The beauty of street art is that you can see it at any time, right? Well, unfortunately I found out when it comes to Banksy that is not the case.
A couple of disclaimers before I start; I have only been to Bristol twice and I am notoriously bad at navigating by foot and by car.
Earlier this month my brother and I spent a weekend in Bristol to go surfing (more on that another time) and whilst we were there I managed to persuade him to let me take him on a Banksy themed walking tour of Bristol at 7.30am on a Sunday morning (not sure how I negotiated that one). Due to mis-information/mis-reading my tour led to a little bit of bickering that I’d like to help you avoid so you can walk in peace.
My route was based on a blog post and google maps and whilst the the blog gave accurate addresses it failed to mention that two of the pieces of art where inside buildings - locked buildings that coincidentally were not open at 7.30 on a Sunday morning! Google maps also took me on a walking route over water (with no bridge) at that point we abandoned the tour and went to find food.
You can download my free illustrated map here.
Rose on a Mouse Trap @ Thomas Street North, BS6 5TN
Current Condition Sept 2021: the residents have put a frame over this piece with plastic protecting the art from being defaced. I had read that the plastic had been defaced but when we went you could see the Rose Trap clearly.
The Mild Mild West @ The Canteen, 80 Stokes Croft, BS1 3QY (on the side of a building overlook canteen’s beer garden)
The Mild Mild West depicts a teddy bear tossing a moatov cocktail at policemen in riot gear. Banksy created this in response to police armed in riot gear attacking partygoers at an event at Winterstroke Road.
Current Condition Sept 2021: It’s high up on a building so we viewed it from across the road and could see it clearly.
The Two above are in Stokes Croft which is a bit of a walk but an area full of other street art. If you want a shorter walk just do the ones below.
Paint Pot Angel Inside Bristol Museum & Art gallery, BS8 1RL
Made for the exhibition ‘Banksy versus Bristol Museum’ Banksy dumped a tin of pink paint over an Angel sculpture in the museum’s sculpture hall.
Well Hung Lover @ Frogmore Street, BS1 5NA
A play on words, a naked lover hangs from a window on the side of a sexual health clinic.
Current Condition Sept 2021: Has been shot at with a paintball gun on the lower half but it is definitely worth going to see.
The Grim Reaper
Inside M Shed, BS1 4RN (you can see it for free)
Originally on the side of the Thekla Social ship and nightclub venue moored in Bristol harbour. The artwork depicted the grim reaper paddling a row boat just above the waterline on the steel hull. The piece was removed and put in the M-Shed for protection.
Girl with a pierced Eardrum @ Albion Dockyard, Hanover Place, BS1 6UT
It depicts a take on Vermeer’s famous Girl with a Pearl Earring, replacing the girl’s earring with an outdoor security alarm
Current Condition Sept 2021: The piece was in good condition when we saw it. The girl is no longer wearing her temporary face mask.
We were going to end our tour with ‘You Don’t Need Planning Permission to Build Castles in the Sky’ which is at 99 Lower Lamb Street, BS1 5QR BUT unless you can walk on water you can’t get there very quickly without the cross-harbour ferry which as it turns out only runs at peak times Mon-Friday and from 10.30 on the weekends.
My brother also pointed out later, when he was on a mission to find out more about Banksy, that I’d missed out several new works including the one he’d done in lockdown. So, here’s the address for that one too –
Aachoo!! @ 1 Vale Street (Bristol’s steepest hill apparently), BS4 3BT
If ever a photo summed up a morning it’s this one. The shadows of me and my brother in a shop window mid-way through our tour with a book in the window entitled ‘Desperately seeking Banksy’.
“Compounded by the onset of a global recession and against the backdrop of War Britain burst into the noughties on the back of a nationwide political awakening. In Bristol, a young artist offered humorous and poignant reflections of the moment through art on the streets: this socially engaged approach would become characteristic of the art of Banksy.
Banksy was conceiving experiences, immersion and theatre. Beyond the visual representation of his concept, Banksy chose specific sites and timed the creation of his works to align with unfolding news stories.”
Text taken from the Vanguard | Bristol Street Art: The Evolution of a Global Movement, Exhibition, 2021