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Upfest presents Urban Scrawl

Bristol street art festival Upfest uprooted to West London for a live street art set.

Bristol street art festival Upfest only began last year, but already artists associated with the event have held two off-shoot exhibitions. Last week, a selection of artists from across the country descended upon West London to kick start the second non-Bristol Upfest event, Urban Scrawl, held at Portobello Road’s Muse Gallery.

Presenting new pieces were Agent Provocateur, Andy Council, Avian Security, Dan Kitchener, FarkFk, Myne, Nik Ill, Spqr as were long awaited new prints from Levi C and Snik.

The opening event on Tuesday 24th March saw live street art set to a backdrop provided by Benedict Smith from Notting Hill Carnival favourites the Pineapple Tribe. The work on show was varied, and included ‘traditional’ stencil forms from Agent Provocateur to more ambitious large-scale pieces from Dan Kitchener, who also painted the newsagent shutters across the road from the gallery with fellow exhibitor Nick Ill.  

The bold characters associated with street art were represented in pieces by Myne and FarkFK, but the impressive, intricate illustrations from Andy Council revealed that street art has many forms, and does not have to be brashy.  

For me, the stand out pieces of the show came from Brighton artist Avian Security, who first came to light for his paintings of seagulls across the seaside town. He said of these: “These are some of the most aggressive and cunning birds we have in this country, they wake everyone up at 5 in the morning, and they look badass. So I thought it would be a good idea to make really big pictures of them in public places, to remind people of just who is in charge here.” So it was really no surprise that he exhibited some similarly ‘badass’ pigeons in London.  

The Muse at 269, 269 Portobello Road, London, W11 1LR, Tuesday 24 March – Sunday April 5 2009
Open Wednesday to Sunday 12pm-6pm – Free Entry