Possibly Bristol’s coolest export (along with Massive Attack and Portishead), Banksy’s darkly political stencils have catapulted him to a level of stardom previously unheard of for a graffiti artist. His art is peppered all over Bristol, from Clifton all the way down to Eastville, conveniently spread out in what is more or less a straight line. Thus the Banksy Tour was born.
Different websites offer different routes, some stretching all the way out to the most faded, little-known sketches on the outskirts of the city. However, being students, the majority of us don’t have access to a car. With this in mind I’ve drawn up a more compact version, showcasing the most central (and most famous) of Banksy’s work.
1. We start with the ‘Mild Mild West’ piece on Stokes Croft, a fitting place to begin a tour of Bristolian culture. The mural features a teddy bear throwing a Molotov cocktail at the police, and has probably been here for around nine or ten years. In 2009 it was restored after being vandalised with red paint.
2. Next, head down Jamaica Street to the BRI and children’s hospital. Standing uphill and looking back in the direction you came from, you can see the stencil: a sniper preparing to fire, with a boy standing behind him about to pop a paper bag.
3. We’re getting into student territory now, so chances are you’ll be seeing this one on a regular basis. On the side of a sexual health clinic on Frogmore Street(at the bottom of Park Street) is a picture of a man hanging naked from a window, while his lover’s husband looks out.
4. Moving down to Bristol harbour, this stencil is best viewed from the other side of the water. The image of the grim reaper in a boat, painted onto the side of The Thekla, is said to be based on a 19th century drawing named ‘The Silent Highway Man’.
If this tiny snippet of Banksy’s work has captured your interest, why not tackle the full tour? You can find a handy map of every single piece of Banksy graffiti in Bristol here.
Written by Lucy, Bristol.