BRISTOL STREET ART BLOG

Brandalism takes over Bristol's billboards, but not a first

consume this

In early July the project Brandalism, a UK-wide subvertising campaign involving 25 artists from 8 countries, made a stop off in Bristol for a spot of billboard reassignment. The artists involved in the Bristol leg were Ron English (US), Eyesaw (UK), Shift Delete (UK), Hannah Adamaszek (UK) and Robert Montgomery (UK).

The campaign, which seeks to confront the ad industry and take back our visual landscapes, visited 5 cities over 5 days and reclaimed 37 billboards. You can see all the artwork produced here: brandalism.org.uk/gallery-page.

Hannah Adamaszek billboard bristol

© Brandalism.org.uk – by Hannah Adamaszek in Bristol

Ron English billboard Bristol

© Brandalism.org.uk – by Ron English in Bristol

Shift Delete billboard Bristol

© Brandalism.org.uk – by Shift Delete in Bristol

Robert Montgomery billboard Bristol

© Brandalism.org.uk – by Robert Montgomery in Bristol

This kind of intervention certainly isn’t a first here, in fact Bristol has a rich heritage with regards to subversiveness and particularly, in this case, billboard alterations. It’s not uncommon, especially in areas like St Werburghs, Montpelier, Stokes Croft and St Pauls, to find billboards with subversive messages scrawled over them. There seems to be a certain distain for this type of advertising in Bristol, perhaps more so than in other cities.

Sky thinking for you

© mkwfone – St Werburghs, Bristol

Get a live, get a bike.

© Vertigogen – Bristol

Back in the early nineties an artist called Heath Bunting, co-founder of Net.art, highjacked several billboards and replaced the original content with some of his own messages. One, located near the Eastville roundabout, displayed the message “Evolution of man subverted by fear” and another, in Hotwells, read “Most art says nothing to most people”.

subverted by fear

© Heath Bunting – Bristol

most art says nothing to most people

© Heath Bunting – Bristol

More recently, street artist Mudwig used billboards as his canvases by actually adding his own drawings to the existing advertising imagery. Also worth mentioning is a project called Burg Arts which reclaimed a disused billboard in St Werburghs for use as a curated outdoor exhibition space, not unlike the project in Paris called Le Mur.

Mudwig Bristol billboard

© www.ecosystem.org – by Mudwig in Bristol

Burg Art billboard

© Burg Art – Bristol, St Werburghs

Further reading:
Billboards of Bristol: ‘Torn Down’ and ‘Subverted’

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