We spent five days in Bristol, exploring South Bristol and practising drumming at the harbour and preparing for Upfest, the largest street art festival in the world. I have been to Bristol before, but not in the summer, and I so enjoyed spending time outside (even with the changeable weather), creating art and meeting people who were happy to talk.
I love talking to different kinds of artists about how they create. The artists at Upfest were particularly keen to talk. They let me sit next to them as they worked, and I got to know about their creative processes as well as about their hearts.
I met Matthew, whose mural covered the side of a pub. He had been working for days on it, drinking copious amounts of tea and creating his massive image of a polar bear on an increasingly small iceberg. He said that they polar bear was meant to be a human, but that it would have been too alarming. I think it would have been striking.
Helen was one of the first women that I saw doing street art in the festival. The wall that she had to paint was massive. I watched her begin to paint based off of a photograph, and the bit that she was doing was the out of focus part of the photograph. As a photographer, it fascinated me to see how she painted something that wasn’t in focus. I don’t have to think about the construction of focus; I just have to hit it. But she had to create it.
I also met Beth, whose uni degree is in fashion. For her fashion work, she began abstract painting. She hasn’t really done street art before, but decided to try her hand at a small sized piece in the St Francis churchyard. Some of her friends came round whilst I was there, and they were excited to see what she was up to. She leaves for China in a few weeks, where she will teach English fashion.
The last person that I met as Boguš. His speech was halting, but still, he stayed to talk to me. We talked a bit about photography, and he told me that he’d had a stroke that took his speech. So we talked in photographs, instead, which was unconventional but suited both of us. I loved getting to see Bristol through his eyes; he has such hope in his heart.