I’ve written before about the great street-art that’s being used to brighten up the Stokes Croft neighbourhood of Bristol and encourage community spirit through the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft. The organisation is the brainchild of Chris Chalkley who is based at Jamaica Street Studios, so when I heard that this community of artists was holding their annual Open Studios, I had to go along and have a look.
On the ground floor I found Chris, beer in hand, serving cups of tea, home-made cakes and talking to anyone who would listen about his mission to save some of the old buildings in the area from the developers in order to keep a better balance of small businesses, community use and centres of creativity. There was paper and charcoal laid out to encourage any potential artists who fancied having a go and my son and his friend sat in the sun and sketched for a while.
Then my son’s eye was caught by a supermarket trolley full of aerosol paints as used by many a graffiti artist. After a quick demo by Chris on the art of using aerosols and stencils to make great street-art, the boys were having a go themselves.
… and here are the finished masterpieces – I’m not sure that Banksy has to worry about the competition just yet, but every great street-artist has to start somewhere.
While the boys were exploring their creative side, I climbed the stairs to the upper floors, where all the individual studios had been transformed into mini art galleries for the weekend. The place was an inspirational hotbed of artistic talent and you could see how illustrators, painters, textile designers and animators could spark off each other, working in the wonderful space of the old warehouse.
I loved the way that many of them had left up their noticeboards covered with their own personal sources of inspiration. On each floor there were drinks and home-made cakes being served and you could sit and admire the work, mug of tea in hand.
Here are some more of my favourite creative corners at the show.
And check out this great video about the show from Bristol based video-makers Bristol5on1.