Quiet Night In: #seenoevil
I finally managed to get down to Nelson Street this morning to see how the #seenoevil project has transformed one of the grimmest streets in the city. Apparently it is now the largest ‘permanent’ street art project (though god knows what that actually means!).
I’ve been interested in graffiti for about 27 years now - since even before I got my copy of Subway Art (which I looked at so much it fell apart) or the famous graffiti exhibition at the Arnolfini in ‘85 that I attended more times than I could count and I love the fact that something like this can happen in Bristol - even in this ‘age of austerity’ we are going through in the public sector at the moment. Apparently the Council invested £80k in the project and while I’m sure that will wind up the likes of the Tax Payers Alliance I believe it was money well spent and will certainly revitalise that corner of the city centre.
I got down to Nelson Street at about 10.30 this morning and it was already full of people taking photographs. The vast majority of these people seemed to be in their 60s which I found a little surreal! There were also alot of young families milling around as well.
[One thing that hasn’t improved is the smell of that street - still clearly primarily used as an open air toilet after dark!]
I’ll be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect with the art. The first piece completed by Spanish artist Aryz was in my opinion quite a disappointment - other than the scale it just didn’t really do anything for me and brought up alot of my street art vs. graffiti predjudices!
That said I did have faith in Inkie who was acting as curator as he has been my favourite artist since the very early days and has a foot in both the Banksy influenced ‘street art’ camp and the more traditional, old school graffiti camp. The fact people like the TATS CRU were invited and even Goldie dusted off his cans of Montana and his gasmask was a good sign!
In the end it was better than I could possibly have hoped. The walls are awash with colour, with a great mix of traditional graffiti writing and characters, beautiful abstract works, huge scale pieces, nice little cameos in hidden corners and minimal amounts of lazy stenciling (where it is used it is done thoughtfully and skillfully).
Local artists like Cheo more than hold their own against some of the international ‘stars’ and the whole thing does feel like something quite special.
I didn’t take any pictures myself - I figure Flickr will be full of much better pictures than I could take in the days to come - and I think given the level of press the event received I imagine it might end up being the tourist attraction I am sure the Council are hoping for.
Congratulations to all involved.