A true graffiti jam is still possible. This location in Barcelona, the Plaza de las 3 Chimeneas, is a platform for an ever-changing collection of works by new and established practitioners of graffiti, street art, and urban art. How many times have visited a local ‘Wall of Fame’ to find many of the same artists again and again, as if they are hand-picked by ‘kingmakers-queenmakers’?
Over the last decade we have featured this unique venue many times on many different occasions, thanks to photographer and BSA collaborator Lluis Olive Bulbena.
We’re happy to discover the democratic spirit applied to admissions of artists and writers time and again; to see new and emerging styles, political screeds, memoriums, handstyles, portraits, illustrations, text treatments – the gamut of voices that are all part of the greater Barcelona scene and beyond. It is reassuring to see that a scene that can be rebellious against institutional classism and clubby corruptive influences is also not falling prey to them.
This jam was organized by the Periferia Beat Festival, Lluis tells us. “They brought together a group of about 40 artists for a day of art, painting, and sharing stories among old friends.”
Stencils, wheat-pastes, and fevered texts by hand – they all are speaking to you in Valencia. Here in Spain, the pandemic has canceled Pamplona’s bull-running festival and Seville’s Holy Week procession. This month Valencia’s Fallas festival was held in the strictest of rules.
In a bit of cynical irony on the street, creative director/UX designer Mikel Parera teams up with this cluster of graffiti/street artists in Barcelona to parody the grey lines between using art as activism and merely imitating styles to push content. This new collection of graffiti styles are completely divorced from any contribution to or critique of society. The advertising “Creative” is portrayed little more than pre-meditated aesthetic manipulation – in service of a brand.
Roughly translated, here is his wall screed – naturally followed by Instagram handles.
“Who has not ever enjoyed seeing good graffiti? But there is a problem: – Everybody steps on everybody – General discomfort and confusion. – That shouldn’t be like that. It doesn’t seem fair to us either. That is why we make graffiti useful for people. Take a look at our work, contact us and start a project. Use graffiti to create quality content in your projects. Write us today! Refuse dishonest solutions. Don’t hurt your brand or your audience. Get original work and have an excellent experience. Go from feeling disoriented to standing out, being a benchmark in your sector.”
We return for Part 2 of this nearly incandescent display space in the northern woods of Catalonia discovered this month by photographer Lluis Olive Bulbena.
Such an idyllic light and quiet sanctuary for aerosol paintings are on offer for anyone making the effort to investigate. Here you can see the latest trends alongside classic styles of writing for this part of Europe, where lo-fi is as welcome as high-gloss and wild styling.
During a recent graffiti shooting outing the Spanish photographer and BSA contributor Lluis Olive Bulbena ventured into the woods of a remote region in the North of Catalonia.
When he finally found the site, he felt like he was rewarded for his efforts.
Graffiti writers are known to seek out of the way, abandoned and neglected buildings to practice their skills and otherwise “get up”. This complex of buildings once housed a textile factory in a region famous for its textile industry – an industry that was later decimated by floods.
While the architectural details of the buildings date to the beginning of the XIX century, existing documentation tracks this site as far back as the XVII century where the factories were employed in the manufacture of gunpowder. The following century, the records show that it was processing cotton. Now this not-so-secret site is an open gallery for the curious, hidden from the general public – but open to those who know where to look.
Enjoy our first installment of two – new images from a very old place:
It’s been a struggle to mount art events in the last year and a half for many reasons. That includes the 6th edition of GarGar Murals and Rural Art Festival in Penelles, Spain.
Instead of grouping all the artists and events and fans together for one short period of high activity, the organizers this year decided “to progressively invite the artists in smaller numbers so they could paint more confidently and feel protected from the virus.”
Now that all the 2021 murals have been painted, BSA collaborator Lluis Olive-Bulbena traveled an hour and a half from Barcelona to capture fresh paint! We thank him and we invite you to enjoy GarGar!
School is out, unemployment is higher than they’re reporting, and your younger sister is driving you crazy. Time to take off with some friends to the local abandoned building for some summer spray-cation!
Maybe you’ll finally do that masterpiece, maybe you’ll just spray some genitalia or extremely large breasts. Since they are on your mind anyway, why not? These are the last days of July, you might as well carry on what has become a modern tradition for many urban youths over the years.
Who has a speaker we can plug into a phone? I want to hear my jam!
Thank you for these Barcelonian hidden jewels from Lluis Olivas.
In our ultimate meta-posting, today we feature photos from street photographer Lluis Olive of images left on the street by an artist named “The Photographer”. Needless to say, much of the past graffiti and Street Art would not even be discussed today without a small pool of photographers who documented the scene at great cost to themselves.
