John Nation street art

It’s been a prominent couple of weeks for the street art and graffiti world in the West Country, thanks to Banksy’s Dismaland exhibition in Weston-super-Mare and the buzz in Bristol surrounding urban art is far from dwindling.

Bristol’s creative culture and street art history make it an exceptional city to discover the art form. With a diverse range of talented home-grown artists, including the world-famous Banksy himself (whose own works are hidden all over Bristol), many of the city’s walls present a vibrant canvas in constant flux.

Bristol Street Art

Photo credit Bristol City Council

To quench the current thirst for all things street art, we’ve dug out an interview we did with John Nation, charismatic graffiti expert and Godfather of Bristol urban art, about his thoughts on the city’s street art scene. John Nation helps to run Bristol street art walking tours and personally knows many of Bristol’s street artists, including Bristol hero, Banksy.

John Nation believes that the Bristol street art scene is "Arguably the greatest street art city in the UK” because of the “long history, culture and the diversity of styles painted here. It's also the sheer amount of work that can be found on the streets, buildings, shops and galleries around the city.”  John is passionate about the scene, and also comments on the sheer volume of quality work constantly being painted and evolving in this city, meaning there is always something new to see.

The Canteen street art banksy

Photo credit Morgane Bigault

John Nation's best of Bristol

Favourite place to eat: “It has to be The Canteen in Stokes Croft, the food is great, as is the live music and the atmosphere is always thriving. Plus it is located right underneath Banky’s famous, Mild Mild West which you can admire as you eat.”

Favourite view: “The view from the Clifton Suspension Bridge.”

Favourite festival: "There is always an amazing atmosphere at Upfest, which is Europe’s largest live urban arts festival.”

Favourite bar or pub: “The Bank of Stokes Croft”

Favourite area of Bristol for a night out: “I always have a great night in Stokes Croft”

Favourite breakfast: “Brunel’s Buttery on the Harbourside, which is a Bristol institution. The bacon sandwiches are the best you’ll find anywhere.”

Favourite shop: "Dutty Girl in Stokes Croft, has a great selection of unique and customised clothing and street-wear. They support independent designers, graffiti writers, illustrators and artists of Bristol.”

One thing not to miss in Bristol: “The incredible street art and graffiti art that can be found all over Bristol, plus At-Bristol on the harbourside is a great place for a visit.”

Sum up Bristol in 3 words: “Colourful, innovative, welcoming”.

City green john nation


Banksy Graffiti Mild Mild West
Street Art
Banksy Graffiti Mild Mild West

Bristol's very own anti-establishment grafitti artist Banksy makes his mark on Stokes Croft with this iconic artwork

Bristol Street Art Walking Tours
Walking Tour
Bristol Street Art Walking Tours

Explore the latest street art where the walls change weekly, and celebrate Bristol's unique creative culture.

Gloucester Road Shopping
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Gloucester Road is located in North Bristol and runs through St Andrews, Bishopston and Horfield. It has a large number of independent traders as well as household names.

Clifton Suspension Bridge
Historic Site
Clouds over Clifton Suspension Bridge Bristol - CREDIT GARY NEWMAN

The world famous bridge and the iconic symbol of Bristol, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1831 and completed in 1864 after his death

We The Curious
Science Centre
We The Curious exhibitions

We The Curious is a state-of-the-art visitor attraction, offering an amazing world of hands-on discovery for you, your friends and family.