Valencia Dispatch: Illustrators, Thinkers, and Riddles

Thought provoking, curious, underplayed. There is a certain circumspect quality to the Street Art scene in this seaside city in Spain that ranks third in population but which may be vying for the Street Art title that once was held securely by Barcelona.

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Julia Lool (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Admittedly it is an unthankable task to try to characterize the urban art of any city, but the eclectic street works like those found in Valencia’s neighborhoods like El Carmen, with its peculiar configurations of streets and plazas and little in-between places, are often a trifle more cerebral in their culmination. With challenging riddles and allegories you’ll find yourself studiously unpacking meanings and subtext with these often small and midsize works that call to you, rather than scream.

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Julia Lool (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Yes, Valencia inherited the grafiteros romance and hip-hop aerosol aesthetic in the late 20th century, as many cities around the globe did, and you can see ample evidence of those fame and style influences here as well. However there is an almost Lo-fi illustrator vibe in Valencia and many figurative pieces are singular, influenced by cartoons and modernly ironic illustration styles, from deadpan dry in black, grey, and white to fully realistic and photorealist aerosol portraits.

It is not unusual for works to have a message or point of view, where symbols stand in for sentiments and metaphors abound. The “cute” quotient may also be lower than many cities, as is the need to fill in a background to occupy space. In a genre that can get very cluttered, with pieces chock-a-block and smashing into one another with no discernable through-thread, Valencia looks like it can give artists the space, and artists are using that space effectively.

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Julia Lool (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Escif and Hyuro (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Hyuro (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Hyuro (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Hyuro (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Deih (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Deih (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Blu (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Xelon (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Nebbia . Ion (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Julieta XLF (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Julieta XLF (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Julieta . Lolo (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Sarench (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Sarench (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Sair (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Erica Il Cane (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Erica Il Cane (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Erica Il Cane (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Disneylexya (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Cere (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Flug (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

 

Our sincere thanks to BSA Contributor Lluis Olive Bulbena for sharing his photos exclusively with BSA readers.

See also ESCIF Reflects Us Back With a Dry Humor in Valencia

 

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