Bristol's annual street art & graffiti festival returns to the streets of Bedminster and Southville this weekend, with over 300 artists from all across the world taking part in three days of live painting.

The event is bigger than ever this year, with a large event area being set up at Ashton Gate Stadium for a huge 200m stretch of artworks, music and family activities.

Many of the bars, cafes, restaurants and shops along North Street are taking part in the festivities too - with DJs, special offers and live music.

Here are some of the most exciting and unusual artists who will be showcasing their work at Upfest 2017 - download the map from the Upfest website to see where you can find them on the festival route.

Cheo Upfest 2017

Cheo at Upfest 2016, Credit: Colin Rayner

1. PAHNL (Souk Kitchen on North Street)

Chosen as the official Upfest Festival Artist for 2017, Birmingham duo PAHNL will be heading south to adorn the wall of the Souk Kitchen restaurant at the junction of North Street and Raleigh Road.

But given that this pair specialise in adding their eyecatching miniature characters to the streetscape of anywhere they fancy, keep an eye out as they may pop up in some unusual places over the weekend.

Pahnl Upfest 2017

PAHNL

2. Bex Glover (McColls, North Street)

A member of Bristol’s own healthy art community, Bex’s instantly recognisable work blends contemporary style with layers of colour and different shapes.

The resulting vibrant pieces don’t just look good on the sides of buildings but have had many a person wondering if it wouldn’t look good at home as well (prints will be available for certain artists from the Upfest shop on North Street).

3. My Dog Sighs (Lilit)

You might remember Portsmouth’s My Dog Sighs from the giant green eyes painted on the side of the Bristol Beer Factory brewery in 2015, one of the festival’s most memorable pieces that year.

Now exhibiting his occasionally melancholic work in urban spaces across the world, this extremely talented artist can bring even the most downtrodden space to life.

4. Voyder (Barclays Bank)

While many street artists have a signature core to their work which gets enhanced and altered over the years, Voyder is a hugely versatile painter who rarely produces two pieces of similar work.

Whether it’s multicoloured sharks or giant human figures, he produces the sort of work that can stop traffic.

Voyder Upfest 2017

Voyder

5. Dzia (Redpoint Climbing Centre)

As Upfest has grown over the years, its footprint has widened to include much more than just North Street, and it’s worth an extra few minutes' stroll to catch some of the more far-flung pieces.

This is certainly the case this year as Antwerp’s Dzia gets the task of putting his wildlife-themed signature on the side of Redpoint Climbing Centre.

6. Will Barrass/Xenz (The Masonic)

When it comes to Upfest there are few bigger shoes to fill than Pichi & Avo, whose giant Greek God on the side of The Masonic pub has been photographed thousands of times since the 2016 festival.

That huge space will now be worked on by Birmingham-born Will Barras, a founder of Bristol’s Scrawl Collective and an artist much in demand around the world. He will be joined by Xenz, whose bold urban work often ends up in private collections.

Will Barras Upfest 2017

Will Barras

7. Nomad Clan (The Old Bookshop)

Our friends in the north, Manchester’s Nomad Clan, are back at Upfest to show what they can do with a blank canvas. Made up of Cbloxx and AYLO, they are adept at adding a bit of social comment to their pieces, based on where they are painting.

These are artists who are not afraid of heights – their biggest work to date was a seven-storey mural in Leeds.

Nomad Clan Upfest 2017

Nomad Clan

8. Hannah Admamaszek (South Street Park)

One of Hannah’s bold female faces stares back at anyone walking past The North Street Standard by the Dean Lane junction, and while she is now used to showing her work across Europe, Bristol proudly claims her as one of its own.

Her giant portraits of women manage to combine strong tones with delicate outlines and are the sort of artworks you can stare at for a long time, constantly finding new things to admire.

9. Cheo (Brewery Theatre)

This space will be familiar to Cheo, whose animated Santa added a splash of colour to this building in December 2014. 

Bristolians will instantly recognise the bulging eyes of Cheo’s signature bees who tend to pop up in his work, and his colourful cartoon-style artwork is something that will appeal to younger Upfest visitors as well as grown-ups.

10. Kobra (Tobacco Factory)

A sign of how far the reputation of Upfest has spread is the fact that artists like Brazil’s Kobra are prepared to fly to Bristol to paint live.

Hailing from Sao Paulo, where he developed his style around the ‘pixacao’ culture of the South East of Brazil, Kobra has landed himself one of Upfest’s biggest spaces – the side of the Tobacco Factory -  to make his mark. There’s sure to be a lot of interest in whatever he produces.

Kobra Upfest 2017

Kobra

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