Urban Dualism: Artworks, Part I

Snapchat usually runs live events, posting and showing us different, popular activities around the globe. One of the most recent coverage was of the 2016 Upfest Festival in Bristol, UK, which is considered Europe’s largest Street and Urban Art festival. The majority of the artworks are graffiti, but murals are also included. Coincidentally, I was already in the process of writing a piece about street art, but after seeing the Snapchat coverage of Bristol’s beautiful event, I couldn’t resist but share my pre-fest experience.

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In my previous introduction of Urban Dualism, I briefly explained the importance, and my personal experience of urban life, and how different it is in two opposite countries. One of the main aspects I noticed lies within the artworks in cities, and the artist’s representation of this culture.

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Last April, I spent Easter break exploring new and interesting locations, which was convenient because Bristol is less than an hour away from Cardiff. Thus I began to compile a list, and the first thing that came up on Google was walking tours, emphasizing street art and specific street artists. Unfortunately, the tours are set early in the mornings, and I am simply not a morning person. So I decided to search for these streets, which are filled with art and create my own tour.

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Placed mainly in Stokes Croft Street, the artworks give life and create an individual atmosphere of intimacy within the loud city streets. The first time I visited Bristol; I did not entirely research it, and would have never thought that it included various artworks in hidden neighborhoods that did not even require deep digging. Some were placed between hills that take you on various waves of old and new buildings as you walk up and down. Interesting local stores and venues were placed between these artworks, making my tour not only visual but also physical, as these artworks are extremely appreciated around town, to the point where shop owners showcased this appreciation by selling products inspired by art.

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One of the main highlights in Bristol is their shopping center, Cabot Circus. The center is always crowded, but once you go around it, you can follow the alleys across or pass between the river walks, and another brilliant part of the city will emerge with cultural hills, and local, hipster stores along with coffee shops that represent the city’s true identity; imagination being presented by artists on walls, with simple messages for us to interpret and interact with.

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After that specific trip, Bristol completely changed my perspective on city life; it includes the best of both worlds, local businesses as well as global places, including interactive and non-interactive features appealing to all kinds of activities around the city.




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