I never thought that the words street art and Bristol would have a strong association. My knowledge of street art is limited so surely I can be forgiven for this. I didn’t have a clue about where this creative form originated or how much it is popular around the world. Learning about street art, during my solo trip to Bristol was something I wanted to invest in.
I took part in a walk that introduced me to the street art of Europe’s biggest street art festival Upfest. The walk broadened my knowledge of street art and opened my eyes to a world of inspiring creative artists. Here is what I learnt along the way.
The origins of Street Art
When discussing the origins of Street art we must focus on the evolution of graffiti, in the 1970s and 80s. Graffiti came from young people in New York. They began tagging as a way of expressing their feelings during a period of social and political struggle. Graffiti started showing up on cars and the side of subway trains, which immediately became visible throughout the city. Graffiti was a way of leaving a mark to remind people they were there and couldn’t be forgotten about.
It is argued that Street Art has developed from the same ideals as graffiti. In terms of what we see street art as today, most of it is a means of expressing a message. As most of street art uses urban spaces as it’s canvas it’s visibility is memorable as well as thought-provoking.
Street Art in Bristol
It is difficult to not think of Banksy when discussing street art in Bristol as he is widely reported to be from here. As such an influential artist in the street art movement from the very beginning, he has helped to integrate it in the UK. Many cannot agree on why Banksy’s work is so popular. Whether it is his technic or symbolic message his influence on street art in Bristol is obvious.
Many other artists have developed their own styles and voices to become well known in the world of street art, such as British artists Roid, Phlegm and Mr Jago. Indeed, it is very hard to not find street art in some form in most of the UK’s bigger cities.
Upfest is Europe’s largest street art festival and is held annually in Bristol. It attracts an international audience, including artists from all over the world. It truly showcases the skill, meaning and popularity of street art. To give you an idea of how widespread street art is recognised, at Upfest 2018 The Simpsons creator Matt Groening selected three artists, Bao, Nomad Clan and Soker to bring The Simpsons to Bristol in the form of street art.
If that is not a sign of creative appreciation and collaboration, then I don’t know what is. Here is some of the street art from Upfest 2018:
Conversations about street art
As with many forms of art, there is always conversation and debate surrounding street art in terms of its context and meaning. Should the art be protected to last longer or does this go against the whole point of the form and medium, is just one of the topics for debate in the street art community.
No matter how it originated or how people feel about it, street art is ingrained into our modern world, no matter how big or small. Its influence has been far-reaching and pushes boundaries as to what is possible. I have seen this creativity in full view in Bristol and it sparked my interest from something that I had never given much thought to in my day-to-day life. After all street art is practically everywhere so when I next come across someone’s work I’ll look at it in a completely different way. Learning about street art in Bristol is something I would advise you to do if you visit.
Have you taken much interest from street art in Bristol?
Are you interested in street art?
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