The long awaited graffiti event Not Just Banksy took place last month, creating a flurry of media interest in its wake.
What started as a humble desire by UWESU Media to celebrate the street art and graffiti this city harbours soon became an event of local interest, with big names and some surprise artists making an appearance.
The day kicked off with some spray painting outdoors by the likes of Inkie, Cheba, Lokey and Nikil, with Sepa and Mr Rick also making an appearance. Taking over the space outside Escape bar the boys drew crowds despite the bleak weather, showing off their trade mark styles on the boards.
Not to be out done, UWE’s own students artists turned up with force, including Kitt, Tribe One and Stove, using stencils and free-styling with cans. Working it for the fairer sex were Ira and the Art Tart, who made a now infamous appearance later in the day.
First timers and veterans alike were invited to have a go on the boards and some surprise guests included Ryda and Reaf who collaborated on a piece, as well as Up Fest organiser Steven Hayles. Hayles used stencils to create bizarre headless chickens and a mock hand written letter.
Crowds gathered to watch the artists work and slightly misguided whispers of “So is Banksy here then?” filtered through the air.
As day turned to night visitors were ushered upstairs to Red bar were further painting (with paint pens) continued, along with a brief education of the Bristol graffiti scene. A handy A-Z was posted up around the venue while film screenings of the 80’s VHS classic Wildstyle were played in the background.
As Inkie, Paul Boswell and the Weapon of Choice boys continued to paint and Hub DJs provided some beats, Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft founder Chris Chalky gave an impassioned speech about a need for change and how Bristol’s rich culture has shaped his life. Chalky was followed by a film screening of Tags to Riches; a document based largely in Bristol examining peoples attitudes to graffiti. Author and artist Felix Braun gave the key note speech on his experiences of the Bristol art scene, inviting the audience to participate in a question and answer session. After Braun made comments about his views on tagging, “sure, I’d be p**sed of if someone tagged my front door” stirred the audience into a debate about the merits of tagging as the precursor to graffiti as it is now more widely known.
The night soon wrapped after Braun’s talk finished, with crowds dispersing to travel home, go back to the library while a few lingered to what the last of the indoor painting. All in all the night was a huge success, attracting interest from BBC Points West and Radio 4. The finished art work remained on display for a further week and may possibly feature as an exhibition at Bower Ashton in the near future.