One of Bristol’s most popular Big Issue vendors Jeff Knight will now be immortalised on the city’s streets with a new mural.
Jeff has become well-known on his pitch outside The Canteen in the Stokes Croft area of the city for his warm greetings over the last two decades.
So when renowned graffiti artist Harriet Wood, known as Hazard0ne, was asked to paint an iconic image of Bristol for a competition, only one person came to mind. And it was a chance to make good on a two-year promise.
Harriet, who has been named one of The Guardian’s top five female graffiti artists in the UK, was inspired after seeing the “perfect reference photo” taken by photographer Pit Lad.
She said: “Jeff’s a mate of mine. He’s walked past me painting on Stokes Croft a few times and he turned around to me and went: “Where’s my painting?”
“I told him I’d paint him if he was up for it. I told him I’d do it and I did it!
“You don’t get more Bristol than Jeff, he’s a Bristol legend and a friend. And I want to stick to my promises.”
And Jeff is thrilled with the final artwork which is on display near St Nicholas Markets alongside work from eight different artists each depicting a different vision of Bristol.
The developers behind the NatWest Court site, McAleer & Rushed, teamed up with art supply store Molotow and the Bank Tavern, to host the competition on behalf of Creative Youth Network.
“It’s unique y’know,” he said. “I’m more than chuffed with it. Harriet has work in Barcelona, New York and Mexico, and now she’s painted me in Bristol!
“Everyone has seen it, they’re coming up to me all day telling me, Jeffrey, y’look great! It’s so nice in these times when there is so much negativity to have something that I can be positive and proud about. It brings a smile to people’s faces and that’s more important than ever at the moment.”
The veteran vendor’s customary hugs may have been curbed but Jeff is thrilled that the people of Bristol value him so greatly.
”It means everything to me,” added Jeff. “I work seven days a week selling the magazine and I love it. It’s what I get up for in the morning, to greet the people of my city on their way to work!”