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.
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.
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.
The title of this post comes from Shakespeare’s “A Winter Song”, in which the Bard describes the call of the “staring owl” with these words. Nowadays, it seems we’ve abbreviated it to the simple “who”, or if you’re a stickler about subject and object pronouns, to-WHOM.
I found this owl very close to the concrete-walled abyss once known as the Plaça Sanllehy, which made a previous appearance on this blog for some of the art which decorates the concrete walls surrounding the dug-out plaça.
Owls are not a frequent theme in street art, but I have come across some interesting examples, most notably near the Mercat de l’Abaceria in Gràcia and near Gaudí’s Casa Vicens (no photo available).
Though owls are typically a symbol of wisdom and intelligence, this bit of popular wisdom seems to be just that, with no basis in science.
This myth has been reinforced throughout history, most recently by the Harry Potter stories. As I’m a bit older, I have more fond memories of the wise old owl from the Tootsie-pop commercials, and the mechanical owl from the 80’s special effects classic Clash of the Titans.
In my opinion, this owl most resembles the golden, mechanical Greek-myth movie version. What do you think?
On the right side is a stenciled image I had found toward the beginning of my collecting career, hence the poor color quality, etc. I liked the goggles, reminded me of some post-punk performance video I saw in college, people beating on metal, machinery, with chains hanging everywhere. I think there might have been sparks or some minor pyrotechnics, but the goggles were mostly for effect. They may have been wearing one of those thick aprons that machinists wear also. Anyway, the image on the left was the same stencil but at a different location. This one has been retouched with the crown and a bit of love, which I think comes courtesy of artist tmnk, who we’ve seen here and here. So ignoring the poor quality of the right side image, is the goggled guy better with or without the touch of love?
She was a tiny presence on a wall full of images shouting over one another to be heard. In her own simple way she was begging to be photographed. I crouched in and obliged. My battery was low and my mobile camera shuts down serveral times during my walks as it edges ever closer to its Samsung-planned obsolescence, but in this case it served me well.
On my first day in Ciutadella I was pleasantly surprised to find these stencil pieces scattered about the small port city. They are the work of Morgan Estevez, aka M2. You can see a picture and read more (in Catalán) here. I look forward to seeing more of his work when I return to explore Menorca.
According to the statistics gathered by the folks at WordPress, these are the top 5 most viewed posts on the blog:
5. Lenin in Love
4. Profile, Sunny day, Siesta
3. Street art squad
2. Technicolor Christ
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This stencil has been popping up in different places throughout the city, and maybe it represents a vision of the future where we can find little terminals at which we can login to our facebook or pinterest or twitter everywhere we go, from the beach to the mountain to the local Burger King. But take a walk down any city street, or any street in general. Within a few seconds you’ll encounter someone completely occupied with answering a text message, tweeting or re-tweeting or looking for the next song (that’s me). The vision of the future with terminals on every corner has been replaced with a present where we all have the terminals in our pocket, or in our hand. So instead of a stencil, maybe this should be a tattoo.
This is a stencil of a famous photo of Sid Vicious. I’ve been having trouble finding the original source. The photo can be found on the cover of Mojo magazine, but from 2005, 26 years after Sid died.