Artwork by Buff Monster, Photography Paul Box, painted at Upfest 2017
Upfest, Europe’s largest free street art festival, will be extending further down East Street this weekend, thanks to new support from local developer Firmstone Consortia One.
The developer, who recently launched new apartments at St Catherine’s Place, stepped in to support the festival following a funding shortfall after a major supermarket in the area decided to withdraw from supporting the renewal of Bedminster’s Business Improvement District.
National and international artists will be venturing further down East Street for the first time and festival goers can watch as the front of St Catherine’s Place is transformed by UK based artist, Aspire, who specialises in painting the natural world. He takes inspiration from the real world and appropriates the digital world, combining the two to create distinctive pixelated paintings.
Several artists will also be painting live for the first time at 60-66 East Street including Belgian muralist Dzia, Dutch artists Gomad and Nol, self-taught artists Irony and Koeone, Si2/Hull_Graffiti and a collection of Irish artists known as SUBSET. Urban graffiti-ist Voyder, who has painted commissions for the Queen, The White House and Elton John, will also be painting at this new Upfest location.
Francis Firmstone, director of Firmstone Consortia One, commented: “Upfest is a jewel in the crown of BS3 and when we heard that important community events like this would be affected by the BID vote, we decided to step in and help. We’re excited to see the amazing artwork that will be created over the course of the weekend that will add a touch of colour to more of East Street Buildings.”
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the festival has also had great success with its annual crowdfunding programme to help support the artists who attend the festival. Running from 28-30 July, the popular Upfest festival attracts over 400 artists from 70 countries as they descend on the area to paint live on 60,000 sq ft of surfaces.
The first step in the regeneration of St Catherine’s Place is Catherine’s House, a former office block which is being converted into apartments aimed at the local market. Nearly three quarters of the apartments were snapped up in less than two weeks when they launched to market in June.
The regeneration of St Catherine’s Place will deliver high quality new homes, shops, leisure facilities and services that the community need, all within an attractive, high quality environment.