Bristol City Council's Artwatch

Philip Street graf
Photos by _saturnine

On the very day The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones nimbly said of the only graffiti artist with a Bristol City Council seal of approval, Banksy:

This man has achieved something original, something uniquely of our time: he has found a visual style for self-congratulatory smugness and given a look to well-heeled soi-disant radicalism.

Charlie Bolton’s blog announces the evil plans of four local councillors to do away with some landmark graffiti on Philip Street, Bedminster. The four councillors – Windmill Hill Lib Dems Mark Bailey and Alf Havock and the Southville councillors Bolton and Labour’s Daddy’s Boy Beynon, aged 23 going on 53 – have already met with officers to get rid of the work.

Presumably this doesn’t count as art then? Although admittedly the work is not as apparently well-executed as Banksy’s popular Naomi Klein-with-a-spraycan anti-globalisation agit prop.

But how does Bristol City Council decide what stays and what goes? Do they ask Brad Pitt? Do they wait for people from London to tell them? Or are their artistic criteria, like everything else at the city council, made up as they go along?

Say no, say yes

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11 Responses to Bristol City Council's Artwatch

  1. Charlie Bolton says:

    Not actually true, BB, although it may be my blog entry mislead you.

    We (the 4 councillors) were discussing the scaffolding further down the road, not the graffiti.

    I have been complained at for not getting the graffiti removed – and, as a result have obtained the address of the owners with a view to asking them to clean it up.

  2. Keren says:

    Can I make a plea for these 2 pieces on Phlip St to stay? Although it hurts to be reminded that I’m not free, I’m sure it does my head good to be smacked in the face with it every time I pass there.

    Let’s just leave it there eh?

  3. a critic writes says:


    I’ve had some really challenging philosophical discussions inspired by occasionally walking down Philip Street with kids and adults, a sign of great art I would have thought. Absolute tragedy to lose them.

  4. Natali says:

    Thanks for the picture linkage! I am off to leave Charlie Bolton a more direct comment on his blog so that he definitely hears what I have to say.

    (For anyone interested in local Bedminster/Ashton/Southville graffiti, I have an archive of hundreds of people at the Flickr account linked in the main post)

  5. Tess says:

    Lets relax and enjoy witty and thought provoking graffiti like this.

  6. Stig says:

    I walked down Philip street the other week and thought this was definately a most welcome and thought provoking statement… I think it would be an injustice to remove something so inventive. Clearly the council could spend their time and money fixing more of the real problems the city has…

  7. bristolian youff says:

    why not leave a more direct comment on the council house natali?

  8. Andy says:

    I disagree, I think this is to activsim what spin was to new labour… junk. Not particularly thought provoking.

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