One thing I always do when I start a new writing project – if possible – is go out and take some reference photos. I usually don’t actually use them that specifically – I rarely describe something featured in the pictures in precise detail – but I do find having them to hand, or even the act of taking them, helps me build atmosphere when writing. At least it does usually; it’s not a precise science by any means.
Those of you that have read my book Paintwork will know that the title story is about re-purposing advertising billboards for art – in fact you might recall that I described pretty specifically the location of the billboards in question. They are real things, in a very real place. I walk past them everyday. That’s why I wrote that story – I felt I needed some way of striking back against the visual invasion of public space I’m subjected to every time I walk past there. Billboards are imposing enough when you see them from a passing bus or car, but the way they impose and dominate your reality – blocking out all other imagery – as you pass them as a pedestrian starts to grate pretty quickly.
Quick post – just wanted to say thanks to everyone that came and checked out the See No Evil post last week, the response was phenomenal. Thanks especially to Cory Doctorow over at Boing Boing for picking it up, and to all his readers that swung by.
This weekend saw the final unveiling of the the See No Evil project in Bristol; Europe’s largest street art exhibition. It is, to say the very least, an extraordinary, breathtaking achievement. Graffiti artists not just from Bristol but around the globe descended on Nelson Street, transforming the whole area from drab, urban decay into what feels like a new – almost virtual – space. It is truly something that needs to be experienced, but hopefully some of the photos I grabbed (along with the many on the official Flickr page) will give you some idea of its scale and raw beauty.
It had been far too long since the last time I made it down to Bristol’s live graffiti night Weapon of Choice, so last night I actually managed to get off my backside and represent. King Audel & Dirty30 were the resident live painters for the night, with music provided by – amongst others – Asaviour & DJ IQ and light hearted Bristol hip-hop crew Hairy Parents. If you haven’t heard of the latter then you need to go hit that link and check them out now – clearly UK rap needs more West Country accents to survive.
Got out and about last night – dropped into “Weapon of Choice” – a live graffiti jam at Mr Wolf’s – a little bar here in Bristol. Couple of drinks, some nice beats and some, erm, entertaining rhymes from Nerdcore rapper MC Nucleuz – all whilst local graf talent Lokey and Cheo busied away making some art. Originally headed down there under the premiss of doing research for a short story I’m writing about near-future AR graf artists, but ended up having too much of a laugh to care about all that. Did fire off a whole bunch of photos though, so check the links below or hit the Flickr slideshow for even more…