I just heard the sad news that Alan, AKA Bear the street poet, has passed away. As a ever present face on Stokes Croft, Bear was a truly charming character as anyone who bothered to gave him a few moments will testify.
I took this photo in early 2008, a short time after i painted the piece on Target Electronics in the background. Whilst i was painting it, Bear joined me and told me tales of his past - his lost family, past career, and his hopes and dreams for the future. I was stunned by his knowledge and enthusiasm for art and photography and his own ideas of painting blacked out rooms with photo-sensitive emulsion and then flashing lights around whilst people strike poses in front of the walls... I thought that was a pretty wild idea.
So to a man who so often looked grumpy, worse for wear and down and out, and no doubt had a right to be; but who also had a heart of gold and a creative mind, with tales to tell that would reduce you to tears.
Rest In Peace my man, thanks for the time you took to talk to me...
Shortly after i met Bear i spotted him one morning in from of the painting i had done and he was studying it and taking it in. I walked up to him and had a short chat, asked to take his photo which is the one you see above. I later used this photo to make a painting of Bear and later gave him a copy of the image. He was touched and thanked me for my kindness...
A week or so later i saw him again and asked if he still had the picture i gave him. Unfortunately, he didnt have a clue what i was on about... Bless ya Bear, Goodnight.
Acrylic paint, photocopies, photographs, pva, emusion, poska pens, tester pots, and a used PG tips tea bag on hardboard.