Bristol’s artists of Upfest, Europe’s largest street art festival

Upfest is the biggest street art festival in Europe and as such attracts artists from all of the country and the world. Applications are taken months in advance and to paint at the festival is the sort of thing that easily finds its way onto the average street artists bucket list.

For ourselves here at Inspiring City we love the art of course but we also like speaking to the artists and getting to know the artists is really part of the reason that we do what we do.

What better place therefore to meet artists and get to know about them than here? Of course we’ve already posted a couple of times about Upfest and you can read about our pick of the top 20 murals from the festival as well as reading an interview with Argentinian artist Caro Pepe by clicking on the links.

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Popular local artist SPZero76 being interviewed by the Upfest Paparrazzi

So we took the opportunity to catch up with number of people at the festival and in particular we wanted to speak to Bristolians. People from the area who even without something like Upfest help to ensure that Bristol is, and remains, one of the artistic capitals of the UK.

Jody Thomas – www.jodyart.co.uk

An old hand on the Bristol scene, Jody is a Bristolian artist with links back to the very birth of street art in the city. Actively painting on walls from 1986 to 1990 he took a long break before returning to the urban art scene. Now his work is grand, detailed and highly photogenic, this time at Upfest he’s painted the gable end of a house on the road known as ‘The Nursery’. It features an image of American artist and model Cassie Meder his long time muse who has featured on a number of his images including the piece he created for the 2016 version of Upfest.

Bex Glover – bexglover.tumblr.com

Best known as more of a studio painter, Bex Glover’s nature scenes are usually best seen in the gallery but at Upfest she makes an exception and comes out onto the street. For the festival she painted an urban fox in her unmistakeable style. Her spot was a doorway just off from the main event hub of North Street and she often found herself surrounded by admirers discussing her work.

SPZero76 – www.spzero76.com

SPzero76 is local artist who we already know well. As part of the Lost Souls crew and as an individual he’s painted in London many a time and so we know his work pretty well. Keith Hopewell to give his real name is also a talented illustrator and his cartoon images are hugely popular. This time for Upfest SP painted on the hoardings erected at the Ashton Gate stadium alongside the rest of his Lost Souls crew although this time they are joined by another crew called ‘Gums and Tongues‘ to paint characters based on the Garbage Pail Kids, remember them?

The Bristol artists of Upfest were all interviewed over the weekend of 29 & 30 July 2017. For more on the 2017 Upfest festival have a look here for our top picks from the event.

Upfest artists gallery

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In progress work from Jody Thomas

A post shared by Jody Thomas (@jody_artist) on

Jody Thomas piece from the 2016 Upfest festival

Jody Thomas piece from the 2016 Upfest festival

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SPZero76 work with Squirl a long time collaborator with the Lost Souls crew

A post shared by Keith Hopewell (@spzero76) on

A post shared by Keith Hopewell (@spzero76) on

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Bex Glover in action painting her doorway at Upfest

Bex Glover

Bex Glover next to her work at Upfest

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Young fans admiring the work of Bex Glover