Despite the ocean of cameras in use today, it is still true that very few are directed by even-handed photographers whose interest is not simply in their favorites, but documenting a greater scene. Unfortunately, it’s still rare to find a good photographer on the street, but we think we got the shot this time.
International Women’s Day is only controversial for those who feel threatened by the idea of equality and freedom.
Perhaps that’s why, according to current statistics, women continue to fight and protest against the gender wage gap in Spain, as well as against violence against women. The national female unemployment rate is 17.4%, compared to 13.8% for men.
Elsewhere in Barcelona, strident activist painters created new murals in Tres Chimeneas Park to celebrate International Women’s Day this past weekend. We’re pleased to share with you a selection of the murals painted for the occasion courtesy of BSA contributor Lluis Olive Bulbena.
What the hell just happened? Has it been a year? Or has it been 10 years? Or just one long nightmare/daymare? Or has it been 10 years? Did we already ask that?
In March 2020 we awoke to a world that was transforming before all of our eyes, yet we felt so cut-off from it and each other. The first days seem so long ago as we mark the first anniversary of the pandemic. Still, the initial shock of those days resonates in our chests so strongly that we confidently talk about a collective global trauma that has indelibly marked a generation.
From Stockholm to Mexico City to Barcelona to Bethlehem to New York to LA, BSA brought you street art that was responding with fear, derision, critique, hope, and humor to the never-static, always evolving barrage of Covid news. Stuck inside and afraid to expose ourselves to each other, we New Yorkers became accustomed to experiencing the outdoors only through our windows, connecting with neighbors we’ve never met who were also banging pots and pans or clapping and waving and yelling.
We listened to ambulances screaming past our windows every half hour or so during those first weeks, imagining the torn families, the terrified fellow New Yorkers now being rushed to the hospital and separated from their loved ones without a goodbye, gasping for air. We wondered if we would be next.
When we did go to the streets, they were empty – or nearly. In New York this was unheard of. In this bustling, noisy metropolis, we experienced a daily disconcerting quiet. That is, until the killing of George Floyd by cops finally pushed the anger/anxiety into the streets all summer.
The deadly hotspot of New York quelled, but the fires of Covid spread west, grabbing communities who thought they would avoid impact. At the same time, local, state, and national leaders fumbled and argued or famously callously ignored the desperation of citizens, occasionally admirably filling the shoes they were elected to occupy, often misstepping through no fault of their own.
We have no particular wisdom to offer you today beyond the obvious; this pandemic laid bare inequity, social and racial and class fault-lines, the shredded social net, the effect of institutional negligence, the ravages of 40 years of corporate privatization, and the power of community rising to the occasion to be in service to one another in ways that made us all more than proud.
Here are some of our favorite Covid-themed street art pieces from over the last year, a mere sampling of the artistic responses. Interspersed we paste screenshots of the daily events (via Wikipedia) in 2020 that shaped our lives, and our society.
We mourn the losses of family and friends and the broken hearts and minds in all of our communities. And we still believe in the power of art to heal and the power of love to balance our asymmetries.
As NYC went on complete lock-down and New Yorkers were ordered to remain in their homes in complete isolation the city’s residents organically joined together in a collective 7:00 pm ritual in support to the first responders. To the nurses, doctors, paramedics, trash collectors, public transportation, police, fire fighters, supermarkets workers etc…with their services and sacrifices we, the residents of this megalopolis were able to keep out hopes for brighter days to come.
Video of four former presidents urging people to “roll up your sleeve and do your part” and get the vaccine.
In the US, families of military veterans say, “Freedom isn’t free.” It refers to the enormous amount of sacrifice people have to make – military and civilians alike – to guarantee that societies provide a fulsome measure of freedom and autonomy to their citizens. Likewise, free speech has to be fought for periodically to ensure that people have it – because it can be so swiftly taken away if we are not vigilant.
In our third installment of the murals painted in February in Barcelona, Spain, we are reminded that historically, the artist is often one of an oppressive government’s targets. It is somewhat sequential, the positions and stations in society who gradually are targeted for slurring and silencing. Academics, clergy, the press – a building degradation of respect for institutions and trust across the board.
These artists express their opinions in defiance of silencing because, inherently, they fight for everyone’s right to freedom of speech and expression, regardless of our comfort or discomfort with the ideas expressed. Because they must.
Many people in New York and around the world breathed a collective sigh of relief this week when our native son from Queens got on that helicopter with his immigrant wife and A. left the White House and, B. flew to Florida.
But for this week anyway, the streets are saying let’s give Biden and Harris and this new administration the congratulations and the honeymoon they deserve. We wish them (and us) the best!
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Anna is a toy, Bastard Bot, CRKSHNK, Elfo, Jason Naylor, Lunge Box, Praxis VGZ, and Queen Andrea.