My legs have only just stopped aching after Upfest 2013, there is so much to see you just never stop walking. Its difficult to summarise Upfest in a few paragraphs, it’s as if someone has loaded a cannon with all the best street artists and fired it at Southville. The main target is the Tobacco Factory but spread out further there is some great art to be found on the fringes.
This year we were late getting into Bristol after a journey littered with closed junctions, bomb scares, traffic accidents and road works. Our 3 hour journey took us 5 hours to complete so unusually we decided to be sensible and go for a meal (Thai Edge, very nice) and get an early night. Bad idea, Saturday morning we wake up at 9:30 which is normally OK when you’re on holiday but Upfest artist registration is between 9:30 and 10:30 so the pressure is on already. We can’t afford to miss out on the free breakfast so we go downstairs and fuel up on bacon and eggs. We roll into the Tobacco Factory at 10:20 and queue for registration, behind us two artists who had only ever met over the internet recognise each other with a series of OMG’s and man-hugs. Great stuff. We collect our goody bags which contain cans of Montana paint, Posca pens and caps (thankyou Upfest) and make our way to our venue…The Luckwell Club.
The Luckwell Club is an abandoned building, scheduled to be knocked down last year but still standing and home to the most artists out of all the venues. When we arrived the Upfest volunteers were still putting up the last remaining boards and told us that we would probably be round the corner at the back of the car park. Luckily Sisquatch used her charm and managed to negotiate us a board right at the entrance between Kef and Andy Council. How cool is that?
While getting ready for Upfest I couldn’t decide what to paint. It was either going to be a giant 3 layer stencil of a wrinkly man or a new forsaken worm. With help from Sisquatch both went up.
While painting it’s always good to meet up with those people who you regularly talk to on social media but never actually get to meet so thanks to everyone that stopped by to say hello. After a long day painting it was time for a drink so we took a short walk over to the Hen & Chicken to catch up with My Dog Sighs, Los Dave and Miss Wah. Also there was Wally and his wife who owned the van that My Dog Sighs and Funns painted. Apart from someone stealing my pizza this was a great night catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.
For me Upfest on a Saturday is all about getting your head down and painting whereas Sunday is about walking the streets and taking in all the great art that is being put up. Sundays highlights included the C215 cat. An amazing freehand piece by the French artist that was painted over a magnificent Smug piece from last year. It was a brave decision to paint over Smug but I agree with it because it says no matter how good your art is its getting painted over next year which fits with the very temporary nature of street art.
I got a Facebook message that I was in the Upfest gallery on North Street which surprised me because I sent my work to be exhibited a day late. Over the moon with this.
Further down the road we caught up with My Dog Sighs again and this was the first time I’d seen the eyes he paints in the flesh. Pretty special moment, the reflection in the eyes is fantastic. Would have liked to have seen the van all finished.
Process Smith managed to make it over on Sunday and was in Bar BS3 so we took a look in there. This was a really chilled out area and absolutely full of the most amazing stencils.
Round the corner from Bar BS3 was Cretin Collective. I’ve painted with Dom W at a couple of events and I like his laid back attitude. He’s bloody good without trying too hard and pretty modest too which is a great combination. As far as I’m concerned Dom and the other guys from Cretin Collective painted the wall of the weekend. Really tight work that fused together several different artists styles seamlessly. Later that night Cretin member Loch Ness won illustrator of the year.
There was plenty more to see at North Street Green, Vector Seating, the Tobacco Factory and all the other venues.
Sunday night was a drink at the Tobacco Factory with the Duckmantons and Process Smith. Later Miss Wah and My Dog Sighs dropped in to collect an award for artist of the year before moving onto the Tunnels for the official after party. All in all Upfest 2013 was a classic, we loved it and can’t wait for 2014.
Send Me The Good Stuff