I don’t think it would be right of me to move away from Bristol until I’ve posted about the graffiti legend that is Banksy. I didn’t manage to find all his work during my time in the west country, though I did find a fair bit of it. Some pieces I wanted to find were no longer there – tagged over in some cases – but most of them are still in perfect condition. I will be back to find more soon. If you’re going Banksy hunting in Bristol then I recommend the Banksy Bristol Tour App.
As I mentioned in my initial street art blog post the first Banksy I found in Bristol was ‘Well Hung Lover’ on the bottom of Park street. It’s probably one of the easier ones to find as the centre of Bristol is about a fifteen minute walk from Temple Meads Station, or if you’re going on the Mega Bus, the stop is only a couple of minutes away. Though I recommend never going anywhere on the Mega bus.
Park St is right near The Waterfront in the heart of the city and there’s plenty of places to go for food and drink. You might want to top-up your energy levels before venturing on a Bansky Quest, I suggest by sampling some local ales in No. 1 Harbourside. I’ve had my fair share of drunken nights in that place.
1) So here it is, Banksy’s ‘Well Hung Lover’ on the bottom of Park Street, Bristol.
I think this is one of my favourite Banksy pieces for a number of reasons. It was the first Banksy I saw in Bristol, the first piece of street art I posted on my Instagram account and one of the main reasons I fell in love with graffiti. It’s also a well thought out piece of art, as is all of his work. There’s always a reason behind what he does, which just adds to his genius. This one in particular was done on the side of a sexual health clinic, ironic?
2) Staying down near the harbourside there used to be another famous Banksy piece, ‘The Grim Reaper’.
Luckily I managed to find Banky’s ‘Grim Reaper’ during my time in Bristol, which was done on the side of the Thekla Social boat in Bristol harbour. Upon doing some research for this blog post it saddens me to read that this piece of work is no longer there. In 2014 it was removed by the cities council as it was deteriorating due to the weather and murky waters. It’s now living safely in a museum somewhere in the town, no doubt you’ll have to pay a few quid to see it now.
3) The next Banksy I came across in Bristol was ‘Blowpop Records’. You wouldn’t even really know it was there unless you knew what you’re looking for.
The building’s now pretty derelict and it’s surrounded by fencing, and the graffiti itself is pretty faded. But still, it was done by Banksy so it’s worth the trek. You can find it on what used to be the walls of a cool Bristol night club and record label.
From the ‘Blowpop Records’ Banksy I made my way towards the hipster area that is Stokes Croft. This place is very different from anywhere you’ve ever been, it thrives from a local community of creative and diverse people. It feels free, and the smell of weed is rife in the air. It’s the kind of place that’s against commercialism and when they opened a Tesco there in 2011 it was met by a huge protest. There’s also some really amazing street art up in Stokes Croft that’s definitely worth seeing. Stay tuned for a Stokes Croft blog post.
4) ‘Take the money and run’ is the first Banksy I discovered up in Stokes Croft find and it was a great find. It’s located just down Bath Buildings. What I like about finding Banksy’s in Bristol is that the majority of them are in perfect condition and aren’t covered in protective sheeting like the one’s you see in London.
5) Last and by no means least is ‘The mild mild west’, which is up there with some of his finest work in Bristol, and maybe one of his most iconic pieces – as well as being one of my favourites too. This Banksy is also up in the heart of Stokes Croft and you can’t miss it.
And that just about sums up the works of Banksy that I managed to find during my days in the west country. I did try and find another one, got piss wet through in the process only to find it was no longer there. So just to warn you, if you go to Bristol in search of ‘Sniper’ by Banksy on Colston Street, please don’t make the same mistake I did.
No doubt I’ll be returning to Bristol at some point this year and I’ll make it my mission to go and find the rest of his work. I have found more Banksy’s in London, which I’ll be going onto in further blog posts, as well as lots of other London street art by some amazing artists.
Graffiti lovers & artists, please add comments, share your favourite Banksy’s and add any info I’ve missed.
If you’ve not been to Bristol yet, then you need to.