On the Necessity of Art, Part IV: Off the Wall

Having resided in Bristol for the past year, I’ve had the good fortune to stumble across some stunning graffiti art, both incidental, famous and transient.  An art form I’ve never got involved with myself, I can’t help but admire the sheer artistry and accuracy of detail and proportion achieved in these works.  When I think of graffiti art, I see it as a rebellious art form, an act of marking one’s territory, making a political statement, working undercover.  The artist doesn’t seek permission, they demand their platform of expression and just take it.  (Although these days, graffiti art is revered because of pioneers like Banksy who gave this genre more kudos, hence it is now highly sought after and deemed uber-cool).  What amazes me is some of the hard to reach areas chosen for painting, totally out of the way spots – how on earth did they get up there, I always think.

It’s worth getting a record of some of these paintings because, especially when the annual Upfest Graffiti festival takes place, the wonderful artworks that grace the designated wall spaces are painted over with a new brilliant work (particularly in Southville, Bedminster and Stokes Croft).  Below are some photos I took of the better known graffiti art around Bristol, some of which now lie beneath a new painting.

Looking forward to the next Upfest…


Breakdancing Jesus
Stokes Croft
Cosmo Sarson


The Mild Mild West
Stokes Croft


Queen of Neon
Dan Kitchener
Upfest 2015


Stokes Croft


You Were My Sunshine

…now painted over with this…


Title not known by me but a nod to Alice in Wonderland
Martin Ron & Jiant
North Street, Southville
Upfest 2015


Title Unknown
My Dog Sighs
North Street, Southville
Upfest 2015


I Belong in the Jungle Not Your Cage
Louis Masai Michel
North Street, Southville
Upfest 2015


Unknown Artist
Central Bristol


Unknown Artist
Stokes Croft


Unknown Artist
North Street, Bedminster
Upfest 2015


Unknown Artist
North Street, Bedminster
Upfest 2015


Neon Nights
North Street, Bedminster
Dale Grimshaw & Dan Kitchener
Upfest 2014

…now painted over with this…


North Street, Bedminster
Upfest 2015

© N Nazir 2016

4 thoughts on “On the Necessity of Art, Part IV: Off the Wall

  1. One thing I’ve always been struck by is how little people take others into consideration when making a public statement. The people who have the big bass speakers in their cars and go around rattling the window panes are particularly obnoxious to me. Anyone playing music extra loud late into the night. Not cool. People who think that the world wants to see six inches of sweaty faded cotton underwear above the waistband of their pants. What are you thinking? No one wants to see that. But, graffiti art can be another matter. The super-sized paintings, the colors, the messages can be challenging, sometimes, but not usually offensive or disruptive.

    It pained me to see that “You Were My Sunshine” was painted over. It was such a poignant statement of grief. I’ll have that bittersweatness with me all day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. steppenwolf

      Hi Calico Jack,

      I know what you mean. We live in a crowded world where peace and disturbance must be neighbours somehow. And yes, that is the bittersweetness of graffiti art that it’s transient. It’s to be experienced for the short time it exists. But that’s the beauty of photography and the Internet, that the recorded image becomes the history of a locality and can be forever shared albeit secondhand.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


      Liked by 1 person

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