Art campaign gives Parys a platform to show her work in her home city
AN artist from Stapleton has seen her work displayed across Bristol through the summer.
Parys Gardener is one of 37 members of creative collective Rising Arts Agency who took over nine billboard and 370 poster sites in July and August, including some on Fishponds Road, to promote their work and their message.
The #WhoseFuture campaign, working with outdoor advertising group Out of Hand and Bristol City Council, gave them a chance to showcase works addressing subjects including "racism, access issues, the climate crisis, leadership and young people’s hopes for a secure and empowering future".
Parys is aprofessional digital illustrator whose commissions include work for the BBC, Nike, Footlocker and gal-dem magazine.
She has been creating illustrations since 2017, when she started building her portfolio while studying an illustration and visual communications degree at Westminster University.
A lifelong Stapleton resident, Parys attended John Cabot Academy before doing a foundation diplomaat the Royal West of England Academy, where she discovered her "passion for storytelling through art".
She has built a strong online presence through her website parysgardener.com and social media to network.
Parys said: "For anyone starting out in this industry I would always say the best advice I could give is to not underestimate the power of the virtual word of mouth."
Earlier this year she was approached by the organisers of the Bristol Light Festival to create some work to be projected on the side of a building on Park Street, and discovered that Banksy, whose Well Hung Lover graffiti formed part of the display, also had a hand in short-listing the commissioned artists for the project.
Parys became involved with Rising through its peer support and networking opportunities for young people in the city, with weekly mentoring and a training programme.
She said: "As I returned to Bristol after university I was on the lookout for ways I would be able to network with the young artistic communities in Bristol and through that I found Rising."
The billboard campaign has raised the profile of her work both online and within the local community.
Parys Gardener pastes up a poster featuring her artwork as part of the #WhoseFuture campaign
Parys said: "I was great to be part of the conversation around social justice in this way.
"Since the campaign I've had local people tell me that they recognised my work on the street.
"It's still a very surreal and humbling experience, to say the least."
Rising says its mission is "to empower under-represented young people to fulfil their creative ambitions and make social change happen".
In a statement explaining the campaign, the collective said: "Increasingly, over the past year or so, our work has focused on both championing a range of social issues and challenging the status quo in the creative sector.
"In true Rising style, the #WhoseFuture campaign used young people’s outstanding creative work to amplify their voices across the city, inviting the public to pay attention to what they have to say.
"Rising had always dreamt of taking up space in the city, shouting load and proud for what we believe in, and this campaign allowed us to realise that dream."
"It is our core belief that young people are experts on their own lives and experiences and that it is time for us to be listened to."