Bristol’s culture can be summed up in many ways; the city’s thriving multicultural residents, it’s unique and distinctive music scene, it’s culinary brilliance, but perhaps more than anything else Bristol is known around the world as a hotbed for street art and the birthplace of Banksy.
Whilst Banksy may have put Bristol street art on the map, many other respected graffiti artists have also added vibrancy and colour to the outside walls of buildings in our city, earning it the title as the capital of street art in Europe, if not the entire world.
Let’s take a closer look at where you can find some of Bristol’s finest street art and some of the incredible Bristolian talent contributing to this vibrant century scene.
Where to go
Street art is abundant throughout the city’s roads and streets in Bristol, from the main high streets and thoroughfares to side roads and out the way buildings and areas. You won’t need to venture too far from the city centre to glimpse diverse outdoor murals adding pops of colour to otherwise grey and monotonous buildings.
Let’s look at some of the main areas in turn.
Nelson Street is a good place to head to soak up the city’s outdoor artwork museum. In fact, it was this very spot where the first street art festival, See no Evil, took place in 2011-2012. The event was organised by Inkie, one of the city’s most respected graffiti artists.
North Street and Bedminster
Some of the world’s best urban artists have left their mark in the Bedminster and Southville areas. North Street, in particular, is awash with colourful wall canvases, many of which have been created during the most widely acclaimed street art festivals in the world, Upfest. The quality and sheer scale of the street art here will blow you away (and because of the annual Upfest festival, changes every year).
Popular with students, the Stokes Croft area of Bristol is bursting with colour, with some of the most famous outdoor murals to be found in this location. Think Cosmo Sarson’s epic Jesus BreakDance, and, of course, Banksy’s Mild Mild West. Also don’t miss taking a peep at works by Aspire, Stinkfish, Cheba and Phlegm all lining the colourful and vibrant Stoke Croft area.
Although Easton is famed for housing some of Banksy’s most ambitious works of urban art (he allegedly lived here), don’t dismiss the many other curations from lesser-known artists. In fact, veer off the beaten track to the back streets of Stanley Park and you will discover a whole host of graffiti talent.
The annual Upfest event is regarded as the world’s largest street art festival, where more than 250 urban artists from all over the world converge on Southville’s North Street. While the festival focuses on all-things street art, music also features and you can expect to hear a wide range of hip-hop, soul, reggae and funk vibes. The event is taking a hiatus for 2019 but should be back on the scene next year.
In conjunction with Upfest, NASS festival also showcases some of the best street art and artists that the local area has to offer.
Bristol’s Street Artists
The world’s most famous graffiti artists have made their way to Bristol, putting their creative stamp on the city’s walls. Arguably, the most famous of all artists is the legendary Banksy, who began his graffiti career in the city, and has been unleashing his creative talents on walls since 1993.
While Banksy is the king of Bristol’s urban artwork scene, it would be unfair not to mention other talented street artists that have brought a splash of colour to the city’s walls. If you want to immerse yourself in Bristol’s graffiti art, seek out the murals of these other creatives.
With that being said, let’s start with Bristol and perhaps the world’s most famous street artist.
No visit to Bristol would be complete without hunting down some of Banksy’s most famous wall illustrations. Head to Frogmore Street, to glimpse the Well Hung Lover, while Hanover Place is the location to spot the renowned Girl with the Pierced Eardrum. Off Bath Buildings Road you can spy one of Banky’s earliest innovations, Take the Money and Run. Other street artists, such as Inky and Mobz, pitched in to help with this one.
Some of Banksy’s artwork can also be found on display at the M Shed gallery, including The Grim Reaper/The Ferryman and Tesco Value Petrol Bomb.
Walking tours are available to view Banksy’s most famous murals, as well as other street art throughout Bristol. Organised tours are especially interesting if you want to learn more about each individual artist and the history of the artwork.
Humour is at the heart of the graffiti creations of UK artist Angus, where his works of art are influenced by cartoon characters, superheroes and Minions.
If you catch sight of a distinguished-looking dog wearing clothes, covering five floors of the walls of a building in Bristol, then you will instantly know it is the work of Spanish artist, Aryz.
If you stumble across artworks on walls around Bristol depicting birds surrounded by neon colours, then chances are it will be the work of talented UK graffiti artist, Aspire.
This graffiti artist has a penchant for painting astral scenes around Bristol, in particular, the Full Moon pub in Stokes Croft displays his most famous illustration.
Dan’s striking Streets of Colour scene on Westbourne Grove cleverly portrays a wet street illuminated by neon signs, reflections, rain and light.
Unicorn fans should head to St. John’s church, where you will discover a fresco style depiction spray-painted on the wall by local artist, Feek.
Bristol-born Inkie is fast earning the same urban artist status as fellow compatriot Banksy, who dominated the scene during the 1980s. He has daubed paint on a pub in Clifton as well as a restaurant in Keynsham, infusing a style influenced by Mayan architecture.
Known for creating bronze sculptures that can be found on walls or at the top of street signs, this UK artist has left his mark in the Leonard’s Lane part of the city.
Portuguese urban artist Odeith is famed for the eye-catching illustration of Benny Hill, found covering a wall in Bristol.
There is a reason why graffiti artist Stik has acquired his name, as his urban illustrations of choice are simple stick figures that can be found gracing large walls around Bristol.
Bringing an exotic flavour to the streets of Bristol, Stinkfish’s two most famous pieces include a one-layered stencil portrait of an African girl in Stokes Croft, as well as an Indian girl, entitled Taj Mahal Girl, on Mina Road.