Bristol is famous for its street art. It is after all the home of Banksy. In inner Bristol graffiti adorns shop fronts, back alleys underpasses and almost any available surface. Some older residents regret the invention of the spray paint can but tourists love discovering hidden gems. I have grown to appreciate it and it certainly brightens up our drab city streets.
This week we met at the Full Moon in Stokes Croft for a photo tour of some of the street art of East Bristol and I thought I would share some of my favourite pieces. Stokes Croft is an area of Bristol which is rapidly undergoing gentrification with lots of independent shops and music venues. It is practically an open air art gallery with pieces constantly being replaced.
Banksy is the most famous of the Bristol street artists. Although a lot of Bristolians think they know his identity Banksy prefers to remain anonymous. Most people agree that he grew up in Bristol and attended a local youth club where youngsters were encouraged to develop their artistic talent. His early paintings were hand drawn but now he uses a stencil. In recent years he has had a solo exhibition in Bristol museum and created an alternative theme park Dismal land at Weston Super Mare. He has become respectable. Last year one of his paintings of chimpanzees in parliament sold for nine million pounds at auction. The top photo is the mild mild west and can be seen above the Cantine in Stokes Croft. The mural below, the well hung lover is in Frogmore Street and is best viewed from the bridge on Park Street. There are several other pieces by Banksy waiting to be discovered.
This is probably Banksy’s best known work and is on the side of what used to be the sexual health clinic. For a recent light up Bristol event local artists were asked to imagine what was happening in the other windows.
The seven saints of St. Pauls
The st. Paul’s area of Bristol was transformed with the arrival of immigrants from the Carribean. Although they met with a lot of prejudice to begin with they have settled and formed a community. A local artist Michele Curtis was inspired by the fiftieth anniversary of the St. Paul’s carnival in 2018 to create portraits of seven of the founders of the carnival who helped shape the community. The results are striking. Bristol was heavily involved in the slave trade so it is good to feel that black history is being celebrated.
In the area around Stokes Croft there are dozens of paintings
If you wish to find out more about organised walking tours of Bristol Street art or Banksy tours click here Bristol street art walking tours
There is so much to see that it is probably better to just grab your camera and wander round the streets for a couple of hours.