Monday 3rd August 2015

UpFest trip inspires St.Helens artist

Back to News

St. Helens artist Jack Knowles is working on a R&D Prototype Project called Eco Graffiti. To help inspire and kick start his research, Heart of Glass supported him to visit UpFest, Europe’s largest, free, graffiti and street art festival.

Jack takes up the story:

Graffiti. Most of you will know what it is.

Most of you will have seen it at some point, but the Graffiti you mostly see is tags. This is the simplest form of graffiti as this is the artists’ signature. There are many styles of graffiti ranging from tags to pieces/murals, but there not many local platforms to experience this.

 Some places celebrate Graffiti and all its styles and last weekend I was given the opportunity by Heart of Glass to attend one of the places that do. Upfest 2015.

Upfest is Europe’s largest, free, graffiti & street art festival, with over 250 artists painting 28 venues from 25th – 27th July throughout Bedminster & Southville, Bristol. Talented artists travelled from 25 countries and all across the UK to paint live on 30,000sqft of surfaces in front of 25,000 visitors. The festival also raises money for NACOA (the national association for children of alcoholics)

Bristol is a hotspot for urban/street art and graffiti. As soon as you enter the city you can see the different art forms on every street, from small “tags” to magnificent “pieces”. Walking through Bedminster it was clear that this part of the city has hit hard times; closed shops, rundown buildings, the streets seemed a little dull.  Although I knew things were about to change over the course of the weekend.

As most people know Bristol is the home of the worlds most famous and enigmatic street artist Banksy, but it is also home to INKY one of the biggest artists on the UK graffiti scene. I am pleased to say I was able to view one of INKY’s pieces at this year’s Upfest.

This festival not only takes place in the streets, but it also appears in parks, cafes, pubs, theatres, galleries and churches. The platforms for the amazing art on show are endless. I was also able to look at the amazing art work in the café then have a coffee whilst I planned my route using the Upfest map. There were also art sales, music, pop up shops and art workshops to accompany the artists in each main venue.

This festival has a great deal of support from the people of Bristol, not only from the business owners who allow the artists to use their venues as a platform but also from the local community. With the locals and all the visitors the pavements and local business were full with people spilling out into the roads, the atmosphere was amazing not to mention having the opportunity to view many talented artists work over the two days.

Over the two days it has encouraged me to push myself to learn new styles and improve on existing ones. There are two graffiti gallery/shops in Bristol (that support graffiti and are there all year round) so I purchased books to help me with my development. This has also made me realise I would like to start planning a similar style festival within the north west and I will be researching into that also.

I would highly recommend this festival to everyone! Thanks to Heart of Glass for the opportunity and you’ll be hearing more about my Prototype Project soon.


For more information about our Prototype Projects click here