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Published: January 8th 2017
Banksy - Well Hung Lover
This artwork is at the bottom of Park St opposite College Green
Over the past few days I have spent some time in Bristol, visiting particular areas of the city, wandering around snapping photos of landmarks and browsing in some lovely shops. An enjoyable way to pass the hours, especially if the day is broken up with a good lunch. Unfortunately the weather isn't always as I'd like it to be, I rug up well against the cold but when the rain starts and the day turns dismal, it's time to head home.
No visit to Bristol would be complete without walking across the Clifton suspension bridge, which I did early Friday morning. The bridge spans the Avon Gorge and River Avon, linking Bristol to Leigh Woods in North Somerset. A competition was launched in 1829, with the hope of finding someone to design the bridge. But it took a second competition before a suitable plan was submitted and construction commenced. The bridge is made up of 3500 load bearing bolts and vast chains that stretch 20 miles underground and took 33 years to complete.
Saturday morning (7th January) I have booked myself into a street art tour with a company called Where The Wall. This is a two hour walking
A building covered in street art
tour, starting at College Green at the bottom of Park Street and ending in Stokes Croft, a vibrant community in the heart of Bristol, which has pioneered a liberal attitude towards street art. I guess I could have walked the streets on my own and found plenty of walls to photograph, but I was interested in seeing the work of one artist in particular - Bansky.
Banksy's worldwide fame has transformed his artwork from acts of vandalism to sought-after high art pieces. He began his career as a graffiti artist in the early 1990s, as a member of a graffiti gang in Bristol. Although his early work was largely freehand, Banksy occasionally used stencils. In the late '90s, he began using stencils predominantly and they now feature in the majority of his works.
Banksy’s artwork combines dark humour with underlying political messages and social themes, which have made him one of the biggest contemporary artists of our time. His work often depicts rats, gorillas, policemen, members of the royal family and children. I discovered one of Bansky's works in the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery titled Paint Pot Angel. This is simply a garden statue of an angel
Banksy - Paint Pot Angel
On display in the Bristol Museum
with a pot of pink paint tipped over its head. The intention is to challenge what people expect to see in a museum and question the value we place on art.
An intensely private artist, no one knows who Banksy really is, though speculation abounds. Once, when asked for a photo for an exhibition, he supplied one, complete with a paper bag over his head.
The tour took us through the back streets and alleyways of Bristol, where valued contributions from well known graffiti artists shared wall space with the tiny tags of experimental teenagers. Graffiti usually serves as a voice for people who stand in opposition to the choices of the government or mainstream society. Our tour leader, Tina, kept us well informed and, being a street artist herself, was very passionate about her subject.
After finishing the tour I was met by Pet and Ben and we headed down to the wharf area and had lunch at Za Za Bazaar, the largest (and noisiest) restaurant in the UK, which can seat 1000 customers at any one time. Advertised as Bristol's finest buffet dining restaurant with an amazing variety of global cuisine, live cooking and expertly
mixed cocktails, it fed us very well. With an 'all you can eat' dining experience for £9.95, I certainly got more than I expected from a family restaurant. The food was delicious!
After lunch we wandered along the wharf, Sam sleeping peacefully in his pram and Florence, full of energy as usual, jumping puddles and watching the boats. The light was fading, the weather cooling, so eventually we turned, retraced our steps, and headed home.
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