Before 20 August 2011, Nelson Street in Bristol city centre was a nondescript corridor of bleak, grey buildings. Now it hosts the most ambitious permanent street art project ever to take place in the UK, See No Evil.
The project was the brain-child of street artist Inkie and Bristol music promoters Team Love who, together with the support of Bristol City Council, brought leading street artists from around the world to Bristol to transform the facades of ten multi-storey buildings along the street over the course of a week - and in doing so they made Nelson Street one of the world's largest outdoor art exhibitions.
Here you can find out more about some of the key peple behind this world-exclusive street art exhibition, and watch Who's Lenny, the official documentary about the project, and find out where to go to see it for yourself.
About the artists
Bristolian Inkie is a key player in Bristol’s graffiti heritage. One of the most notorious and prolific graffiti writers in UK history to emerge out of the 80s Bristol scene, Inkie has spent his life painting alongside 3D, Crime Inc, Nick Walker and Banksy. In 1989 the ‘Kingpin’ was arrested as the head of 72 other writers in the UK's largest ever graffiti bust, Operation Anderson. He went on to come 2nd in the 1989 world street art championships.
Inkie has since worked as head of design for SEGA and Xbox, as well as remaining knee-deep in the graffiti scene. He has exhibited worldwide, been denounced by The Daily Mail and simultaneously lauded by The Times, his art published in the books Banky's Bristol, Children of the Can, Graffiti World and magazines Graphotism and Dazed & Confused.
Tats Cru inc is a group of Bronx-based professional muralists whose work in aerosol has changed the perception of graffiti as art. Twenty-four years ago, three teenagers began their artistic careers by creating subway graffiti. What began as a recognition tactic has evolved into a powerful, expressive style that has brought Tats Cru to the forefront of mural art – and to Bristol.
Proof of their success and the acceptance of graffiti as an art form has been their work for the Smithsonian Institute 35th Annual Folklife Festival, where Tats Cru was chosen to represent New York City muralists. Their work no adorns several NYC public schools and hospitals.
Miles ‘Mac’ MacGregor was born in Los Angeles in 1980 to an engineer and an artist, and has been creating and studying art independently since childhood. He began painting with acrylics and painting graffiti in the mid ’90s, and by the late ‘90s he was painting technicolor aerosol versions of classic paintings by old European masters. This led to being commissioned in 2003 by the Groeninge Museum in Bruges, Belgium to paint his interpretations of classic Flemish Primitive paintings in the museum’s collection.
Mac continues to focus primarily on creating more public art in different parts of the world, painting photorealistic canvases, and evolving his brushwork style. His intent is to uplift and inspire through careful, perfectionist renderings of both the sublime and the humble. Most especially he enjoys the simple challenges and rewards of painting. He works primarily in Phoenix and Los Angeles – and now of course, Bristol.
Born in Amsterdam in 1967, Niels Meulman is an internationally known artist, designer, and art director. Meulman began tagging in 1979 and became a graffiti legend by the time he was 18. His work evolved into a business for lettering. Meulman revolutionized the art of writing with Calligraffiti, an art form that fuses calligraphy and graffiti. He launched this movement in 2007 with a successful solo exhibition in Amsterdam.
Widely acclaimed, Meulman’s designs and artwork are in the permanent collections of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Kashink is one of the few very active female artists in the graffiti/street art world. She lives in Paris, France, and is getting inspiration from many different cultures. She paints huge four eyed characters, with thick lines, vivid colours, in a very distinctive style. Kashink only paints men, preferably fat and hairy, sometimes looking like badass mobsters or old school gangsters. She's provocative, creative, constantly challenging.
The themes she's been treating in her shows are meaningful- the absurdity of social interactions through the theme of masks, the taboo subject of death and the various ways to deal with it.
Andrea Sergio was born in Brindisi in 1978. In 1990, at only 12-years-old, he was already known as Wany. This was the beginning of a long artistic career that right now emphasises its originality and innate ability in designing. In 1994 he won his first regional contest in Puglia and his passion began to be recognised. From 1997 to 2000, he specialised at the "International School of Comics" in Rome.
Wany is involved in the academic art gallery circuit and has also been very involved in hip-hop culture and remains a point firm and active symbol of hip-hop culture and street art in Italy.
From the active and interesting street art scene of Barcelona comes Aryz. A skilled graffiti artist, he works with spray paint and paint rollers for his huge works with stunning colours.
Born in 1969, Nick Walker emerged from the infamous and ground-breaking Bristol graffiti scene of the early 1980s. He succeeds in combining the freedom that the spray can brings, with very controlled and intricate stencilling. The methods he uses retain their forcefulness and integrity on the traditional medium of canvas.
Nick Walker’s instantly recognisable style and humour have gained him a worldwide following and has been embraced by the record, fashion and film industries.
A must see
Bristol has long been known for its street art movement in the UK, being the home to a host of famous artists. Some of the biggest names in international street art were involved in the Nelson Street art project, each bringing their completely unique styles to Bristol and in doing so transforming this area into an inspiring masterpiece and a legacy for the city.
See no evil is a permanent artwork that has to be seen to be believed, and is a must-visit for locals and visitors to Bristol alike.
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