After eight long weeks of sunshine, the infamous English summer has arrived in Bristol. It happened on the opening weekend of the 10th edition of Upfest, the largest street art and graffiti festival in Europe. Hundreds of street artists and thousands of street art hunters gathered in Bristol hoping to stay dry, although the atmosphere of this world famous Bristol street art festival is so chilled and ‘bristolian’ that, in the end, we didn’t mind the water.
When people asked me “Why Bristol?” my reply was always the same: “street art”.
The quiet hiss of the can as someone sprayed, and the shrill metal clacking as they shook it are the most distinctive sounds in Bristol, a city known more for the graffiti on its streets than for the paintings inside its museums.
I won’t write an introduction to Banksy’s street art. You all know who Banksy is, at least as much as you don’t know who Banksy is. Unless you are from Bristol; in that case, I’m sure you have a Banksy story to share with street art bloggers like me, perhaps about the time you were hanging out together in Easton. I heard so many Banksy stories all over the summer and, although none of them helped me figure out the identity of the guy (and –honestly- I don’t even care about it), they all highlighted a fundamental point: whoever Banksy is, Bristol is incredibly proud of him.
Since I became a freelancer, from time to time I force myself to wash, dress, go out and work from a café or a public library, just to spend some time surrounded by other human beings.
Luckily, English people are used to working from their laptops in cafés, so it’s unusual to be hounded by passive-aggressive baristas (although that did happen to me in Bristol, you won’t find those unwelcoming places on my list).