Archives for posts with tag: Barcelona stencil art

This year’s Festa Major de Gràcia featured a new entry into the decorated streets: la Plaza del Poble Rumaní, the theme of which was one of the biggest cultural contributions from Gràcia’s vibrant gypsy community: la Rumba Catalana. While the decorations themselves had a difficult time competing with the more experienced streets, one feature which stood out from the rest was a huge mural which was painted on the wall of a neighboring school.

The mural is a collaboration between local schools, the local gypsy community, and the organization acidH (Catalan Association for Integration and Human Development). The three artists who participated are well-known in the Barcelona street art scene and this blog: Xupet Negre, Caesar Baetulo (sm172), and konair.

The images on the mural are a mix of the artists’ trademark characters and icons of Catalan culture.



Today’s shots come from the free walls at Tres Xemeneies, near Avinguda Paral·lel, some random wanderings through the neighbouring Raval, and a new location (at least for me): the Jardins de Walter Benjamin, which are just near the Port, and mark the last frontier before the city gives way to Montjuic Park. As suggested in the title, the “gardens” themselves are nothing to marvel at, but the walls, which separate them from the playground of a local school, are the main attraction.

The Raval was full of tributes to famous faces, among them Debbie Harry, Kafka, Dennis Rodman, the late Prince, Jesus Christ (by artist sm172), and Football Club Barcelona’s favourite tax-dodging wunderkind, Neymar Jr.

As my geo-tagging feature on my camera app has become a bit unpredictable with the latest android update, my locations aren’t quite a precise as before. That said, a good wander round the Raval/Poble Sec area does a body good!


Ever since the city council began its crackdown on antisocial behavior in 2006, finding examples of urban art in Barcelona has become increasingly difficult–to the point where nowadays when I go out wandering the city, it’s nearly impossible to find new work outside of the permitted places.

These shots come from one of those morning meanderings through the Raval and the Old City Centre. Finding a silver lining in this situation is about as difficult as the hunt for new art, but if I suppose the scarcity means that it’s much more satisfying when I do find something interesting.

Impermanence is one of the things that most appeals to me about art found on the streets. I can return after a few days, weeks, or months, and find a completely different work of art. There are many people that would lament the damage done to the two images I present today, and I doubt that the person who scratched out the eyes on the stencil of the little girl from C215 had art in mind when he or she acted. Nonetheless, I think we have to accept, or even embrace this proces of decay and regeneration in the creation of a completely new work of art. If we want protected art, we can always go to a museum where the works are mostly (with this recent exception caught on video) protected from accidental and non-accidental damage. I’m not even sure damage is the correct word. Transitional blemishes?

Ada Colau

Ada Colau

Manuela Carmena

Manuela Carmena

This past 24 of May, autonomous communities and municipalities all over the Spanish state held elections. The excitement and anticipation were more than I’ve ever seen, and it actually seemed that many people really felt the importance and impact of their vote–something rare these days. The reason for this is the disillusion generated by the two main parties, the Partido Popular (center-right neo-liberal party) and the PSOE (center left, literally Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) and the CiU (the now-separate Center-right coalition of the Democratic Convergence Party of Catalonia and Democratic Union of Catalonia) here in Catalonia–which stems from numerous corruption cases and a general perception disregard for their constituents.

The problem, until the 24 of May, was the lack of alternatives. In this last election, the anger which took root in the 15M movement as well as other social activism finally took shape in parties like Podemos, Barcelona en Comú (formerly Guanyem–we win), and Ahora Madrid.

Despite the media and their polls favoring the traditional parties, the new upstarts made an impressive showing, most notably in Spain’s two largest cities, Barcelona and the capital, Madrid.

In Madrid, the candidate from Ahora Madrid, Manuela Carmena, was able to take the mayorship from career politician and aristocrat Esperanza Aguirre, through a left-wing coalition.

Similarly in Barcelona, Ada Colau, best known for her activist work with the anti-eviction group PAH, was elected mayor, unseating incumbent and big-party favorite Xavier Trias of CiU.

Here you find two stenciled portraits which recently popped up in Gràcia.

Whether the change referred to in the title of this post will extend beyond the initial election results remains to be seen…

Something's cooking...

When I was younger, like many kids, my best friend and I were inseparable, and together we managed to cause our mothers plenty of minor headaches. Generally our antics were quite audible, but there were other times were there was a lull in the action, off in a dark corner of the house, talking in hushed voices. Apparently, these were the most worrying times for my mother, “they must be cooking something up,” as she used to say. And she was always correct.
When I found this image from the Norwegian artist Stein, who has already made an appearance on this blog, I immediately thought back to my childhood. while the closest my friends and I got to street art was probably leaving donut-shaped tire marks in a department store parking lot, there was something in this image that brought back memories. I can only hope that this young boy and many like him can find a recipe for inspiration in the streetart cookbook. There are plenty of drab, bare streets on the urban landscape that could use some delicious re-imagining.

Happy Birthday Jimi

I’ve been meaning to post this one for a while, I found it on a door on the border between the Raval and Poble Sec. A few days after what would have been Jimi’s 70th birthday seems as good a time as any. While I was taking this photo a few older men from the neighborhood were clearly discussing my motives. I like to think that Hendrix would have enjoyed this tribute in an anonymous corner of Barcelona on an aluminum door covered in the chaos of tags fighting for recognition.

After-breakfast post, overexposed

I’ve been wanting to post this image for a while, but I just haven’t been able to find the right moment for it. Until today. I had been trying to watch a short film, but because this is my first pre-autumn in this living room, which is quite generously fed with sunlight, every scene was nothing but shadows drowned out by the mid morning glare. Something like this image. I think she was quite high up on an otherwise sparsely-decorated door, making the angle a bit awkward. And it was second week of August, just shy of 2 in the afternoon when the sun forces me down the metro and home. So at a poor angle and suffering from an impossible glare from the pre-lunch August sun when we non-tourists start packing up and heading for shadier pastures, I was able to get this one last shot. In the details she bleeds a bit, all white and such intense sun blotting out the finer points, but I still find her beatiful.
Not so much for my attempt at morning movie on the sofa. I moved to the kitchen for an extra helping of the flaky fan-shaped pastries which have been breakfast this week. My oldest and most devoted cat followed the crunching noises and was soon at his usual corner of the table, waiting for something to fall off the edge of my second breakfast. I tore off part of the sticky sugar-brushed edge and left it. He normally refuses to touch things I leave for him if I’m there, so I let him contemplate it and continue watching from the hall. The sun that ruined my movie has moved in on the table, rapidly overtaking the cat corner because I’ve left the balcony shutters open. The glare cuts short too the cat’s examination of the crumb and it’s knocked to the floor, swallowed without a crunch.