If you’ve ever walked past the row of Victorian terraced buildings on North Street in south Bristol you’ll notice six stunning murals above some of the shops, and until last year there were two blank spaces amongst these murals just crying out to be painted. On International Women’s Day 2021, Upfest and Bedminster BID announced that they would be giving these missing pieces a splash of colour for these murals to become one large piece of street art.
The row was completed with two huge new murals by Bristol artists, Lucas Antics and Ejit in the summer of 2021, making history as the largest mural project in the UK designed and painted by female street artists. Known as Six Sisters, the street art project is inspired by San Francisco’s famed Painted Ladies; a terrace of colourful Victorian and Edwardian houses which have been drawing attention to the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood of the city since the 60s.
The other four incredible murals that feature on the Bedminster street are by female artists Bex Glover, Zoe Power, Gemma Compton and Sophie Long, on the shop fronts of Like Sew Amazing, Zara’s Chocolates, Upfest and South West Upholstery. In 2021, the final two ‘Sisters’ were completed above Oowee Diner and Peter Burrows & Co Solicitors and feature work by Ejits and Lucas Antics.
Known for their quirky illustrations inspired by American animation and Japanese character design, Ejits’s work brightens up any wall with cute and brightly coloured space animals, zombies and ghosts. Lucas Antics’ work can be found peppered throughout Stokes Croft, Montpelier and Bedminster and is distinctly recognisable by its ode to graphic novels and brightly coloured whimsical designs.
Simon Dicken, chair of the Bedminster BID, said: “Bedminster is world renowned for its street art we’re lucky to have some of the biggest and best artists and artwork right here on our doorstep…It will be the largest collection of permanent murals worldwide by female artists in one space and all home-grown Bristol talent.”
The street art project began at Bristol street art festival, Upfest, in 2016 with the completion of the first mural by Bristol-based artist and fashion designer, Gemma Compton above the Upfest Gallery on North Street. This inspired Stephen Hayles, the founder of Upfest to continue the series and Zoe Power, whose brightly coloured illustrations can be found throughout the city, completed her mural above Zara’s Chocolates in 2019, followed by Bex Glover and Sophie Long to complete a mural each in 2020.
Stephen Hayles, founder of Upfest and lead on the Six Sisters series, said: “The Six Sisters is a truly unique opportunity to promote the strength of the female urban art scene in Bristol and inspire a future generation of female artists worldwide. This will be the largest series of permanent street art by female artists in the UK, maybe even the world and this just goes to show how lucky we are in Bristol to have these incredible artists and to have a scene that supports female artists.”