Cheltenham Paint Festival
Andy 'Dice' Davies, popularly known as Dice67, is an acclaimed street artist and the pioneering spirit behind the award winning Cheltenham Paint Festival. Renowned for his vibrant, thought-provoking works that adorn urban landscapes, Dice67 has become a prominent figure in the UK street art scene.
Here we look at some of the key events and timeline of his journey so far with links to the festival website for those interested in delving further.
Andy's journey into the world of street art began as a personal quest to bring color and expression to the streets of the UK. His style, characterized by bold, vivid imagery and sometimes taking a poke at UK politics, quickly garnered attention. His works not only beautify the cityscapes but also invite viewers to pause and reflect, turning public spaces into open-air galleries.
To visit the Cheltenham Paint Festival website click below:
Links to Dice's social media
Links to festival social media
Timeline and links to the festival
Andy Dice Davies is driven by a vision to make art accessible to all, breaking down the barriers between traditional art spaces and the public. He believes in the power of street art to inspire, challenge, and engage communities, creating an ongoing dialogue through visual expression.
Dice67's contributions to street art and community enrichment have not gone unnoticed. His work has received widespread acclaim, both locally and internationally, cementing his status as a key figure in the street art community. Through his art and the Cheltenham Paint Festival, Andy continues to inspire a new generation of artists and art enthusiasts.
Whilst teaching Environmentalism at a college for students with learning difficulties and behaviour problems, the qualification board that Andy is teaching changes and the new qualification has upcycling of furniture. Students request to put Banksy style stencils on their work and Andy learns to make stencils in order to teach them. One of the students asks if they can paint a nearby bus stop and as part of the project Andy puts a stencil of his daughter on the wall as a guardian that quickly goes viral.
In February 2014, Andy and some friends from Bristol paint the free wall on the Honeybourne Line, whilst there they notice the mural in the other tunnel has degraded and been tagged. Andy contacts the Council for permission to paint over it next time. The Council, impressed with their efforts on the previous weekend, offer Andy some Section106 money to run events there.
In March, celebrated artist My Dog Sighs becomes the first official artist to paint the tunnels for the new venture. In 2022, when he was unable to come, he wrote:
In 2014 a rather determined fan hounded me to come and paint an underpass he was organising in his home town. He was nothing if not insistent so knowing I was passing close by after an event in Bristol, I swung into his home town and threw a quick piece up. He stood around and watched while I painted and enthusiastically told me of his plans to get more artists to paint; maybe even run a festival.
Its' been a pleasure to paint at every Cheltenham paint festival up since then and watch it grow into such a great street art destination.
On the 11th of October, Spray it Again, the first official jam was held with around 20 artists attending the day. The local press were quick to pick up on it and had a story out before the paint had dried!
The second jam in the Honeybourne Line tunnels was held in February 2015 with around 30 artists and with some much bigger pieces. By now the tunnels was getting a reputation amongst artists as a spot to paint where your work would stay up and be respected. A second smaller jam took place in August but by now Andy's attention was on the bigger picture.
Quiet before the
By now the idea of running a festival with some huge murals around the town was firmly in Andy's sights and the plan was presented to the town's decision makers. Much to his surprise, they agreed and the foundations were set for the first annual Cheltenham Paint Festival. With walls to find, funding to be found and a business to set up, it didn't leave much time for smaller jams but one was set up for September and Dice's painting shows his feelings at this time.
The Cheltenham Paint Festival
After its inaugural event in 2017, the festival quickly gained momentum, drawing attention to Cheltenham as a hub for street art. The event was established to bring together artists, residents, and visitors, fostering a sense of community through the vibrant and public nature of street art.
Since its inception, the Cheltenham Paint Festival has grown in scale and popularity. Each year, a diverse group of talented artists are invited to participate, transforming the town's walls into a dynamic outdoor gallery. The festival not only showcases the creativity of the artists but also contributes to the cultural vibrancy of Cheltenham, turning it into a destination for art enthusiasts and those interested in the intersection of urban spaces and creative expression.
A bright new canvas
With funding from the Arts Council and Cheltenham Borough Council amongst others, the festival went ahead despite terrible weather! With around 85 local and national artists attending, the festival was incredibly well received, even making the national papers, and was a finalist in the SoGlos awards for Family Event of the Year.
After the success of the first event, walls became a lot easier to procure and the festival grew considerably the following year. With around 120 artists from around the world, including headliner Beau Stanton from the USA and L7Matrix from Brazil, many now iconic walls were painted. Once again the festival was a finalist in the SoGlos awards for Event of the Year.
2019 saw the first two walls of The ARTery project. These walls, on a social housing project often maligned, would be painted over the next few years turning the main artery into the town into a huge outdoor gallery. 120 artists attended the festival with a wonderful mix of local, national and international artists. An exhibition was held at Chapel Arts Gallery, with the opening night featuring a documentary to celebrate 25 years since Operation Anderson. With Inkie, Felix Braun and John Nation giving a talk and Q&A after, the event was a resounding success. This year also saw many literature inspired works produced to celebrate the Literature Festival's 70th birthday.
The Virtual Paint Festival
With the onset of Covid, 2020 saw the festival go virtual! A folder of many of the towns walls was made available to artists from around the world to superimpose with their works.
Not only was this a valuable way of artists getting their work out at such a difficult time but was incredibly well received at a time when there was little else to do. Many people thought they had missed the festival when the works were released they looked so real! The Virtual Festival was also featured on the BBC and in the daily papers.
With the Country on lockdown for much of the year, it looked very much like the 2020 edition wouldn't be going ahead. However, a brief lifting of restrictions along with some late funding from the Council saw the festival restored! Many of the artists self-funded their works that year as they were so desperate to get out and paint and, with the sun shining, the festival went ahead in a reduced fashion. A few days after the festival, lockdown was restored causing many others to be cancelled and we were grateful for our brief escape from our confines.
The works by Lucas Antics this year won a Civic Award for its beauty.
2021 saw Andy take the festival to Worcester for its inaugural year there as funding for Cheltenham was difficult to attain.
However it returned in style in 2022 and Andy also helped run Worcester's second event that year too. For the festival's 5th year the event pushed its boundaries and works honouring trans artists and celebrating Black Lives Matter viral sensation Nylah Jones were painted on The ARTery.
Once again a finalist for the SoGlos Awards Event of the Year, the festival finally went one better and won the prestigious award! Andy was also a finalist in the Outstanding Contribution Award for his work around the town.
The People's Paint Festival
Once again, difficulties in funding the Cheltenham event reared and in March Andy took the difficult decision to cancel the event. Supporters however were not so keen! One set up a GoFundMe, despite Andy's misgivings, and within 2 days supporters from around the world had donated to smash their £15,000 target including one donation from Kowski Apparel totalling £10,000! Galvanised by the pubic support, Andy rallied further funds, found their longest and tallest walls to paint and held the biggest festival yet with 160 artists from Australia, America, France, Poland, Spain and all over the UK attending! Despite inclement weather, many proclaimed it the best event so far...