There are a number of benefits to living in Bristol – the cider flows freely, pasties are plentiful and the accent is ‘Gert Lush’ (for a sample go listen to the vlog!) – and once a year we are host to Europe’s largest Urban Paint Festival … UPFest
Originally inspired by the festivals happening in both Southampton and London, the first Upfest took place back in 2008. Since then the event has seen massive growth with the 2017 event expecting 300+ artists from all over the world. Last year’s Upfest welcomed upwards of 35,000 visitors, and with more than 15 separate venues along the streets throughout Bedminster and Southville, it is certainly worth travelling to see.(In fact, just come to Bristol anyway! It’s mint! And if I’m about we could even do coffee – or cider, depends how early it is, I’ll show you the bridge, tell you about Brunel, it’ll be skill!)
There were so many different styles of street art; from stenciled pieces, to tiled installations, tags and mixed media works. The sides of buildings were transformed with impressive full wall pieces, some that required cherry pickers or scaffolding to access, and there were many small hidden gems that took a keen eye to spot (like the mini Adventure Time Jake, who we spotted chilling on a drain pipe, out of the way near Gemma Compton’s piece at The Steam Crane) .
While there were a number of individual pieces that I liked, the best part of the fest is the feeling of unity; Upfest is not just about the art itself, it is about a community coming together to raise money for charity, to share ideas and to promote the inclusivity of street art as a genre. The number of female and ‘older’ (I’m using the term cautiously!) artists was also really encouraging to someone who falls into both of those demographics. Bristol offers workshops for both children and adults. After visiting Upfest, have now added ‘create a mural’ to the Kettle list!
I am hoping to return to the area to photograph completed works that I saw being started, as well as additional pieces that have been created since my visit. (Failing that, go check out Lee Moran’s Huff Post article, which has some amazing photos)
The photos will also be useful for my twitter chat later this evening, when I join Roar Loud at #StreetArtChat. This will be my first ever twitter chat, and I have realised, a little late perhaps, that 8pm EDT is a painfully late 1am here in the UK! In an effort to make my life a bit easier, I have written the answers to the questions, which are conveniently available in advance. So the plan is to make a few of these… Q1: Say hi and where you are joining us from #StreetArtChat #travel
Now all I have to do is go make some more answers, tidy up the vlog and, of course, put the kettle on…obviously.
I returned to South Bristol this morning to snap away without the Upfest crowds at all of the remaining – and accessible art works along North Street. There was even time to go a little further along and see the John Lennon piece that has been all over Twitter and Instagram. As an extra bonus, I was able to locate all four of the #GraffMorphs that were scattered along the street, as well as finding more tile pieces and an adorable rabbit!
I think the photos will be more interesting than me keeping on, so I will put them up…
Lots of Adventure Time Jakes’ – I think these are the work of Lost Hills
Got to see this fully completed…
This was another piece we saw being started on Saturday.
I also have my Twitter chat reply cards – Because I will be too tired to type!
So I shared the intro reply card above
Q1 Share a pic of your favorite street art and where it is #StreetArtChat #travel
Q2 Where is your favorite place in the world for street art? Photo please #StreetArtChat #travel
And this is where I come unstuck as the 3 next questions are a bit more complicated…
Q3 Share the most inspirational or moving piece of street art you have seen
Q4 Do you have a favorite street artist? If not share any street art pic you like
Q5 Why do you love street art? Share a photo
Thing is, I’m not a 140 characters kind of girl, I like to write mini essays, so these questions could potentially become full blog posts – That is why I had to cheat and use Canva to make my first three answers; to give myself more space to write in. Also, as someone fairly new to Street Art, I don’t really know a lot of artists names, just ‘what I like’. I think I’m more interested in the concept of street art – about how potentially ephemeral it can be on the one hand, and yet how some works are so recognised that they are protected by acrylic shields. I’m also interested in the idea of there being a difference between ‘vandalism’ and ‘art’ – Who gets to decide? Does getting paid to create street art take something away from its original roots as an act of defiance? Or has the genre evolved to include all of these aspects? What do ‘Old School’ artists make of the upcoming forms?
It’s bit late to get all socio-cultural on the subject, so I’ll just attempt to stay awake for another hour or two and see what other people on the feed have to say about street art.