Bristol artist’s new work honours Massive Attack’s Tricky

By Bea SwallowBBC News, West of England

imageBBC White spray painted mural of Bristol rapper Tricky on the black external wall of the bowling club. There are other colourful works of graffiti around it and a faint rainbow in the skyBBC
Street artist Stewy said he walked past the south Bristol location for months, “scouting out” the best place for his work

A street artist said his new work depicting a local rapper represents “hope” and “a way out of trouble”.

Stewy has created a stencil of ex-Massive Attack member, Tricky, on the side of the bowls club building in Greville Smyth Park, Bedminster.

The artist said Tricky faced a “troubled upbringing” in Knowle West but went on to success as a musician.

He said he saw his figure of the rapper as a “much-needed symbol of positivity for the area”.

Tricky, born Adrian Thaws, rose to prominence with Bristol trip-hop band Massive Attack in the late 1980s.

The musician’s early life was marked by many hardships, including a battle with anxiety, a criminal record, and the sudden death of his mother when he was just four years old.

imageWhite spray painted mural of Bristol rapper Tricky on a black wall
Stewy created a stencil of ex-Massive Attack member Tricky

Stewy has been a street artist since 2007, with his other works around the city featuring Bristol punk band Idles and local legend DJ Derek.

“With all my work, the stencils generally appear where the person lived, worked, died, or has a connection with that particular building,” the artist said.

He said he works under a tag name rather than his real one because: “It’s got nothing to do with me, it’s about honouring the person in the picture.

“They’re meant to be quiet and hidden images, almost like ghosts, even if they’re living.

“They’re not confrontational or challenging or offensive, but can often trigger memory and reflection.”

imagePlaster Stewy wearing a black top and a shoulder bagPlaster
Stewy said his work recognised “obscure icons” – influential people who are often overlooked

The artist said “you can’t think of Knowle West without thinking of Tricky” and that he was an inspiring figure.

“It’s just a positive image. An image of hope I suppose, of someone who’s had a difficult time and made something out of it,” Stewy said.

“I just wanted to show that if you’re a poor working class kid in Knowle West there is always a way out, and Tricky’s an example of that,” he added.

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