Today’s post features just a single image–well, two views of a single image–which I captured while wandering the streets of Bushwick, which has become one of the hippest neighborhoods in the hippest borough of New York City. Indeed, the streets of 2016 Bushwick were a stark contrast to the Bushwick I first encountered in 1995, when I was offered a small, ground-floor studio apartment. Had you told me then, when I paid for my soda and chips through a plexi-glass partition at the bodega that these same streets would one day be home to gastropub-cinemas and sidewalk cafés offering fair trade lattés and vegan pastries, I would have spit my Mountain Dew all over the potholed street.
Bushwick has also become well-known as a haven for some fantastic street art, which will be featured in a future post.
Today’s image is a pasteup of a young boy with his hands up, and below him the caption “don’t shoot”. It seems to be a reference to the phrase “hands up, don’t shoot”, which has become the mantra of many protests by groups such as the Black Lives Matter movement. It is perhaps for this reason it quickly became the first photo ever on my Instagram feed to reach 100 likes. I consider this quite a milestone, as I’ve had the Instagram account for around the same amount of time as I’ve been keeping this blog, for just over 4 years.
Speaking of my instagram account, it’s a great place to check out some of the street shots that didn’t make it on to the blog, along with other non-street art related images I find along the way. My instagram name is @tbri001. Be sure to check it out!
As promised, in this post, I’ll show you the differences I found between the same spots, with a three month break in between.
The only difference is that the final photos in this post are taken from one of the Murs Lliures, which can be found on an entire city block, bordered by the streets Veneçuela, Agricultura, Josep Pla, and Pallars, a bit closer to the Selva de Mar metro station on the yellow line. Many of these pictures seem to follow the theme of climate change, and its effects on the arctic ecosystems, as the hashtags suggest. One of the principal artists involved in the effort is Pau Lopez, whose facebook page can be found here. And here is an interesting article on the initiative from our friends at Brooklyn Street Art.
Back in January, I took a short trip to the Poble Nou area, which is one of the hotter spots for street art in Barcelona, due to its past as one of the city’s industrial centres: wide streets, open lots and plenty of walls for the painting. The first few photos come from a corner just north of the Parc del Centre del Poblenou, a triangular park quite close to the Poblenou metro station of the yellow metro line. The park itself is quite modern, though you can still find one of the old smokestacks which once dotted this area of the city, which has been left as a reminder of the past.
The first pictures were taken just north of the park, at the intersection of the streets Espronceda and Marroc. This looks like the shell of a building, which has been left to the mercy of painters. Don’t forget to step back and see the Roman column that was painted on the side of the neighbouring building.
The next pictures were taken at another set of walls nearby, at the crossing of the streets Selva de Mar and Peru.
In the next post, you’ll see the same areas, but three months later.
As a teacher here in Barcelona, I generally get holidays around the same time as schools and universities. One of the more important ones is the Holy Week break, which is basically spring break, culminating in Easter. This year I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and book a short trip to my old stomping ground, New York City. I had a few bureaucratic issues to take care of, but I was also quite interested in rediscovering and reconnecting with the place I had called home for so long. My departure from NYC predates my interest in street art, so exploring the streets of Gotham became one of my main objectives. I was able to snap nearly 800 shots, way too much to put into a single post.
Instead, I’ll be spreading it out over a series of posts.
This first one will be rather small, and just a small teaser.
These first shots of the late Amy Winehouse and the great Jerry Seinfeld were both found on the same East Village alleyway, while the larger than life mural in memory of David Bowie was found on Kenmare Street, on the Lower East Side.These photos are quite special to me as they highlight one of the peculiarities of living in New York: the possibility of seeing some of the most famous faces in the world going about their daily business. Any true New Yorker, outwardly, wouldn’t bat an eye at sharing an aisle at Whole Foods with Madonna, but of course we all notice, and tell our friends about it later. I suspect with the advent of mobile technology some will even dare a discreet photo.
The other three photos are also quite significant as they are two political figures which have managed to inspire more passion and engaged more people politically than I can remember. The figures are Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Both very different ideologically, but equally passion-inspiring to their followers (and detractors). Which one do I prefer? Shouldn’t be too difficult to guess…
PS: check the captions for locations
Amy Winehouse and Jerry Seinfeld by SacSix
Trump the turd by hansky
David Bowie the graffiti room
Near Suffok and Rivington
Kenmare and Mott Sts
Freeman Alley, off Rivington
Freeman Alley off Rivington
Orchard off Canal
Longtime readers may remember a post from just over two years ago which featured an outdoor public art installation called the Galeria de la Magda. It wasfound just at the end of the Via Laetana at the corner of an empty lot. As rumors of a new real estate/property bubble loom and rents being to rise once again, the walls of this lot have been fenced off by what looks like the typical materials of a construction project. It is in a prime area of town, just between the old city centre and the beach, so I’m actually quite surprised the lot remained empty for as long as it did. A bit sad, but in a vibrant, international city like Barcelona, the only thing that’s really constant is change. There was a bit of wall left outside the fenced-in area where artists such as sm 172 have used the space to artistically air their grievances.
