Graffiti Art

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Bristol Street Art Project – “See No Evil”

Graffiti art in Nelson Street, Bristol - part of the "See No Evil" project

Graffiti art in Nelson Street, Bristol – part of the “See No Evil” project

“See No Evil” is a collection of works of public art by multiple graffiti artists, located in and around Nelson Street, Bristol, UK. The initial event to create the artwork took place over the weekend of 20/21 August 2011 and was possibly Europe’s largest street art festival at the time. The street was mostly repainted in a repeat event in 2012.

The See no Evil graffiti art project comprises murals of various sizes, some painted on tower blocks, including a 10-storey office block, representing elements and style of the street art world. The works were created under a road closure, using scaffolding and aerial work platforms, supporting the claim, that Bristol may be the current international centre of the urban art movement. Bristol has a well established and thriving urban art scene, with many walls around the city decorated over the years by artistic graffiti, notably around the Stokes Croft area, often by local but international respected urban artists like Inkie and Banksy.

A squirrel perhaps?

A squirrel perhaps?

The event was organized by respected Bristol street artist Inkie (Tom Bingle) who emerged (like Bansky) out of Bristol’s 1980’s graffiti scene. Nelson Street was chosen because it was depressing and run down, a nondescript corridor of bleak, grey buildings between Broadmead and Colston Square in the city centre. The project had the support of Bristol City Council as there were no development plans for the area at the time and it was seen as an eyesore. Two years previously an exhibition at the City Museum and Art Gallery had attracted large crowds so it was hoped that a street art project might help regenerate an urban area.

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The name ‘See No Evil’ relates to the three wise monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. Also relevant is the fact that the work covers the old magistrates’ court and Police station. In fact Inkie was once sentenced in the very court he was then invited to paint over as the ringleader of 75 plus artists in UK’s largest graffiti bust known as Operation Anderson.

A total of 72 graffiti artists were invited to take part, including twenty of the world’s leading artists.

Painted just to the left of a Chinese restaurant -

Painted just to the left of a Chinese restaurant – “Shanghai Nights”

Considered a huge success in 2011, arrangements were made by Inkie for the repainting of the street in August 2012, as part of the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. See No Evil 2012 began on 13th August and involved 45 selected artists, 3,500 cans of spray paint and 700 litres of paint, taking place over the course of 7 days. Members of the public were able to vote, via an internet poll, for their preferred works. The winners included a suited man pouring a tin of red paint, a wolf boy, and a woman and child. See No Evil at Nelson Street will remain Europe’s largest open air street art gallery, bringing an inner city street to life with huge murals until next summer. Even though See No Evil has received criticism from some quarters, there can be no doubt that it successfully rejuvenated a very run down area of Bristol and generated enough publicity to turn it into one of Bristol’s biggest tourist attractions.

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