Just to the north of one of my favourite squares in all of Barcelona, the plaça de la Virreina, we find this larger-than-life image of the character Walter White, the main character in the immensely popular Breaking Bad. This image is the work of axe colours. I wish i had more to say about this series that wasn’t second-hand, but I haven’t had the opportunity to see even a single episode The reason is pretty much the same as the reason I haven’t updated this blog as much as I would like over the last few months.
Changes in my work and free time habits have provoked an inexcusable neglect of my little project here, one which I’m hoping to resolve between this summer and the next academic year. I also hope to be able to catch up on films and tv series, as I’m woefully behind on that aspect of pop culture.
This larger than life size image can be found on Carrer Bailen, just between Gràcia and the Eixample. It’s from the artist konair, whose work can be found, in many different sizes, all around Barcelona. This artist’s work is unmistakeable, because of the distinctive popsicle form which all of the emotionally-charged images take. Here you can find an article on the artist (in Spanish).
This past 9th and 10th of May, the street Pere IV in Barcelona’s Poblenou neighbourhood played host to the latest edition of the Ús festival, which is an initiative celebrating the innovative use of public spaces and urban art.
The festival was something along the lines of what Americans would call a block party, with theatre performances, children’s activities and a DJ. There were also numerous artists, such as sm172, invited, giving festivalgoers the opportunity to see works in progress.
Another interesting feature of the party was the presence of numerous food trucks, satisfying Barcelona’s new-found love for the concept of creative street food.
As the title suggests, I had some free time between lunch and having to race off the nieghbouring city of Badalona for my afternoon classes, so I decided to take a trip down Diagonal to the Murs Lliures which is found just a bit north of the Diagonal Mar shopping centre. This space consists of the walls which I think surround what was once an office for the famous “La Caixa” bank and is one of the bigger spaces where artists can sign up to paint. Along with the numerous elaborate tags, a few pieces definitely stood out: a portrait of a mad sushi chef who also seems to be working on a bowl of ramen, some quite feminine images, of which the giant dancer’s legs are my favourite. The image which stood out most for me was the replica of the cover for the 1994 album Ready to Die from the late, great Biggie Smalls (aka Notorious BIG, aka Christopher Wallace). It continues to be one of my favourite albums of all time, hip hop, or otherwise. Definitely recommended.
At the end of Carrer Girona runs a street which connects the upper part of the well-gridded Eixample with the more organic, chaotic streets of Gràcia. The street is called Milà i Fontanals and plays host to a number of small bars, vermut joints and one of Barcelona’s first Nepali restaurants. Along the way, you can also find some interesting images, some of which have been previously featured on this blog. At the very beginning of this street is an empty lot which has been previously protected by the aluminum guard rails which indicate that someone is deciding what to do with the tiny patch increasingly-rare urban emptiness.
It appears that a decision has been made, as the last time I passed by, the aluminum was gone, and the overgrowth which punctuates these empty spaces freshly mowed away. On the wall of the adjacent building are the images you’ll see here. They seem to have been there for quite a long time, placed by intrepid artists who aren’t (unlike me) put off by the presence of a fence.
As whatever will be there becomes a reality(I’ve heard rumours of a huge hotel), I imagine these little slices of spontaneity will be forever lost as another crack gets filled in the concrete jungle.
As I haven’t had as many opportunities to get out and photograph recently, I’ve decided to dive into the ever-growing archive, which is transforming into an ever expanding (contracting?) black hole of a folder on my dropbox account. With a recent account upgrade to 1 terabyte, I imagine my image-hoarding will only get worse.
That said, when I do take a bit of time to scroll through, I’m able to find some post-worthy art that got lost in the cloud. Here is an example, which I think comes from here in Gràcia.
Spring semester schedule changes have made it more difficult for me to post this month, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still on the lookout. I captured these two images here in Gràcia. One of them, as the title suggests has been around for a few years now, and is continuing to survive, despite the harshest of the elements, the test of time.
Cities are often referred to as concrete jungles and the metaphor isn’t entirely inaccurate, as the winding streets and sometimes wild, unpredictability of the urban landscape can sometimes feel like the amazon. In Barcelona, most of the street art that’s left can be found in the old city centre, which I would refer to as a cobblestone jungle, a gridless, touristy labyrinth of the few old-time business mixed in with the overpriced boutiques and occasional chain shops. It’s here that I’ve found some of the more interesting beasts that I post on this blog. While today’s image by C215 comes from Gràcia, there is no shortage of feline-themed art to be found hiding in the cobblestone jungle.
Fresh from my trip to the East Coast of the USA, I wanted to make a short run down to the centre of Barcelona to see if there was anything new on the downtown walls. I inadvertently chose the first day of “rebaixes” (Catalan for “sales), which also coincided with the final days before the 6th of January, the Epiphany, or better known here as King’s day, when the three kings, instead of Santa Claus bring children their most anticipated Christmas gifts. As a result, I spent a bit less time wandering the unusually crowded streets than usual.
I was, however, able to find these three shots: the first one of what seems to be a child soldier framed within an Iphone, with a web address which leads to this website. The other image is of a woman who might be posing as a fashion model in a rather monstrous shade of green. Finally, the other is a colourful cartoon bird.
My annual trip to NYC this year left me little time to snoop around for interesting street shots as my hotel was in the financial district and I had cut my stay back by one day compared to last year. I spent most of my time rediscovering the streets of lower, lower Manhattan which I had only visited a handful of times in my years living there. I hit Wall St., dodged gawking tour groups and vendors hawking homemade memorial booklets near the 911 memorial pools and had some good old American Chinese at one of my all time favourites, Wo Hop. I also took detour down Mulberry Street, the so-called Little Italy, where I weaved between waiters standing outside the mediocre restaurants trying to entice hungry tourists, pastry shops with petrified cannoli proudly on display and the odd Italian-themed New York (read Guido/Jersey Shore) souvenir stands. An all-around festival of tackiness. But among the ruins, I was able to find some interesting murals, including a larger-than-life Audrey Hepburn and a door-sized work from Alice Pasquini. The title of this post is of course a tribute to one of the first books I was read, and later read, as a child, a great poem by Dr. Seuss which details a little boy’s fantastic walk down a rather ordinary street.