Bristol “the capital of street art in Europe ”.
Bristol is a city that all urban art lovers must visit absolutely. On the streets of the popular districts of the “seaside town”, graffitis and stencils are displayed on every available wall. Those of Banksy, of course, but also those of most major international street artists.
In Bristol, street art is “at home”, well almost, except in the historic centre, where four full-time policemen, flanked by a squad of municipal employees, jealously guard the grey walls. In the rest of the city, on the other hand, the colour resumes its rights. In popular and multi-ethnic neighborhoods of Croft Stocks and Saint Paul, graffiti artworks grow day after day to become finally an exciting and bustling form of folk art.
Some streets such as Moon Street, Fraklyn Street, Jamaica Street … have become genuine open-sky galleries over time.
Stencils, murals, free hand spray cans paintings, dazibaos, transforming urban items, are jostling, or even overlapping literally on the walls.
Often spectacular, covering whole sections of houses and buildings, Bristol street artworks strike by their diversity, their creativity and their originality.
In this maritime city of the West England, taglers, graffiti artists and street artists compete with audacity and originality. In the wake of Banksy and previous pioneers like Nick Walker, Inkie and 3D (who since turned to music and founded Massive Attack. For the anecdote the noise ran for some time that he in fact could be the mysterious Banksy), urban art in Bristol covers a very wide range of artistic forms.
A common feature in all these art creations is the quality and creativity of the artworks. In short, the eighth city of the United Kingdom has become probably the world capital of street art.
So if you want to visit this city and discover this open-sky museum, save yourself from hours of research on Google. I have put together a small guide to Street Art in Bristol. This includes Street Art Hot spots, an interactive map of Banksy’s artworks, tips and plans for a drink in the most happening places, the must-see locations of bristol street art scene … I would also like to dedicate this guide to my friend Angus, a great street artist based in Bristol who so kindly helped me discover this fantastic city. “thank’s mate…”
Bristol Street Art and Graffiti Hotspots :
For this Bristol street art guide I thought I’d pick out some of the key spots for urban art and graffiti in the city. Make sure you give yourself enough time to visit these. There are thousands of artworks to discover all around the city.
Bristol Centre :
You will discover in this area great murals by El Mac, Aryz, Stik, Pixel Pancho, Conor Harrington, Nick Walker, … And also Banksy’s famous « Hanging Man » …
Walk along Nelson Street which has some impressive large scale murals from some of the best known artists around the world.
Then, a little further down the dock, an incredible Inkie artwork covers the place once occupied by Banksy’s “Grim Reaper” on the Thekla boat.
North Street, Bedminster «The Upfest Kingdom »
You will discover in this area several of the most famous street art masterpieces in the world. This part of the city is the home of Upfest. One of the most famous street art festivals in the world. North Street has become year after year the most favorite canvas of the best street artists around the world. Works from previous Upfest festivals can be seen along the street and also around the surrounding areas.
In this area you will discover the famous Jesus BreakDance by Cosmo Sarson and the legendary «Mild mild west » by Banksy. All around you can also see artworks by Phelgm, Stinkfish, Cheba, Aspire, …
Stokes Croft street leads into the city centre from the north. Known as a student area of Bristol. You’ll discover graffiti and street art on each side of Stoke Croft and also in the different surrounding roads. Do not hesitate to stroll around the neighborhood, you will discover wonders.
To the northeast of the city around St. Werburgh and St. Paul’s you will find a neighborhood where graffiti is king.
This is the Indian area of Bristol. The neighborhood has some of Banksy’s best original artworks.
Apart from these creations from the famous street artist, Easton has a remarkable collection of creative talent. The back alleys of Stanley Park offer incredible opportunities to admire anonymous virtuosos of graffiti.
Bristol The city of Banksy :
Although neither the founder nor the forerunner of street art, the king of provocation , Banksy is today the unavoidable star of street art. He is one of the most famous contemporary artists of our time
Since 1993, his work has shone on every continent. Stencils, paintings, sculptures, diversions of urban objects or classical works, and installations … Banksy is a versatile artist. He plays the usurpers and the provocateurs. Challenging us on all human condition, all with a good sense of second degree humor. Finally, Banksy kicks in the contemporary artistic world, assuring his peers that is useless to take this too seriously …
Here’s an interactive map of Banksy’s artworks in Bristol:
Here is one of the biggest street art and graffiti events in the world. This street art festival brings together more than 250 artists from all over the world, who will realize more than 10,000 square meters of artworks in the Bedminster district (Tobacco Factory, Hen and Chicken, The Steam Crane and Spotted Cow). Although this is a street art fest, music is also honored during these 3 days: funk, soul, reggae, and of course hip-hop. Upfest 2017 website
Tips on good places to visit in Bristol:
Located on the Floating Harbour, one of the most charming areas in Bristol, you’ll find Spike Island — an art gallery, café bar and artists workspace . Frequently , exhibitions are on display from various different forms of arts. Spike Island Bristol
The Cube is an urban art and cinema space close to the Stokes Croft area . Hosting everything from skateboard video premieres to short movies, this space is a paradise for creatives. The Cube
Canteen-style bar and terrace next to a Banksy mural and “Jesus Break-Dancer” with free live music and locally sourced food. Nice place for a drink. The Canteen Bristol
Bristol Folk House
You want to learn a new skill? There is an incredible variety of things to choose from at the Folk House. Courses offered on everything from photography, calligraphy, creative writing, etc …
Just ask ! Sure they do it. This place also proposes exhibitions, concerts, … It’s probably one of the most creative places in the city. Bristol Folk House
Eco-friendly “backpackers” hostel and attic bar. All the building has been painted by the famous Bristol Street artist Cheba. Full Moon Bristol
Located across the water from Arnolfini Gallery, the Watershed is a cross-artform venue set on Bristol’s harbourside. Dedicated to various medias with a bar, cinema screens and an events space. It is the go-to place to catch an independent flick with friends before enjoying a craft beer. The Watershed
Arnolfini Gallery is a very famous art space in Bristol. Locals often sit on the outside of the building during summer. The view on the harbourside is splendid. Indoors is where art dreams come to life. Several floors of exhibition space, this is where some of the most interesting and creative works of art are displayed in the city. Various art events are also hosted here. On the ground floor you can also find a bookshop selling nearly every kind of book, independant magazines … And guess what? There’s even a cafe-bar where you can drink or eat. Fantastic ! No ? Arnolfini Gallery
Bristol Street art Organised Tours :
WhereTheWalls : explores creative culture and history through first-hand experiences, celebrating amazing artforms: from Banksy’s art to graffiti art to street art, architectural design, fashion and music. And there are also organised street art guided tours in the city.
GraftworkShop : Graft offers bespoke murals and graffiti workshops and tours in and around Bristol, European capital of graffiti
Street Art in Bristol photo gallery :
All Photos by StreetArt360 – May 2017