Bristol – Review: Upfest 2016
The 8th edition of Upfest was happening this year from 23rd-25th July and smashed it out of the ballpark once again. This year’s street art festival in Bristol has been bigger, better and seen more walls coated in stardust than ever before. Headlining the festival were urban legends such as Cheo, Cheba, Fanakapan, PichiAvo, FinDac as well as Inkie to name a handful. This year’s line-up was the most diverse collection of urban artists in one location. More than 300 artists flocking to Bristol from 40 countries such as as Canada, Australia, Argentina, Israel and all across Europe.
Robin from The Street Art Journal was in Bristol for Upfest and covered the festival in words, but mostly in photography.
Fanakapan & Cheba were still painting at Red Point Climbing Centre when I was in Bristol, despite the fact that I blanked on day 3 being a family day with no paint fumes to get high on. While dodging multiple strollers at the Tobacco Factory where Upfest officially kicked off, I made my way along North Road following a trail of Mr Men & Little Miss shutter murals; hopping from venue to venue.
Mr Men & Little Miss, which partnered with Upfest 2016, are also celebrating their 45th Anniversary this year, which is why Cheo’s Mr Graff and trademark bee have joined the family of Mister & Misses. Top to bottom the artists who painted the three much adored characters are Miss Wah, Cheba & Turroe One.
The venues for this year’s festival ranged from abandoned factory buildings to pubs, book shops, open green spaces as well as huge surfaces on the side of buildings. My favourite mural of the day was the astonishing work of Spanish duo Pichi & Avo illustrating Zeus below.
I’ve been told that the ‘Pulp Minions’ by Angus have been around for years. The Red Point Climbing Centre was a painting spot during Upfest’ at this years and previous editions. Last year it were Irony & Louis Masai who painted the building. Louis’s work highlightes endangered species. Here his artwork features a Rhino being tended to by bees. It is to make people aware that there are 3 Rhinos killed every day! During this years Upfest Irony painted an artwork of a cat and mouse. It is was still behind scaffolding when I gave it a visit.
Further along North Road, up a wee little hill around the official Upfest Gallery you will find ‘Urban Myths’, an artwork by Shok-1 and Rumbl. In South Street Park there is a great mural by Dan Doodies featuring art by established, as well as emerging artists on a wide green space. One amazing mural is that by artist Jody. It is an image of a woman standing opposite of some sort of ghost image of herself. She collaborated with quite a few people to make this mural happen.
Upfest in Bristol is a must visit every year. It brings together people, artists and of course the art itself. It shows a wide variety in styles and techniques. Artists come to Bristol from all around the globe. For some of them it is an annual trip of fun, laughter and friendships.
See you next year in Bristol?
More Upfest 2016 below.