The Murals of the Upside Gallery in Bournemouth

The Upside Gallery is a series of murals created under an overpass in Bournemouth. Consisting of eleven separate pieces, the murals have each been painted by different street artists. All over 10 metres, they cover the concreted pillars which support the road which flies overhead. The project was supported by the Paint Shop Studio and the local council.

Transformation is really what the Upside Gallery is about. The pillars holding the A338 overpass cut through the public space of Bournemouth’s Central Gardens. A green space, it follows the route of the River Bourne from the north of the city into it’s heart. Manicured gardens sit either side of the Bourne which has been tamed over the years into more of a gentle stream. Built in the 1970’s the A338 is perhaps better known in the area as the Wessex Way.

View of the Upside Gallery in Bournemouth
The Upside Gallery with the Wessex Way travelling above

Graft and Innovation

Painted during September 2019 the whole Upside Gallery took two weeks to complete. Curated by local artist Ricky Also he is also the creative director of the Paint Shop Studio in Bournemouth. “Each artist has been selected for many different reasons” he explains on his instagram. “Many have helped shape the graffiti/mural art movement as we know it with years of constant graft and innovation. Many have incredible and inspiring work ethics. Some are relatively unsung. But all have an outstanding, high-level of work and between them a truly diverse range of approaches that really show what this art movement is all about”.

Murals by Mr Tea One and Dave Bonzai part of the Upside Gallery in Bournemouth
Murals from Mr Tea One and Dave Bonzai underneath the Wessex Way

The murals created as part of the Upside Gallery reveals a mixture of local and national talent. According to the organisers, each of the artists have found their own path. All having worked to develop their style, approach and message over the years. The artists include three with Bournemouth links. Tech Moon, Ricky Also and Best | Ever all have strong links to the area. As for the rest they represent an excellent cross section of the English graffiti and street art scene.

Logo of the Upside Gallery in the Central Gardens in Bournemouth
Pillars forming part of the Upside Gallery in Bournemouth

BEST | EVER (Bournemouth) – instagram

Bringing together a blend of styles, BEST | EVER are known for their merging of the abstract with hyper realism. It makes for a combination resulting in the most remarkable large scale artworks. Raised in Bournemouth they have painted the world over.

Mural by Best | Ever in the Central Gardens in Bournemouth
Mural by Best | Ever in the Upside Gallery
Murals from Tea One and Best | Ever

Dave Bonzai (Southampton) ‘Carpe Diem’ – instagram

Bonzai is perhaps best known for his metallic shimmering style. He has perfected a liquid chrome technique borne out of traditional graffiti lettering which has evolved over the years. In Bournemouth he has written the words ‘Carpe Diem’ which translates to ‘Seize the Day’.

Carpe Diam by Bonzai in the Upside Gallery
Dave Bonzai ‘Carpe Diem’ artwork in Bournemouth

Gary Stranger (Brighton) ‘Infinite History’ – instagram

Evolving from a traditional graffiti background. Gary Stranger has taken his letter forms to a whole new dimension. His typographical art uses a a lot of the principles of graffiti in that the lettering is disguised within the artwork itself. As part of the Upside Gallery he has painted the word ‘History’. Seen going round in a loop it is might best be described as ‘infinite history’.

‘Indefinite History’ by Gary Stranger. Work from Tech Moon can be seen in the background

Tea One (Liverpool) ‘Islands’ – instagram

Known for his corrupted typography and rich technical imagery. Tea One’s work has an industrial feel to it. Themes of transport abound in his work. Painted against the brutalist underside of the Wessex way it shows a boat with the word islands written above. The scene is set against an abstract coloured background. At one point the nearby River Bourne is likely to have been navigable for such craft.

Tea One mural at the Upside Gallery in Bournemouth
Mural by Tea One in Bournemouth
‘Islands’ mural by Tea One

Odisy (London) – instagram

Known for his letter style and his characters, Odisy’s work often combines the two. At the Upside Gallery he has taken full advantage of his graphic style and created a mural which references elements of the past and present. Perhaps inspired by the sea it shows a pipe smoking fisherman using the sea to catch a living. Overlooking him is a young girl with armbands about to take a swim.

Odisy artwork at the Upside Gallery

Philth (Nuneaton) ‘Rose & Lily’ – instagram

Known for his floral patterning, Philth’s work is inspired by the natural world. For the Upside Gallery in Bournemouth he created a repeat pattern of roses and lillies. It was inspired by a 19th century wallpaper known as ‘Dovedale’ which is now part of the collection at the V&A in London.

Philth mural in the Upside Gallery in Bournemouth
Rose & Lily by Philth underneath the Wessex Way in Bournemouth

Remi Rough (London) – instagram

An evolution from his early days in the UK’s emerging graffiti scene. Remi Rough’s murals can now be seen around the world but they have their beginnings in this early era. Now known for his stylised abstract patterning, his work reflects the energy and movement of those graffiti roots.

Graffiti inspired street art from Remi Rough in Bournemouth

Ricky Also (Bournemouth) ‘On the Shoulders of Giants’ – instagram

The curator of the whole Upside Gallery is local artist Ricky Also. The creative director of local art agency ‘Paint Shop Studio’ he is a renowned street artist in his own right. His style takes bold and colourful typography and mixes these with patterning and geometric shapes. His work as part of the gallery spells ‘On the Shoulders of Giants’. It’s a nod to the history of graffiti and graphic design which influences his work today.

On the Shoulders of Giants a mural by Ricky Also at the Upside Gallery in Bournemouth
‘On the Shoulders of Giants’ by Ricky Also

Squirl ‘Bottled Oxygen’ (Canterbury) – instagram

Picking out elements of the surrounding area, Squirl’s work is an abstraction of the local area. Known for his illustration, characters and murals his art is vibrant and fun. Set within the Central Gardens, his piece for the Upside Gallery is one that draws attention to the need to preserve our environment and the important role trees play in it.

‘Bottled Oxygen’ by Squirl in the Upside Gallery

Tech Moon (Bournemouth) ‘Fly on the Wall’ – instagram

Local artist Tech Moon has created a piece which appears to be a giant blue bottle sat on a peeling piece of old patterned wallpaper. Well known in the area Tech Moon’s work can be seen dotted around Bournemouth. His work as part of the Upside Gallery was about taking something often uncelebrated such as a fly and finding beauty within it. The work is a metaphor for the area of the pillars. Here is an uncelebrated flyover with quite brutal structures yet it is surrounding by the beautiful Central and Upper Gardens.

Fly on the Wall mural by Tech Moon in the Upside Gallery in Bournemouth
‘Fly on the Wall’ by Tech Moon

Will Barras (Bristol) – instagram

A founder of the Scrawl collective, Will Barras is known for his fluid and evolving style. His work was published in the benchmark ‘Scrawl’ book in 1999 and he is well known on the UK’s street art scene. In 2021 Barras will be the festival artist at Upfest, Europe’s largest street art festival.

Mural by Will Barras in Bournemouth

The Upside Gallery in Bournemouth was visited on 22 May 2021. It was part of a project curated by ‘Paint Shop Studio’ and supported by Bournemouth Council. It was created over two weeks in September 2019. The Upside Gallery can be found in Bournemouth Central Gardens, Branksome Park Road, Bournemouth, BH2 6DA. It is situated underneath the Wessex Way.

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