The shots from this entry are from early to mid March and come from the “Tres Xemeneies”, or Three Chimneys park, just off Parallel Avenue. This is a part of the “free walls” project, and a popular destination for Barcelona’s active skater scene, as well as a favorite spot to get pictures for this blog. Most of these are gone, as the image turnover on this popular painting site increases as the weather gets better. I’ve tried to include the three chimneys in the photos for a bit of perspective.
These are some shots from around the Poblenou neighbourhood, taken around the first week of March. The majority come from the “Free Walls” project, but there are also a few from around the Glories area, and an abandoned building site which had a hole in its fence.
Some interesting details worth noting are the now-customary anti-Trump art, along with a small mural with legs, in front of which you can see a shopping cart. That shopping cart is not abandoned, and is actually used by the African migrants who use them to wander the city gathering scrap metal, and who’ve made a home in a nearby encampment. These encampments are very similar to the ones built up by the Roma people, who also make their living on scrap metal and recycling, though some Roma are fortunate enough to have large vans to transport their cargo.
As the warmer weather approaches, I expect to see more turnover of the work on the free walls, so I’ll post as often as possible. The free walls can be found here. Some of the other works can be seen here (approximately), near Poblenou Park.
I had to dig back in the archives as far as May to get a few of these shots–a difficult task as my dropbox photo cloud approaches 6,00 photos. It was worth the effort though, as I was able to find th photo I was looking for, as well as a few extras that hadn’t made it to the blog. All of this post’s images are of famous people, some of them real celebrities, while two others are famous characters from the small screen. The two fictional faces come from two of the most popular series on TV, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. They come to us from artist Axe Colours, who was previously featured for his portrait of Walter White from another popular TV show, Breaking Bad. In the third image you can see the artist at work. The other three are pop culture icons in real life, Annie Lennox, Anthony Perkins, and Amy Winehouse–with who I think might be Rihanna in the lower right corner. Another image shows a curious mashup of Mickey Mouse and a scowling Madonna.
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.
Having a dog is a great excuse to get out and explore new areas of the city. My latest trips have taken me uphill, where the views of the city and the sea are marvelous, and there is also some nice street art hiding in the steep hills above the city.
The first few pictures come from the area near the Bunkers del Carmel, which served as the city’s defenses from fascist aerial attacks during the Spanish Civil War. The views are spectacular, and if you go during the week, you might be able to recapture some of the secluded off-the-beaten-track appeal. At the top of the hill you can find some walls which are painted with some murals, including one of the famous literary figure Don Quixote.
The rest of the photos are from the Vallcarca neighbourhood, which lies just next to Park Güell. This area is worth exploring as there are some interesting buildings and plazas, as well as some spectacular views of Barcelona spreading out toward the Mediterranean.
The dog days of summer are probably not the best time to explore this area as the sun seems to beat down a bit harder the higher you get, but a cloudy day in early autumn would be perfect for a climb, and besides, the pictures come out shadow-free on cloudy days.
For my second May post (which is actually hitting in June) I’ve decided to return to Gràcia, as I haven’t posted much from the surrounding area lately. Most of these shots come from strolls around the vila over the last three or four weeks. As suggested in the title, one of the more interesting ones is a portrait of tourists as paella-wielding, selfie-sticked zombie hordes who come to invade our quiet little neighbourhood nearly year-round. This sentiment can be seen in occasional graffiti which read “tourists go home”. As a foreigner who first came as a tourist, I’m a bit torn; while I recognize that tourism is vital to our local economy, and that a good majority of tourists are well-behaved and civilized, I also know as a resident what a putada it can be having the area so constantly crowded. On balance, I’m in favour of tourism, but I think that we need to start moving toward a more sustainable model. This is what the current city administration (in theory) is going for–a city planned and built for its residents, but also welcoming for tourists. A difficult happy medium to achieve, but a noble objective, in my humble opinion.
The other shots are rather random and generally political in nature, along with some anthropomorphized popsicles from konair, and some paste ups which have been appearing with increasing frequency.
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.
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.
Near one of the city’s most important transport hubs is the neighborhood of Sants, from which the train station gets its name. Once an independent village separate from the city of Barcelona, this residential neighborhood has a strong sense of identity due to its industrial root, and is home to what is considered to be one of the longest commercial streets in Europe, the Carrer de Sants.
Because of its rich industrial history, many of its buildings are perfect places for the once-common phenomenon of youth squats which become something like self-managed community centers, hosting all sorts of activities. As they are squats, there often arrives a moment when the building’s official owners decide to take control of the space, which usually means that squatters are asked to leave.
Such was the case of Can Vies, a squat that was established in 1997, and which became an epicenter of all manner of activities, performances and workshops. Its moment in the spotlight came in early 2014 when the building’s owner, the Barcelona Transport Authority decided to demolish the building.
The occupants, as well as others sympathetic to the squatter movement, didn’t take the forced eviction lying down, and the result were some intense days of street protests which made national news, and also spread to other Spanish cities.
The city ultimately decided to cancel the demolition, but not before destroying a good portion of the building, leaving basically ruins and parts of some of the walls. Two of the photos in this post show what remains of the squat, which has become something of a monument to resistance. The Can Vies website is still active, and activities, and plans for reconstruction, still continue.
Another photo is of a mural tribute to Can Vies which is on the previously mentioned Carrer de Sants. Finally, there are some random tidbits I found while wandering the surrounding streets.