Street Art fans who follow the scene here in Portsmouth will be excited for the first-ever Street Art Festival arriving over the next few days. Some of you will have already seen walls being painted and seen some of your favourite artists sharing that they are going to be involved. The festival has been gaining a huge amount of excitement and anticipation. Residents and visitors will this week be able to spot live creation of spectacular large-scale artworks as the city prepares for Look Up Street Art Festival which runs throughout this weekend – the 9th and 10th of September.
In the coming days, almost 100 local and international street artists will be welcomed to the city with each being given a dedicated location to transform spaces spread right across the city from Southsea and central Portsmouth right up to Cosham.
Visiting stars from the world of Street Art will include The London Police, Hera, Phlegm, Kashink, Hayley Welsh, Cbloxx, My Dog Sighs and Inkie while organisers have also been keen to provide platforms for emerging home-grown artists, underlining the Festival’s philosophy that art is for all.
Locals have already been embracing the event, with residents and businesses offering up walls, and donating equipment such as access platforms and even transportation for gallons of paint.
During the two-day, free-to-attend event this weekend (9th and 10th September), thousands of residents are expected to be joined by visitors from further afield as they explore the city to discover artworks and watch them take shape. A map showing all artwork locations is available to view and download at: www.lookup-portsmouth.co.uk
In addition, there will be free hands-on workshops running on each of the two days at Pitt Street Skatepark, 315 Commercial Road, Portsmouth PO1 4AY – see the following time details and note that all workshop sessions must be booked in advance via www.lookup-portsmouth.co.uk. However, there will be a Creative Corner and Pavement Chalking area open to all from 10am to 5pm without the need to book in advance.
· Spray paint workshops – 1-hour sessions for 10 to 18-year-olds at: 10am, 12:30pm and 3pm
· Doodle Workshops – 1-hour sessions for 8 to 18-year-olds at: 10am, 12 noon and 2pm and 3:30pm
As the brainchild of Portsmouth’s own renowned street artist ‘My Dog Sighs’, the Look Up Festival aims to enliven, enrich and involve communities through Street Art – a global art phenomenon which has exploded in popularity due to its accessibility and ability to provide a social voice and fun through visual spectacle.
Supported by the Arts Council, the local cultural social enterprise Portsmouth Creates and Portsmouth City Council, the festival will also feature Local Artist Arena where artists from the city can network and some will be expanding their practice into Street Art for the first time.. A dedicated Female Development Area aims to break down the barriers faced by many female street artists and provide a safe space for creation and development. Visitors will meet a famous street artist or two – on hand to offer their unique perspective on, and experience within, the Street Art world.
My Dog Sighs (the inspiration around the festival)
My Dog Sighs said: “Having spent the last 10 years painting at Street Art festivals around the world, I wanted to bring some of that excitement to my own city and create a festival that will entertain, inspire and rival some of the best Street Art destinations in the world. I’ve persuaded some of the world’s leading artists to come and create awe-inspiring works that will showcase the city as the creative hub it is and create a destination for art fans. We already have an incredible creative community in Portsmouth and the festival plans to give local artists the opportunity to work alongside and learn from established and leading contemporaries in the Street Art field.”
Speaking of what he was most excited about this wknd, My Dog Sighs said, “Although I have gone to other cities and met and painted with some of the best in the world, I love that I can bring them here and share the love of street art with everyone in my own city.”
I managed to pop down to the Astoria and see MDS’s new wall piece. I chatted to him about the art and he said the colours represented parts of the city. The colour blue represents the football team, the purple represents the university and the yellow represents the beach! He said that the DJ in the middle of the eye reminded him of his 18-year-old son who is now at the age of wanting to go out clubbing and that he wanted to paint the Astoria wall for a long time.
Speaking of the wall which is a listed building, MDS said this will be the first ever listed street art piece in the UK and that now it is finished, he won’t be able to change the design but will be able to keep maintaining the art when it is needed.
I am excited about all the things happening down at the Pitt Street Skate Park which has sponsored this event. Pepita Coffee are sponsoring as well which brings that independent artistic touch. They spend a huge amount of time curating collections of art coffee tins with artists they love and our very own Pogo has been a part of that. You can find out a little bit more about Pepita Coffee here. It is cool that the general public can pop down to the skatepark and see some talented artists. Pepita Coffee will be serving coffee all wknd and Pitt St do some great food! If you haven’t bought a coffee art tin yet, you can go and view the new collection.
Fatboy Slim will be there who is a partner of Pepita Coffee to greet fans and sign work. The Pitt St Skatepark is open all wknd for the public to skate, and with great prices for skating sessions, this is a great chance to skate, potter and see all the action of the street art festival at the same time.
With Pitt ST Skatepark and Pepita Coffee being official sponsors of Look Up Portsmouth, they have partnered up over the festival to present Meet the Artists on Saturday, September 9th!
12-1pm: Meet Chas from @thelondonpolice
1-2pm: Meet @paulmonsters and @epod3000
2-3pm: Meet @liambononi
3-4pm: See this amazing collaboration between @officialfatboyslim and @chemical_x_lab!
4-5pm: @inkiegraffiti and @alexgallagher80
The Corner Collective
Our very own local street art gallery, The Corner Collective will be open all wknd, 11am until 4pm, with brand new work from all the resident artists and there will be live street art painting happening outside during the course of the festival. Pop down there to buy art and meet artists onsite.
Mook Loves You will be painting a new piece and said, “We’re all looking forward to a beautiful weekend of sunshine, spray cans, paint n people. I can’t wait to see what all these incredible artists are gonna do, to brighten up so many of the grey walls around this city. It should be a belter! Bring on the smiles.”
Roo from @roo_art will be showing her skills by painting a mural on the side of the building! One not to miss!
Si Mitchell will be painting opposite the gallery at the Havelock Community Centre which is exciting!
Picnic in the Park with Artists
On Saturday the 9th of September you can join in the community picnic happening at Eastney Community Centre in Bransbury Park.
Speaking to Mister Samo he said, “For me everything I do is always about the importance of community and chosen family! I know my work is always a signal for the community to feel seen and loved so thought it would be great for us all to gather together in a space!!!!
I’m aware I don’t always have time to talk when I’m painting so want to make a point of being available to the community on Saturday with queer all year.”
Come say ‘Hi’ and gather with us! Mr Samo will even be giving away free signed books…
Getting Around The City
This wknd all buses in Portsmouth are FREE so you can check out the map of artworks and travel across the city without the need for your car!
Look Up Portsmouth have teamed up with Beryl Bikes to give you amazing discounts and offer free cycling for 15 minutes over the wknd so check out the website for more deets on this!
By looking at the map on the website or picking up a paper map you can decide where to go first. Who are you excited to see paint?
For more details on the festival visit the website: www.lookup-portsmouth.co.uk and search Look Up Portsmouth on Instagram and Facebook for regular updates.
I would personally like to thank Steve Pitt for his input in this festival and who managed to secure extra funding for the local artists of this city! Thanks Steve.