Today’s post features a single image, and appears to be the work of Brooklyn-based Iranian artists Icy and Sot. Much of their art is heavily political, and as the title suggests, their work focuses on the plight of refugees and other oppressed peoples. I really love how the power of people is captured within the body of the lone demonstrator–a really significant image for anyone who’s been living here since the famous “crisis” began and was able to witness the birth of the now-famous 15-M movement. I haven’t posted a single image in quite a while, but this one really had an impact on me when I stumbled upon it a few months back, and was probably one of the best shots that day.
On the shoulder of this profile, you can also see a horse figure, which is the work of Francisco de Pájaro, aka El Arte es Basura (Art is trash), and whose work and installations can be seen in Barcelona, along with many other cities.
This image was found in the Raval on Carrer Princep de Viana, just off the Plaça del Dubte.
As cathedrals go in Barcelona, the undisputed champion would be, of course, the Sagrada Familia. You won’t find any pictures of it here, not because I don’t love it, but because a google search will yield hundreds of thousands of photos that would be much better taken than anything I could manage with my modest mobile photography skills. But I digress…
There are a number of other cathedrals worth checking out, most notably the Cathedral of Barcelona and the bustling plaza which surrounds it. My favourite, however, is in the Born neighbourhood, and a bit closer to the sea, hence the name: Santa Maria del Mar. I won’t post any pictures either, as I would hardly do it justice–but I definitely recommend it.
While you’re there, after you’ve marveled at majestic Basilica, take a turn onto a small side street called Mirallers, marked on the map here, and start walking along this street till the end. You should also be careful not to miss the surrounding streets, especially carrer d’en Rosic and carrer de Grunyí. Be on the lookout for some of the huge, old doors that have been covered in stickers, pasteups and all different sorts of images. With all signs pointing to the disappearance of the Galeria Magdalena to make room for a new construction project, this may be one of the only outdoor galleries we have left, aside from the free walls.
Just round the corner from my flat on the street Torrent d’en Vidalet, I was surprised to find an outdoor photography installation which had been wheatpasted onto the wall of a building which houses a parking garage. The photos are a chronicle of the photographer’s travels through Uzbekistan. The black and white photos are slices of everyday life in a place many would have trouble pointing out on a map, but is just as active and alive as Times Square or Picadilly Circus.
The photographer’s name is Aleix Melé. Here is a link to his facebook page and tumblr blog.
I decided to add an extra entry this month in place of my normal two so that as many of you as possible can check out this outdoor exhibition. I think it’s an excellent way to display public art, and I hope to see more in the future.
This installation can be found here. (Google maps)
These images are taken from my latest trip to “Agricultura”, which is one of the more active of the free walls projects. Among my favorites are the cursed, cobra, the graffiti version of “The Thinker”, and the airborne cluster of houses. There was also a reference to the current political tension between Catalonia and the Spanish central government, with the image of a person in a grey t-shirt from whose head is exploding an estelada, the flag which celebrates the idea of Catalan independence. It looks as if someone with a can of black paint is not in favour of the idea of independence, as the word cabrón (asshole, son of a bitch, etc.) scrawled across this image would suggest.
As noted in the title, Street Scraps has garnered yet another mention, this time in the reader-selected Best Barcelona Blogs 2016. I’m honoured to be among a group of people who feel as passionate about our city as I do. You can check out the page here. Also be sure to check out the main page for Spotted by Locals, as it is full of great content for cities all over the world, selected by people who know them best–the locals.
Bcn Street Scraps is entering its fifth year, and has continued to evolve from a blog with pictures (sometimes several posts a day) and just a brief snarky comment or two to a blog with (ideally) two posts a month, but with much more commentary about the context of the images and what impression they have on me.
For 2016, I intend to carry on with these types of posts, but I’ve also decided to make some modifications. One of the first, and most important, is that going forward I will try to give the location of each image or group of images. It will probably happen via captions on the pictures, or if all the pictures in a post are from the same location, I’ll give the location in the post itself.
Another change which I’ve been procrastinating on for quite a while is the addition of a blog roll on the page. I’ve received quite a bit of attention over the last year or two from some great blogs which have in turn become a part of my regular reading list. Since a big part of the internet is sharing, it’s only right that I share these with my readers.
The final change is a bit of an experiment. Aside from street art, another one of my great interests is eating and drinking. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I’m a “foodie”, but I most definitely appreciate good food and drink as much as I appreciate discovering a hot piece of public art. I’ve been toying with the idea of sharing some of my tastier experiences with readers and have decided that the new year would be as good a moment as any to introduce this new concept. And don’t worry, Street Scraps won’t be littered with pictures of every burger or plate of patates braves I order; as with my street shots, I’ll try to include only the best of the best. Any reader feedback would be greatly appreciated!
I’ll also (weather permitting) be travelling to NYC where I’m hoping to bring back some NYC street scraps (both visual and edible) so stay tuned.
To wrap up, I just wanted to give a shout out to one of the guest posts that I did over the past year. This one comes from the travel blog Culture Trip. You can find my post here.
Carrer de Treball, Murs lliures project