Some Rules of Bristol Graffiti

This is what I heard from a lovely hour listening to Angus, The Agent and Andis discuss the Bristol street art scene. It is incomplete, possibly partially erroneous, but most fascinating insight into the rules of engagement. It made me reflect on my own “graffiti”- the social journey I am on, and attempting too to lead.


  • A simple signature – seen as street ‘art’ by some…
  • Seen everywhere you go, often at the edge of another street art project (almost as an adjunct signature)
  • Often found in unusual, difficult to reach places – the act of going further becomes part of the art itself
  • Sometimes propagated by a crew / network of participants without central control
  • Challenge the orthodoxy of what art is. Will fight when challenged back – don’t partially cover their tag – an act of disrepsect
  • A living embodiment of ‘Small pieces loosely joined’ – the tags form a network of art influence – the crew effectively owns a physical landscape
  • Participants are anonymous – the reflected glory is in the visibility and dispersal of the work

As we reflect on the social journey in this workshop, I see corollary. The embrace of social that you can find like-minded souls in a common journey, but also defensiveness to those who might try to break us. We understand it is many small actions over time that creates the environment for success and acknowledgement.

Street art

  • Stencils, spray paint, paint-based.
  • Created without expectation of longevity, indeed often with desire for (self-)destruction
  • Ok with replacement / cover-up by other work
  • Requirement that finished product is recorded for sharing (online) – this is the brand building momentum
  • Larger-scale, more formally constructed and planned – often politically motivated, change focused.

On the social journey, this is the vulnerable work – trying to create a frame of reference and deep(er) meaning; but also with the concurrent possibility that it might all be for nought (other than that equivalent of the artwork capture on camera – the likes and retweets.)

Like street art, the social journey is fairly dirty work, often done under the cover of night. Occasionally, we risk apprehension from the powers-that-be.

And just maybe, we get our Banksy moment.

←This Much We Know.→


2 thoughts on “Some Rules of Bristol Graffiti

  1. A nice summary here jono thanks for this. Let me know if you are interested in doing any field research in this area.

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