See No Evil is an initiative by acclaimed Bristol born artist Inkie, who wanted to internationally promote the Bristol (UK) graffiti scene after seeing similar festivals in both Lisbon and Melbourne. The inaugural event began in 2011, where 72 graffiti artists from around the world were invited to take part in the week long festival, which focused on decorating the concrete buildings around Nelson Street, a brief walk away from the city centre. At the time, the event was the largest open art festival in Europe, and still remains the largest open-air gallery, even in continental Europe. A complementary music component to the festival was named Hear No Evil. A similar event ran in 2012, where most of the street was again redecorated.
Since 2013, the event is currently on a hiatus due to redevelopment of the tower blocks surrounding the street, which were the previous canvases for the festival. Nevertheless, a large amount of inspiring work still remains, of which this blog entry features the majority left. If any readers are aware of the artists responsible for individual pieces, please get in contact so that these can be credited accordingly.
Whilst I’m still in Bristol, I hope to cover the event which (according to the See No Evil twitter feed) will be entertaining art enthusiasts again in 2015.
The following are pictures of the building works on Nelson Street—as you can see, the building featuring the fox has now been demolished. The street art next to the karaoke bar is still visible, however its fate is uncertain. With high rises planned to replace these buildings, it is hoped that See No Evil will continue along this same street. Regardless of whether it returns, have we lost a cultural icon? Possibly, although my feeling is that the purpose of street art is an ephemeral experience, reflecting the transient elements and whims of our society.