Europe’s Largest Street Art Festival Honours Hometown Boy Banksy

Bristol UK – Free is not a word that has been used often enough in relation to the 2012 Olympics. With heightened security no one was free to do anything. Street artists around London suffered in the run up. Many were targeted and arrested as a precautionary measures to prevent agitation, that may have sparked public disorder.

The tickets for events most certainly were not free. People from around the world spent months trying to obtain the elusive one or two, spending over the odds and selling a few of their children along the way,  just to sit claustrophobically  between an Austrian and a Japanese family, who had also hocked the family silver to be there. At least they had that in common. No, the Olympics were and continue to be, with the Paralympics only weeks away, a luxury for the elite few. There is however light on the horizon, this weekend for those looking to save on expenses, and enjoy what the rest of the UK and the world has to offer, in terms of art and culture.

Bristol the native home of Banksy, will be launching to ‘See No Evil’, Europe’s largest street art festival which is presented as part of the London 2012 festival. In case there is any doubt lingering, yes, it is free. Rather than cramming in a month full of events and quickly getting board, this is a spectacular weekend with masses to see. This event is quick and to the point, there is no mucking about, and those who miss it will sadly have to hope that they can plan ahead to the next big offering, silently sitting in anguish knowing that this weekend has provided such eclectic innovation.

‘See No Evil’ is top of the bill for the UK this weekend. It runs from the 17-19 August. The world’s best will be coming from the USA, Germany, Belgium, Italy, France, Austria, and a variety of notable places throughout the UK. On 17 August everything changes for one evening while a visual and musical performance called ‘Mail, Maps, and Motion’ is held. If it wasn’t enough to have the world’s largest street art festival, this event combines a multitude of talent both within the visual arts and music. Adrian Utley from Portishead will be working in conjunction with Joanie Lemercier from visual design label Anti VJ. Both are pioneers in their own fields. Utley brings eccentricity and experimentation to a music industry that is oppressively dominated at the moment by pop princesses and pseudo hip- hop gangsters. He approaches music in a playful manner, having produced and worked with very talented musicians who have gone on to shape the musical frontier. Lemercier on the other hand works in part with music, taking things a step further when he applies them in a visual context. He has previously worked on a project that could only have been deemed obsessive when he was forced to miss a flight to New York from Europe during the Icelandic volcanic eruption. Out of his misfortune, Lemercier, transformed images and footage from the cloud that appeared to engulf every media outlet the world over, into a stunning visual calculation, that is both geometric and organic. It appears that Lemercier’s approach to his work and his world encompasses a very intricate understanding of 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional planes. He uses a multitude of projectors to portray his visions while incorporating hand drawn images onto a variety of surfaces, most of which are on a large scale. These two artists along with a selection of equally talented composers, visual performers, and DJs will bring the Passenger Shed in Bristol to life for one evening only.

Street artists will continue this mashup trend by creating work alongside a floating seed garden and Jeremy Deller’s infamous “Sacrilege” his inflatable Stonehenge sculpture will be there. Deller’s sculpture has been traveling the country and will certainly delight all ages as it makes a stop to encourage playfulness and a “shoes off” exploration and rediscovery as expressed by Deller. “Sacrilege” will be joining the other events on Saturday, following the launch of Brazilian artist, Maria Tereza Alves’ “Seeds of Change: A Floating Ballast Seed Garden” which blossoms on Friday. Alves has gained permission to use an unused grain barge in Bristol Harbour to explore the history of ‘incidental cargo’ and the transportation of seeds from around the world. She has collected and replanted native and non-native seeds from around the globe and brought them together creating an mini floating botanical wonder, adding to the bizarre and surreal nature of the weekend ahead.

It has rumoured that Bristol native, Banksy will be making a secretive appearance to create a new work for the festival this year. He created two new outdoor pieces for the London 2012 Olympics, but the location has yet to surface. In any event this festival would not be taking place without the influence of this local lad made good! Watch his website to reveal the master plan.

Collaboration, and exploration are priority at this event, collaboration which brings together local and international street artists, and a chance to see symphonic tunes melt together amongst a visual cacophony of global, and more importantly, human talent. This will be a shinning example of Olympic ideals at it’s finest, running for this weekend only.

Words by: Portia Pettersen © Artlyst 2012 Image from: ‘See No Evil’ Promotional Image

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