“Art is not like other culture because its success is not made by its audience. The public fill concert halls and cinemas every day, we read novels by the millions, and buy records by the billions. ‘We the people’ affect the making and quality of most of our culture, but not our art.” – Banksy (a great graffiti artist from Bristol)
Bristol is the closest major city to London and to Laurie’s hometown in Stroud, Gloucestershire. So we went to Bristol twice for a quick visit from Laurie’s hometown. It is surrounded by beautiful countryside that are just visible from the centre of the city itself.
I have also noticed before that I often use Bristol-made products whenever I design something that needs to be eco-friendly, then I found out that Bristol is the ‘green capital’ of the UK because it prides itself with sustainability, now I know :P
Above all, I often read Bristol as the hometown of some of the underground artists I follow (like Liz Frasier of Cocteau twins, Massive Attack and Portishead) because I realised while reading more about this city, that it is really famous for its music (esp Triphop aka Bristol sound and Drumbass) and film industries (like Wallace and Grommit lol) and was a finalist in 2008 for European Capital of Culture, but lost to Liverpool. But then, it is still one of UK’s most attractive cities in terms of arts, architecture, nightlife and culture.
Bristol is also known for its street art! It is actually the home to Europe’s largest street art festival, See No Evil, which is a collection of works of public art by multiple graffiti artists. One of the graffiti artists that perhaps made Bristol famous for street art is the great, Banksy.
Banksy is now a world-famous artist/activist that some of his earliest work is hidden around the city, and spotting it is an absolute joy for anyone. We spotted 2 only whilst going around Bristol. We didn’t have time to go around and check most of his works because we were only in Bristol for a quick ferry tour with Laurie’s mum and sister, and then when we came back, just to catch up with Laurie’s friends, and my long-time friend in Singapore, Katharina ☺
On our first visit, we took the Bristol Ferry Boat tour. Because of the way the city centre is intimately interwoven with the old ‘floating harbour’, a boat is a good way of getting around as well as seeing a lot of interesting sights.
On our second visit, Laurie’s friends – Tim and Ellen, showed me around the area of where our pub is, it’s actually at Stokes Croft / Montpelier at the Eastside of Bristol. It is known as the eccentric heart of Bristol and home to unusual shops, artists and musicians, offering an alternative side of the city.
Ellen grabbed me out of the pub and we walked at the streets with outdoor gallery of colourful street art that continually transforms its walls and buildings, you’ll find work by famous graffiti artists around every corner! Ellen told me, that sometimes when you see some artwork today but it may never be there anymore the next day or have changed into a completely new art.
Tim and Ellen also took us to a Jamaican restaurant! Oh how I miss Jamaican food! Reggae scene is quite popular here because of the immigrants from the Carribean.
I actually enjoyed this second visit even if it was too short! Aside from I got to catch up with my long-time friend Kat, this visit showed me that if ever I will live in UK and outside London (coz that’s my first choice hehe), I will definitely live in Bristol!
It has everything that interests me, it brings me back to my years in college where I am at the peak of my environmental and political awareness (i’m not an activist though!) and enjoys the underground scene of music and art.
Just like how Banksy see art – through the years, I have met different types of people and lived in many places in this world, and even if my convictions remain the same, all things that surround me somehow affected the making and quality of my own culture, mostly in a good way!
I miss the old me, but I am not regretful of what person I have turned to be. ☺