Jenny Life studio and gallery now open

12 07 2011

The Jenny Life studio and gallery is now open on the Christmas Steps. Owned by Jenny, a potter by trade who has spent the last 10 years working in the Centreapace studios in the city centre, the gallery half-way up the steps is her chance to showcase her work and other artists’ work to a wider audience.

Jenny is currently exhibiting her own ceramics along with work in various media by a number of artists including Jenny McGee, Mignon Korn and Adam Edwards.

Visit the gallery at 15 Christmas Steps, Bristol.

Preview: Upfest

3 06 2011

Graffiti artists from across the globe will be heading to Bristol this weekend for Upfest, Europe’s largest free urban paint festival which is returning for the fourth year running to the city which has given the world far more than just Banksy as esteemed practitioners of this ever popular artform.

The Tobacco Factory will be the main focus of the two-day festival, which will feature more than 250 artists and 40 DJs, but there will also be many more events happening in locations south of the river, including the Spotted Cow and Hen & Chicken further up North Street.

Bristol’s home-grown talents Cheo, Jody and Lokey will paint alongside some of the biggest names in national graffiti culture Don, Inkie and Spqr, as well as artists from across Europe and as far afield as the USA.

Upfest partner Stephen Hayles says that Upfest has become an integral part of the UK graffiti scene. “Bristol is established as the home of graffiti in the UK; the whole country and now even the world has attributed this to the city. We are proud to be a part of this movement and will continue to provide a platform for brand new artists to break onto the UK urban art scene.”

Upfest takes place on Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5. Visit for more information.


*Insert toilet pun here*

5 03 2011

In a splendid example of creating a new purpose for an old building, the Victorian cloakroom and toilets on the corner of Woodland Road and Park Row are from today being transformed into an art gallery for the next couple of weekends. It will play host to a show from a group of artists who will use the Victorian era as a general theme.

Artist and organiser Sarah Bustamante-Brauning spoke to Venue about the exhibition.

She said: “We tried previously to contact landlords about using empty shops on a temporary basis for exhibitions and events, but with not much luck, until we approached the council about the Victorian toilets.

“Many of the original features have remained intact and there is something intriguing about the architecture of the space.

“The toilets have transformed perfectly into an exhibition space. The walls are white with great features from the time, and have individual cubicles and large wall space to display work.”

The toilets have not been used for their original purpose for some time now, but were last open to the public as a setting in last year’s zombie chase game 2.8 Hours Later.

The gallery will be open on Saturdays from 11am-5pm, and Sundays 12pm-4pm.

For more information, visit

Never More Than a Metre Away

18 02 2011

Last year we may have unfairly (actually, not so unfairly) said that, like the commonly held fact about rats, in Bristol you seem never to be more than a few metres away from a Caffe Gusto. Whatever your thoughts on that particular cafe chain, your views on rats can be expounded from tomorrow at the Shop gallery on Christmas Steps.

Bristol-based illustrator Tim Ulewicz is presenting an exhibition on the theme of our rodent friends and their relationships with humans. The launch takes place tomorrow, and the exhibition runs until February 25.

Antlers nomadic art gallery, Park Street

11 02 2011

Banksy’s Hanging Man may be on the wall next door, but until the Sue Sheppard recruitment office closed last year, they were arguably another artistic highlight of the bottom end of Park Street, with their constantly-changing and sometimes very elaborate window displays.

So it is fitting that Antlers, Bristol’s nomadic gallery, last seen in an empty shop on the corner of Whiteladies Road and Cotham Hill (read about their first gallery and exhibition here), have chosen this building for their second pop-up exhibition.

Uncanny Views is all about the landscape genre, and is a group show by four Bristol-based artists – Anouk Mercier, Helen Jones, Max Naylor and Robert Morsley – who present views of land, sea and city.

We are told that the artists “explore familiar yet foreign scenes with suggestions of the looming, lurking and unknown”.

While traditional drawing practice is at the core of all of the artist’s work, each also incorporates additional techniques in their production. Processes include acetone transfer, ink splatting, photography and distressing of the original image.

“The new show, Uncanny Views, came from seeing such challenging examples of landscapes and seascapes in studios across Bristol,” says Antlers director Jack Gibbon.

“Landscapes are often dismissed as just an easy way to cash-in on popular views. This exhibition shows the flip side of the genre. Real and imaginary views are depicted in works that as well as displaying their own inherent beauty and value, challenge us to readdress our relationship with the environment around us.”

Uncanny Views can be seen at Antlers, 2-4 Park Street between 11am and 7pm until February 26. For more information, visit

The Longest Night

20 12 2010

There’s just one more day left to catch The Longest Night in North Street, Bedminster. There are window displays in shops from nationally-renowned Bristol artists, as well as a gallery and external projections. I was slipping and sliding along North Street this afternoon and watched as some of the wonderful window displays literally stopped passers-by in their tracks.

