Tag Archives: art

Dreams of sailing by the Nova Scotia

Dreams of sailing by the Nova Scotia


The Park St Coat Of Arms

The Park St Coat Of Arms, originally uploaded by still awake.

The Coat of Arms on Park St is the creation of Bristol Fine Art customer Nick Walker.

If you are inspired to create something as distinctive as has Mr Walker you will find everything you need at Bristol Fine Art at 72-74 Park Row, Bristol. Everything except a wall perhaps.

I thought I was the audience…

… and then I looked at you.

by Ruth Claxton

The exhibition took place at a gallery at the University of Essex in 2005. A room full of small figurines all around the shelves on the edges. From the centre of the room, the dolls would be all staring at the audience if their eyes weren’t covered up. Streamers, a flower, green extensions, big sunglasses and all types of items provide the cover. So while we’re looking at them they are quite specifically not looking at us.

Another of Ruth Claxton’s exhibitions is on display at Spike Island in Bristol according to her website. It was last dated 2009 so I’m not sure if it’s still there but I’ll happily go and find out.

Update: I found out through the Spike Island web site that the Ruth Claxton exhibition took place between 31 January – 15 March 2009 and was called Land’s End.

Stokes Croft Streetfest

The urban cultural area of Bristol, better known for graffiti and Tesco protests, is set to become even livelier next week. A few days ago, a friend from Cheltenham asked if I was going and at that point I hadn’t even heard of it. The flyers are starting to appear around Bristol however or it could be that I’ve only just now had the time to notice the publicity.

The event is the Stokes Croft Streetfest and it takes place around most of that area on Saturday 22 May. Following a public consultation in February, the one day festival was organised in the hope of bringing together the many people who live, work and play there. The aim is to help raise the profile of Stokes Croft’s positive aspects: the art and creativity, inclusivity and diversity.

Activities, described as an ‘eclectic mix’, are arranged over two periods of time: day and evening. During the day, from 12pm to 6pm, there is no entry fee for performances, street theatre, art installations, indoor and outdoor markets which will take place in open areas such as King’s Square and the ‘Bear Pit’.

Events at night, from 6pm to 6am, are accessible with the purchase of one wristband at £5 in advance or £7 on the door. Just Jack at Lakota, the Ten Pound Suit Band at Leftbank and Brazilian Beatz at the Croft are just a small sample of the many acts taking part.


For more information visit www.stokescroftstreetfest.org.uk. Tickets are available from the Bristol Ticket Shop, Rooted Records, Canteen and all usual outlets.

Bristol Temple Meads, the site of the Affordable Art Fair

Bristol Temple Meads, originally uploaded by still awake.

Leaflets for the Affordable Art Fair are distributed at the front of Bristol Temple Meads in the days leading up to the new exhibition at the Passenger Shed. There are also some on display at the Starbucks on Temple Quay and there is much promotion in the local newspaper and around Bristol.

The thought of art being put on display and promoted is a positive one, the idea that a ticket needs to be bought means I won’t be going. There are over 20 art galleries in Bristol and they don’t charge for entrance. The most thought-provoking displays I’ve come across have been at the Arnolfini which also charges no fee for the opportunity to marvel at other people’s creations.

The Affordable Art Fair is at the Passenger Shed, right next to the station this weekend from the 14th – 16th May. 55 galleries will take part in the exhibition of contemporary paintings, sculpture, photography and original prints – and the items are priced between £50 and £3,000.

I remember being hugely offended when someone gently mocked a tour of the Arnolfini as a middle class endeavour. Art is not middle class, I protested, and it’s free to all. There is no privilege being purchased here.

The Affordable Art Fair is not free, although it is half price with a train ticket, and is limited to those who would pay. I would just question, affordable for whom?

Bordeaux Quay & Manos: lunch, coffee and art

Saturday lunchtime and we’ve just had lunch at Bordeaux Quay. I had the fish pie and was warned that it would take 20 minutes to arrive, it took just under that amount of time. The fish content was a selection of the daily catch including cod, salmon and grey mullet in a creamy sauce and topped with soft, but textured, mash potato.


The small but rich little dish lasted quite a while and was accompanied by a freshly squeezed orange juice. My friends ordered the loin of pork on mash and the chicken orviato, respectively.

The pork loin was finished first and both dishes were highly praised, especially the sauces. Bordeaux Quay was all out of stouts so the guys drank Bath Ale Gem. The delicious desserts were left for next time. The chocolate pot with honeycomb and shortbread, the lemon meringue trifle and the bread & butter pudding with creme anglais, were left behind as we headed for coffee up and past Park St.

Browns was quiet and stuffy so we headed to Manos for a more Bohemian experience. A range of biscuits, cakes and brownies lined the counter top at Manos and the selection of drinks is made from a range of hot beverages, beers, spirits and cocktails. My coffee was limited to just black because there was no soy milk. I would have liked to try the gingerbread or vanilla latte, the caramel machiato, or the mint hot choc but didn’t fancy the milk.

The drink choices were a Gem beer, a Corona with lime, and a black coffee. The latter was my choice and I had a second one as well. The music was funky and jazzy. The walls were lined with pictures by Kochy. Glimmers of outdoor scenes helped lighten up the deep-set room and the grey atmosphere outside. Bright distractions of mopeds, a cabriolet VW bug and a cat on a couch helped place the mood in a slower time period where it was perfectly reasonable to spend three hours drinking coffee and having a chat.

This visit was the first time I’d been in Manos and it was a relaxed and friendly experience. We sat at one of the couches towards the back and looked out to the room and the street outside. The few visitors, during the time we were there, seemed to know the guys behind the bar. The rest, including us, sat about quietly with one or two outside in the small courtyard towards the back.

Even though the sky was grey and it was raining outside, the art, the coffee, the atmosphere and the company inside, provided a mellow little break away from reality. Most mellow and a great place to unwind.

Manos is right in the heart of the ‘West End’ on the Clifton Triangle between Whiteladies Rd and Park St. 0117 929 4323, info@hermanos.co.uk, 55 Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1QQ

NY, Bruce Davidson at the Tate Modern

I have a special fondness for photographers. They are the often unnamed historians who capture moments which can define a situation without needing a single word. Not that all photojournalists avoid writing. The Columbia Journalism Review’s column ‘Picture This’ mentions a memo written by a staff photographer and sent around on his last day at work. The online version is abridged but it’s still worth a read: http://is.gd/bFUPR. The version in the magazine brought tears to my eyes.

I was killing some time at the Tate Modern on Saturday and I came across Bruce Davidson’s photographs. His images have been described as “extraordinary for the depth of their feeling and their poetic mood”. When the subject matter consists of broken windows, poor east side communities or lonesome journeys on the subway then the depth of feeling can be quite impressive.

This photo in this post is a little tribute although I’m not sure I was supposed to be taking photographs.