, Bristol, May 2022

As always, it is the mastery of light and shade that makes Zake’s work so special, and he has managed to apply these principles not only to the character’s face but also to his clothes. A fine festival piece from Zake.

4550. Dean Lane skate park (506)

A quick one today – there is a lot going on in the real world – it is not every day that the worst Prime Minister ever resigns, and it felt for a little while late night that he never would.

Zake has been on fire this year, and due to his productivity rate, some of his pieces have been painted over by the time I have got to them. I got to this one in time, at least.

Zake, Dean Lane, Bristol, June 2022
Zake, Dean Lane, Bristol, June 2022

This piece is a fairly typical Zake face with all the fabulous touches he brings to the shadows of the face, giving the whole thing depth and a 3D quality. I suspect that this was rather a ‘quick one’ but nicely finished nonetheless.

4526. The Full Moon

When Zake first appeared on my radar a few years ago, I managed to pretty much keep on top of his work, only rarely missing a piece in Bristol. These days, he is painting so much in so many spots, it is difficult to keep up. I have been meaning to photograph this one in the Full Moon in Stokes Croft for some time, and finally got round to it a week or two ago.

Zake, The Full Moon, Bristol, June 2022
Zake, The Full Moon, Bristol, June 2022

Zake has sprayed this fine monkey in a spacesuit (a theme I have seen before) with a happy moon behind on a gate at the back of the pub courtyard garden. As ever, the faces are beautifully painted and Zake has used his highlighting technique to great effect, with blue shadowing in the creases of the features on both faces. Very nice work from Zake.

4476. M32 Spot (141)

Anyone expecting to see Upfest pictures from last weekend are going to have to be a little patient. It will take me a while to select the right pictures to share and I have about a 10-day pipeline of images already uploaded. Perhaps there will be something in a fortnight or so. Later this week I will have some more Upfest walls for you so at least I am not being entirely negligent.

I am a little distracted today as I leave for Portugal this afternoon on a mini-break with my daughter, who really deserves it. She has had a very tough couple of years and I hope this trip will raise her spirits. Speaking of the Iberian peninsula, here are a couple of pieces by Spanish artist Zake (see what I did there?).

Zake, M32 Spot, Bristol, May 2022
Zake, M32 Spot, Bristol, May 2022

Zake has been smashing it all year and is paining as frequently as I can remember, and these pieces are from his ‘safe space’ M32 Spot, where I first encountered his work a few years back. The pillar piece is where he had a presence for a long time, and a quick glance at his gallery will give you a sense of how much he likes this spot.

Zake, M32 Spot, Bristol, May 2022
Zake, M32 Spot, Bristol, May 2022

Both pieces display Zake’s mastery of light and shade in bringing out features in his cartoon faces. He has a gift for using colour and shadings to create depth to his pieces. Zake painted a fun piece for Upfest which I will post soon, all being well.

Right, that’s your lot today, I have some packing to do. I understand there is quite a lot of street art in Porto… what a coincidence!

4383. Greenbank (39)

This epic collaboration between Conrico, Acer and Zake, an unlikely trio of collaborators, appeared on the Greenbank hoardings about two weeks ago and is truly eye catching in its boldness and presence.

Conrico and Acer, Greenbank, Bristol, April 2022
Conrico and Acer, Greenbank, Bristol, April 2022

I know that pairings of these three artists have happened in the past, but I don’t think I can recall that the three have collaborated together before. Starting at the left hand side, Conrico has provided a landscape backdrop, that actually runs to either side of the whole collaboration. Conrico definitely seems to enjoy painting these landscapes, and they have that paintbrush appearance that he achieves, I think by using banana caps. The mountain range and greenery is in stark contrast to the outstanding ACER writing in the prism colouring and superb letter design that Acer is painting with at the moment.

Acer, Greenbank, Bristol, April 2022
Acer, Greenbank, Bristol, April 2022

It has been fun observing Acer, whose central theme is geometric design, change his ‘look’ several times over the years. This latest rainbow lettering is such a strong statement, and demands to be looked at and enjoyed.

Zake and Conrico, Greenbank, Bristol, April 2022
Zake and Conrico, Greenbank, Bristol, April 2022

To the right hand side of the collaboration is the painting of Zake and Conrico, with the latter rounding off his mountainous landscape which incorporates a rather cheesy full moon in a blue sky scape.

