DIFF has always drawn and doodled ‘since being a little kid’. Though encouraged at school to go into art, coming from a family with a strong trade background DIFF was advised to ‘find a trade’ by his dad. So he started in mechanics then moved into building and roofing.
It wasn’t till about four years ago that DIFF started sharing his work. Having always loved the work of Banksy and Nick Walker (and having bought some of JPS’s pieces) he began hanging out with other Bristol street artists. One day he bought some spray paint and it went from there.
As a roofer DIFF gets an alternate perspective on the world. He always carries a notepad with him and jots down ideas for pieces. ‘It is the challenging ones that appeal to me’. He says it is his practical background which give him his problem solving skills to make it happen.
DIFF’s work can be seen all over Bristol. I love his stencil work that comes alive when the shadows arrive. In the day you may think WTF? But as the streetlights begin their glow you then get to see the magic in his work. Of this work he says ‘People don’t see what I see, until they do and it all makes sense.’
DIFF’s work makes people smile. As he said about bee happy ‘I was on the roof looking at people going to work and coming back from work.’ And so he painted this…..
‘What is great is the next day they were still on their way to work but this time they were smiling.’
DIFF has been described by fellow artists as ‘a gentle giant’. It is difficult to think when you meet this bear of a man that he didn’t used to have the confidence to go to the Upfest gigs on his own before he started painting. But now his work really has taken off and this year will be the third year running that he has been accepted to paint at Bristol’s Upfest.
Recently DIFF was one of the four artist/curators of the ‘3 is a Magic Number’ exhibition at the Ropewalk Bristol. The exhibition is a delicious mix of different artistic flavours from street, to stencil, to fine art, to watercolour, to pen and ink. He was ‘super excited’ that they brought such a mix of different artists with different specialisms together in one exhibition.
He has two pieces in the exhibition (sadly having put a screw driver through the third canvas the night before).
Of his first piece ‘Love Sometime’s Hurts’ DIFF said that the man is based on his grandad ‘He was quite the ladies man, and a bit extravagant’, his grandmother would not be best pleased with his dalliances and would make that known!
DIFF likes to do things that are different as can be seen in his diamond angled frame with the pirate (his second piece in the show).
This pirate was originally painted on the back of a picture frame. ‘I cut him out and stuck him next to my pond’ he said – and then put him in the diamond frame – I hadn’t seen that done before and I have to produce something which is different.’ Hence the name DIFF. When asked why a pirate for this Bristol show Diff answered ‘I have a broad Bristolian accent which sounds a bit like a pirate – plus I like drinking beer’.
Where you can see DIFF’s work