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Where The Wall; shining a light on Bristol’s eclectic urban art

Where The Wall; shining a light on Bristol’s eclectic urban art.

For breathing life and colour into our city’s urban landscape, Bristol’s street artists must surely be treasured. With spray can, paintbrush, stencil and endless imagination, they turn our heads, make us think and even — in many cases — inspire us to have a go ourselves.

the big deal
The Big Deal by JPS, created in 2014

Urban art events such as 2011’s See No Evil and the annual Upfest gathering shine a light on Bristol’s street art scene, attracting resident artists and many others from across the globe. Popular local names like Cheo, Gemma Compton, Jody, Banksy, Sepr, Inkie and Angus ring bells for many people, but scratch the surface and there’s a bottomless pool of further talent to discover. For these people, walls are blank canvasses for ephemeral works which only last until the next artist comes along. And therein lies the beauty.

Street art tours with Where the Wall

Where the Wall is a Bristol-based street art walking tour company, allowing participants into the secretive world of urban art. During their tours, groups are led by knowledgeable guides and introduced to diverse pieces of street art old and new. Along the way, the guides share insight into the works’ back-story and significance.

griffin
Mechanical Griffin by Pixel Pancho, also created during the See No Evil festival in 2012.

On my tour, Tina led us from Banksy’s famous Well Hung Lover on College Green to Frogmore St — currently home to What Collective’s comic-inspired piece and JPS’ The Big Deal from 2014. From here we headed through Bell Lane and Nelson Street to Stik’s popular stick men and Pixel Pancho’s Mechanical Griffin — both painted for 2011’s See No Evil event.

stik graffiti bristol
Stik, from London, created during the See No Evil festival in 2011

After a short stomp, we entered Stokes Croft — a living canvas in its own right — to be introduced to Cosmo Sarson’s iconic Breakdancing Jesus and Banksy’s Mild Mild West. Both pieces have been in place for quite some time, perhaps striking strong chords among the area’s residents and visitors.

mild mild west
Tina in action for Where The Wall, beneath Banksy’s Mild Mild West

Throughout the tour, Tina shared her insight and knowledge of the street art and its talented creators. We learned hidden details about popular pieces people pass every day, and discovered secret works hidden in plain sight.

Breakdancing Jesus Bristol
Breakdancing Jesus by Cosmo Sarson, created 2013

If you’re reading this and you’re keen to know more about Bristol’s skilled urban artists, you can find Tina and Where The Wall right here. Aside from the tours, Where the Wall run spray sessions and creative projects where groups of budding artists can practise new skills and techniques. From school children to corporate groups all are welcome, and sessions are run with the aim of promoting Bristol’s street art and creative culture.

Further reading:

For details on some of the street artists covered on the tour:

For more Bristol-based street art writing by @cjcallaghan, check out ‘sketching an impression of the Bristol street art scene’ and ’10 street artists to catch at upfest’.

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Chris Callaghan

The author Chris Callaghan

Born and raised on the banks of the Norfolk Broads, Chris made his way through Yorkshire, Normandy, Champagne, Asia, South America and London, before falling head-over-heels for Bristol’s vibrant street art and food scenes. Chris writes for fun, for the creative buzz and for a living, and loves waxing lyrical on Bristol’s diverse culinary offerings. You’ll find him spinning through the Mendip Hills by bike, sharpening his squash skills, swimming in local lakes and rivers, or slurping fine zider on Bristol Harbour with his wife.