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.
“We are accused of gentrification so often now, as if it’s our fault” – Fin Dac
As we sat down at what –since then- has become the pub where I had a beer with Fin Dac, my first instinct was to ask him about the unglorious side of street art, a.k.a. gentrification, as his old piece in Rome (Quadraro neighbourhood) was vandalized several times by a “fiercly resistant” local.
“If you gonna do something,
if you gonna actually take the time to do something,
you have to do it 100%,
you have to give everything you can,
otherwise it is not worth doing it.”
Interview with Dan Kitchener
A cider hangover is something you wouldn’t wish on your worse enemy. A cider hangover on the day you are supposed to move out from your flat and relocate somewhere else is an experience closer to the end, rather than to a new beginning. Still, the second chapter of my Bristolian summer (the one that will go down in history as the ‘Stokes Croft‘ chapter) began with an acid smell of peach, which, around Stokes Croft’s rough alleys, is a totally ordinary smell, although it usually doesn’t come from me.