John Curtis and The Bristol Pound

Westmoorland House / The Carriageworks by John Curtis

About your entries for the Bristol Pound - why did you choose the image that you did 

I chose 2 images which sum up the art and culture of Bristol. The first  are some abandoned buildings in Stokes Croft (Westmoreland House/ The Carriageworks) which are covered in graffiti and tags, most people see these buildings as an eyesore and they are soon to be redeveloped and demolished. Even though the empty buildings are a terrible waste, I see some beauty in the abandoned empty buildings and feel that they will be missed once pulled down and replaced by modern buildings.


Nelson House by John Curtis

The second piece is of Nelson House in Nelson Street Bristol, in which a large mural was painted on the side of it a few years ago as part of the See No evil project by the street artist a STIK. I love STIK’s simple stickmen and the way this piece towers over the city on the side of the building making it an iconic landmark of the city.


Where do you get your inspiration from? 

My work is heavily inspired by a Bristol and as well as featuring landscapes which moist people know of such as the Suspension Bristol and docks area, I am also inspired by other areas of the city such as the brutalist concrete buildings in and around the centre as well as graffiti covered abandoned buildings in Stokes Croft. Bristol is such a vibrant city which I feel is the creative hub of the UK, and I am always looking out for new ares or different views on well known landscapes, as well as keeping a visual record of an ever changing urban landscape.


Even though my artwork features graffiti covered buildings I’m not a graffiti artist myself, i am inspired by graffiti covered buildings, brutalist concrete buildings and decaying abandoned buildings. I feel there is so much inspiration in Bristol and so much to painting, I’ve got a long list of ideas ready for new bristol inspired artwork and future projects. My work has an urban feel about it and I use spray paints in my work, over the last few years I feel like I have developed a style which is becoming recognisable.


Can you tell me about your work.  

I work from my own photography and often go out looking for new viewpoints on the city. This is used as a starting point for my artwork but often change things on the actual artwork, sometimes changing day scenes to night scenes adding in light trails in the style of long exposure photography, as well as adding extra people into the image. My artwork is produced using spray paint, paint markers and acrylic.

I have also started working on digital artwork on an iPad which is great for when I’m on the move or for creating ideas for my artwork, and much less mess than painting.


What is important to you about your work.? 

I also work full time so fit in my artwork as much as I can in my spare time, painting and drawing in the evening and at weekends. I find art very therapeutic and would rather sit and draw that watch TV. I sell my work online and through galleries in and around a Bristol and love it when people contact me after buying my work explaining what it means to them or what connection they have to the subject of the painting. 


What would it mean for you to be on the Bristol pound?

It would be great to have my artwork featured on Bristol’s own currency as my work is inspired by the city’s landscapes and buildings. I’m really pleased to have been shortlisted and to be among some great other artist’s artwork.


If you are reading this today (11 March) please take a couple of mins to support John's entry.  You can vote here:

Coming Soon

I'm really excited to be having some of John's prints of his lovely work at The Kane Gallery very soon. Here is a sneak peak of his unique take on Bristol.