Some intriguing pieces of art can be found in the windows of six shops near the former bingo hall: Itech, The Aquatic Store, Wyatt & Ackerman, Elzware, Zero G Cycles and Elizabeth’s Place.

The idea of The Longest Night is to “bring the street to life, rekindling memories of days gone by when local shopkeepers would decorate their windows and the smells and sights of Christmas would excite children of all ages”.

For more information, visit

Inkie solo show

6 12 2010

The first ever Bristol solo show by Inkie is currently taking place at the Bank of Stokes Croft. The show is a look back at the 25-year career of Inkie, covering his graffiti work, his Ink Nouveau ladies (example below), t-shirt graphics and selected old and new design and print works from the period 1985 to 2010.

Inkie was brought up in Bristol, but is now an adopted Londoner where he has been head of creative design at Sega.

Talking to Soma Soma Scene, he had this to say about how he was in part influenced by his former surroundings: “Bristol is a beautiful Georgian city with a very creative outlook/attitude tucked away from the rest of UK and has a lot of good cider, weed and mushrooms. That helped.

“The styles used in graffiti are everywhere from street signs to plants to ancient temples. The key is to combine all of these mentally and freestyle your ideas out in your design.”

25 Years of Ink, presented by Flying Eyeball and Weapon of Choice Gallery, is at the Bank of Stokes Croft until December 12.

Antlers nomadic gallery, Whiteladies Gate

2 12 2010

With the economy as it is, empty retail units are featuring more prominently on our high streets. For some, they are a dispiriting sign of the times. But for others, they are an opportunity. The former Kingsley Thomas offices on Whiteladies Gate, on the corner of Whiteladies Road and Cotham Hill, is a case in point for the opportunists. Earlier this year, the building was used by Ad Hoc, a fashionable ladies clothes shop. From this evening and for less than three weeks, it will become nomadic art gallery Antlers and play host to their latest show, Grotesques.

Antlers’ only permanent residence is their website – – with their physical presence in temporary exhibitions moving through different spaces across Bristol.

Antlers was most recently seen at The Urban Wood on Colston Street; now they have opened their first pop-up gallery on Whiteladies Gate with Grotesques, three floors of works from 12 Bristol artists including recent graduates and established artists, who have set out to rethink the traditional genre of wildlife art.

Within the exhibition human and animal forms have been intertwined with the ludicrous, bizarre and monstrous.

The work ranges from a six-foot realist painting of a Sphynx cat to intricate hand-built ceramic creatures.

“Antlers is a commercial gallery which aims to provide an accessible outlet for the sale of art,” says Antlers director Jack Gibbon, who used to work for Damien Hirst.

“In a time where public arts funding is being cut, Antlers hopes to encourage private investment in art and therefore facilitate Bristol-based artists to continue to make work within the city.

“Being nomadic gives us the flexibility to move around, reaching new audiences andresponding to new and diverse spaces. Having no fixed location means our online presence is crucial. Our website, Facebook page and newsletter are our vital communication tools to keep people up to date and interacting with our projects.”

The preview evening of Grotesques is this evening, between 5pm and 8pm. The gallery will then be open daily from 11am to 7pm until December 19.

North Bristol Arts Trail 2010

26 11 2010

Another weekend, another arts trail. After the Totterdown trail last week, this weekend sees the North Bristol Arts Trail, with artists opening their homes in Montpelier, Cotham, Westbury Park, St Andrew’s, Redland, Bishopston, Henleaze and Horfield. For the first time this year, HMP Bristol will form part of the route, with an exhibition of work by prisoners attending education classes.

North Bristol Artists is a group of more than 100 artists who live or have studios in the north Bristol area. They are a mixture of new and well-established artists, working in a variety of media including painting, photography, sculpture, drawing, print, textiles, pottery, glass and jewellery.

St Bart’s Church on Maurice Road in St Andrew’s will be exhibiting art as well as having a full programme of live music across the weekend. Performers include The Ambling Band and Gert Lush Choir.

For the full list of artists and venues, visit

Totterdown Arts Trail 2010

19 11 2010

The 10th Totterdown Arts Trail – officially known as Front Room – starts today with a first night party at the Thunderbolt, and children’s workshops, music and live entertainment throughout the weekend which features 200 artists across 60 venues.

As well as the many homes taking part in the trail this year, art will also be displayed in the Bocabar, Shakespeare, Oxford, Star & Dove, Holy Nativity Church, Totterdown Baptist Church and A Capella.

For full details, visit

(Photograph of Vale Street, Totterdown, by Canis Major)