4860. River Avon (36)

Zake, River Avon, Bristol, November 2022
Zake, River Avon, Bristol, November 2022

I should know by now, not to bother with going down to Sparke Evans Park and the River Avon on sunny days. The results are always patchy at best. But there is another school of thought that says always photograph what you can when you see it, because it might not be there the next time you visit. I don’t know if this lovely portrait piece by Zake falls into that category, as I haven’t been back to take a look.

Zake, River Avon, Bristol, November 2022
Zake, River Avon, Bristol, November 2022

Zake has been enjoying himself recently with these rather more cartoon style pieces that still contain his mastery of light and shade, but have introduced a little bit more in terms of character and emotion. This is a fabulous piece painted alongside PWA crew mates.

4840. Brunel Way (182)

Face 1st, Zake and Soap, Brunel Way, Bristol, November 2022
Face 1st, Zake and Soap, Brunel Way, Bristol, November 2022

One of the great pleasures in life is coming across a PWA collaboration, and this little beauty painted under Brunel Way recently was a real treat. It is a well-balanced triptych, with Face 1st on the left, Zake in the middle and Soap on the right. It is an interesting observation that most of the time when Face 1st and Soap get together, they nearly always paint this way round – it must simply feel comfortable that way.

Face 1st, Brunel Way, Bristol, November 2022
Face 1st, Brunel Way, Bristol, November 2022

Face 1st’s piece in chrome is a nice simple girl’s face with the letters FACE neatly spaced around the edge, with a deep black 3D drop shadow and neatly bounded with a thin green line. Basic stuff done really well.

Zake, Brunel Way, Bristol, November 2022
Zake, Brunel Way, Bristol, November 2022

The middle section, or ‘filling of the sandwich’, is this unusual portrait piece by Zake. I am not too sure what is going on here, but it looks like the brain of the blue character is being expelled through his mouth, and that the brain appears to have a character all of its own. Quite bizarre, but beautifully painted with all the fine shading attributes associated with Zake’s work.

Soap, Brunel Way, Bristol, November 2022
Soap, Brunel Way, Bristol, November 2022

The symmetry is completed with another chrome piece, this one by Soap, to the right, reflecting the basic design of Face 1st’s on the other side. The central element is Soap’s characteristic mouth/skull ‘super tag’ with the letters SOAP encircling it. All in all, a wonderful piece from the PWA boys to brighten up our dull existence.

4646. Dean Lane skate park (520)

Zake, Conrico and Daz Cat, Dean Lane, Bristol, August 2022
Zake, Conrico and Daz Cat, Dean Lane, Bristol, August 2022

I have not missed my routine tours around Bristol photographing street art, while I have been away, it is good to have a break from routines, but it is one of the things that will soften the blow of returning home.

Zake, Dean Lane, Bristol, August 2022
Zake, Dean Lane, Bristol, August 2022

Shortly before leaving Bristol I managed to photograph the curved wall in Dean Lane, with this fine collaboration between Zake, Conrico and Daz Cat. The Zake portrait is a fine 3/4 profile of a woman with fine blonde hair. Very nicely done.

Conrico and Daz Cat, Dean Lane, Bristol, August 2022
Conrico and Daz Cat, Dean Lane, Bristol, August 2022

The main part of the wall is slightly crazy and brilliant all at the same time. The dragon hatching from an egg in front of a mountain and desert scene is by Conrico, and the cats, but Daz Cat, although I am not sure if the larger orange cat is a cat. A refreshingly different kind of collaboration from these three.

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.