Zake, Greenbank, Bristol, April 2022
Zake, Greenbank, Bristol, April 2022

The Zake portrait is as good as any I have seen from him, and is a reminder of just how far the artist has come over the last two or three years, especially if you look back at his column pieces at the M32 Spot. The features and shadows are outstanding in this face, and there is a movement from Zake’s figurative style towards a more realistic style… watch this space to see what direction his work goes in. What an eclectic and amazing collaboration from these three artists.

4359. Dean Lane skate park (478)

Photographing street art and graffiti isn’t just about the big pieces, the obvious ‘in your face’ high end work. It is about capturing the full spectrum of work and the full spectrum of styles, content, ability and so on. Finding a couple of little gems, like these from Zake, exemplifies the joys of finding and cataloging street art.

Zake, Dean Lane, Bristol, March 2022

Zake is normally known for his bright and expressive stylised faces, full of light and shade to exaggerate the contours of the features. In these two small pieces in Dean Lane, Zake gives us something more like a study, or something you might find in a black book rather than on a wall. It is not only the beauty of these works, but their rarity that is part of their attraction.

Zake, Dean Lane, Bristol, March 2022
Zake, Dean Lane, Bristol, March 2022

I guess that they were both painted in the same session judging from the colour palette. A male and female portrait in subtle tones. Two fine pieces adding to the rich portfolio that the artist has to offer, and something a little different for the viewer.

4247. Brunel Way (143)

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.

Varo and Zake, Brunel Way, Bristol, February 2022
Varo and Zake, Brunel Way, Bristol, February 2022

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.

Zake, Brunel Way, Bristol, February 2022
Zake, Brunel Way, Bristol, February 2022

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.

4233. Dean Lane skate park (459)

This is the first piece I am posting that I photographed after my return from a week away in France, and already my February 2022 folder is bursting at the seams from pieces painted over a seven or eight day period. Bristol has, more than ever in my experience, so many artists painting regularly that it is simply impossible to keep on top of them. There are also a great many new entrants popping up, probably drawn to Bristol because of its graffiti culture.

Zake, Dean Lane, Bristol, February 2022
Zake, Dean Lane, Bristol, February 2022

Of course Zake is hardly a new entrant to the Bristol street art scene, but I still consider him to be relatively recent, with his early pieces still decorating some of the pillars under the M32 motorway. This is a gorgeous double face piece, which is so unmistakably ‘Zake’ in design and execution. His work just goes from strength to strength with each new piece he paints. This was one of two recent collaborative walls painted with fellow Spaniard Varo.

4153. M32 roundabout J3 (373)

The PWA boys were so very busy in 2021, and their numbers swelled with the additions of Nightwayss, Zake and Chill. Few spots in Bristol were untouched by their joyful collaborations, among them this fine wall at the M32 roundabout.

Soap, M32 roundabout, Bristol, December 2021
Soap, M32 roundabout, Bristol, December 2021

To the left is a well crafted piece of writing from Soap with some curious and interesting ideas creeping in, including the slogan, much used by street artists, ‘eat the rich’. The whole thing is liberally sprinkled with cut gemstones, something I must ask Soap about next time I see him.

Zake, M32 roundabout, Bristol, December 2021
Zake, M32 roundabout, Bristol, December 2021

The middle section of this triptych is by Zake with a characteristic face, full of expression and beautiful contours exaggerated by skilful shading and highlighting. The face also has a hand which is operating a little string puppet. There is a story here, but I am not too sure what it is.

Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, December 2021
Face 1st, M32 roundabout, Bristol, December 2021

The final part of the collaboration is by Face 1st and it is a really fabulous bit of writing, sans smiling girl. Lots of gunge oozing from the 3D lettering, which seems to have been a bit of a thing for Face 1st in 2021. There was a fourth part to this collaboration, which was the Nightwayss piece I posted a few days ago, but it didn’t sit as part of the symmetry of these three pieces.

Happy New Year.

4070. Dean Lane skate park (439)

It looks like Zake has been taken under the wing of PWA (Pirate Wall Art crew) recently, at least he seems to be painting a lot alongside Face 1st, Soap and Nightwayss. This is a superb and fun collaboration between Face 1st, Soap and Zake, and plays to their collective strengths.

Soap, Face 1st and Zake, Dean Lane, Bristol, November 2021
Soap, Face 1st and Zake, Dean Lane, Bristol, November 2021

I like this collaboration, because it is a merger of all three artists, with the outer two smiling girls from Face 1st, the laughing scull/mouths from Soap and the jolly centrepiece from Zake. All of these characters set on a boiling bubble splash of orange, red and pink. A joyful and fun collaboration, which I don’t think lasted too long – nothing much does on this wall these days.