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'See No Evil' in Bristol Brings Thousands to the Streets

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Basking in the warm glow of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, the "See No Evil" festival unabashedly celebrated street art in Bristol, UK, with thousands of fans thronging through the street while London was scurrying to deal with the threat of the unofficial street art of the Olympic kind.

In its second year, the one-week festival invited about 40 street artists from around the globe to hit up the walls of one long street while visitors traveled great distances to watch. In yet another sign of the full emergence of this first global art form, people witnessed live painting day and night, took photos, visited pop-up galleries, attended graffiti workshops, danced to live music on six stages, and ate huge mountains of food at what organizers called a "New York Style" block party.

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M City, Nick Walker, She One and El Mac. (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

On the map for the street art scene since the early 1980s, Bristol was known for its own style then, eventually giving rise to some of todays' better known names. With this expansive celebration initiated by locally raised graffiti star Inkie, many styles from the worldwide scenes of graffiti and street art exist alongside one another in this grand thoroughfare. Notably only 3 of last years 72 or so works survived into this year (by Nick Walker, Aryz and El Mac), suggesting a very slim chance that many of these new pieces will last for long, but few seemed to mind this month.

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El Mac. (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

The 2012 crop includes painters from Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Poland, Austria, and across the UK who used an estimated 3,500 cans of aerosol to collectively create a massive gallery of public art. With roots in what was once strictly illegal, it's mind-bending to imagine how occasionally even a police officer or mayor has been photographed proudly adding to the artworks at festivals like these. Within the space of one small decade or so, the appreciation for this form of expression has skyrocketed; in fact, this month thousands in Bristol are seeing no evil in it.

Our special thanks to the talent of photographer Ian Cox, who shares these images with BSA readers. Also thanks to Ben Merrington for his photo of the ROA piece.

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M City, Nick Walker, She One. (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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M City (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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She One (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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Conor Harrington (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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Conor Harrington. Detail. (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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TCF Crew (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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Sick Boy (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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Sick Boy (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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Pixel Pancho (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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Mark Lyken (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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Mark Lyken (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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Paris (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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Nychos, Flying Fortress (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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Nychos (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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Flying Fortress (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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Cheo, Soker, CanTwo and Mark Bode. (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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Mark Bode (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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Duncan Jago (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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Kashink (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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Kashink (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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KTF Crew (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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She One (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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Lucy McLauchlan (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

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ROA (photo © Ben Merrington 2012)

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This article was also posted on Brooklyn Street Art.

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