Dave II is an aptly comedic illustrationist with the paint can, and it is hard to believe that such potent jocularity in the hidden spots of this abandoned building wouldn’t scare you on a dark night with flashlight in hand.
All freshly painted this year, this bounty of boffo brutes and beasts are available for you to discover lurking around the corners of this undisclosed location in the area of Barcelona, Spain, thanks to the effort exploration and documentation of frequent BSA collaborator Lluis Olive Bulbena.
A few new marine-themed murals today from Benicarló in Valencia.
The realistic romantic stylings of many a muralist is a staple of current Urban Art Festivals right now, including a new one painted by the artist named El Niño de las pinturas, who mines fantasy and history, borrowing from memories, archetypes.
Completed in July during the annual patron saint festival, this year including the third edition of the urban art initiative Camden Bló, El Nino (from Granada) was joined by Xolaka, from Alcúdia (Valencia), the Argentinian Andrés Cobre, and illustrator César Cataldo.
It’s good to see the variety of styles being favored for local festivals and great to see artists getting opportunities to paint in the public sphere – even endorsed by the ministry of culture in this small town of 26,000 along the Mediterranean coast. Special thanks to photographer Lluis Olive Bulbena, who shares his photos with BSA readers.
Summertime spray-cations are as popular for the jet-setting aerosol explorer as much as your local graffiti and Street Artist. Grabbing your bicycle, taking a bus, or simply hiking with a backpack full of cans, many writers make a full day of it, or decide to camp out at the abandoned factory, hanging with friends and listening to music.
For a photographer of Street Art and murals, its possibly just as much entertainment – just ask BSA contributor, Lluis Olive Bulbena. On vacation with his wife and grandkids between Lyon and Clemont Ferrant (about 250 km south of Paris) he discovered a compound filled with new paintings on the commune of lurcy-Lévis. Informally known as Street Art City, the project is the brainchild of Gilles Iniesta and features hundreds of works on facades out in the open and others in hidden locations – including many who have made the pilgrimage to leave their marks on the walls or inside the dilapidated rooms of Hotel 128 (more about the hotel tomorrow). .Thanks to some good crops of visiting artists this summer, it looks like rural France has a good selection of painting styles to choose from this season.
Photographer Lluis Olive took a quick
trip recently to Madrid and he did what he loves to do; took photos of graffiti
and shared with us his new discoveries. This one caught our attention.
On Calle Embajadores he found
that a mural by the Madrid based artist Okuda was dissed with “Tu Street
Art Me Sube El Alquiler” or roughly, “Your Street Art Makes My Rent Go
And the writer has a point, going
to the heart of gentrification, and its connection to art.
It goes like this: Rotten,
abandoned, vermin infested and derelict neighborhoods with large industrial
buildings left in a state of decay are “discovered” by creatives who
make them their homes and studios. Artists work to make any environment
aesthetically pleasing, and that’s often their downfall.
Last night in a Brooklyn beer
garden a buddy told us that he had taken a complete toxic dump in the lot
behind his apartment and slowly transformed it into a beautiful garden. For his
efforts, he said, the landlord wanted to raise his rent because he now has an
attractive garden apartment that he should be charging a higher price for,
according to the market. Punished for success?
This aerosol defacement of Okuda’s
mural is a partially accurate statement– at least indirectly. But let’s not
scapegoat the artist as the one to blame for gentrification. That’s an
oversimplification of a complex cycle that no one appears able to diffuse
effectively because the incentivized real estate system is surely twisted in
There are a number of misconceptions by persons unfamiliar with history or the organic unregulated illegal and unrestricted practices of urban intervention regarding this. Anyone who has thoughtfully and carefully followed what artists have been doing without permission in public and abandoned spaces over the last few decades will know that mural festivals and other legal and/or commercial mural initiatives are just that. They are not displaying examples of Street Art.
The commodification of the original freewheeling practices of Street Artists and its visual vernacular in commercial campaigns, coupled with the proliferation of mural festivals that subtly or explicitly neuter the activist element that critiques politics and society, is regrettable – although predictable.
Like the one we feature here today, Street Artists don’t treat abandoned places simply as galleries to sell sneakers or prints; with murals slapped thoughtlessly check to jowl as selfie-backdrops and vehicles for “urban” brand logos. Here one can gain appreciation of the works as they are situated amidst the ruins; a self-granted residency or laboratory where your art placed in a new context alters everything around it.
Luckily, photographers who don’t mind working and who still long for the days of illegal urban art exploration and discovery continue the hunt for those oases that lie off-the-beaten-path.
“Ruin porn” is such a pithy simplification of this desire to document our forgotten places, to reconnect with and review our history, our lore, our systems of values. We prefer the term “urban exploration” for conquests such as these. Here artists find a new home and inspiration from the beauty of decay, taking residency in the ruins of what may have been splendor.
and BSA contributor Lluis Olive recently visited one such oasis called La Puda,
an abandoned mineral bath resort at the foot of the Montserrat Mountains near
Barcelona, Spain. Build in 1870 it closed its doors in 1958, and in the intervening
six decades the building has suffered from floods, thieves, fern and fauna.
Despite the western classical markings of strength an power like colonnades, entablature, and soaring arches, presently the place is in various states of ruin due to abandonment. Here Mr. Olive gives us a small photo essay of the work of one artist, SM172. These unsigned works remind us that not everyone is in it for the “fame” because we had to ask around to find who the author is. Luckily we have the smartest readers!
This past Sunday, February 17 at La Plaza de las Tres Chimeneas ( Three Smokestacks Square) in Barcelona an international group of artists participated in the first “No Borders Festival.”
Called “Murs Contra el Murs”, which is Catalan for “Walls Against Walls”, the multi-mural festival intends to highlight the ongoing humanitarian crises of refugees and immigrants at international borders around the world.
Graffiti artists, Street Artists, painters, and illustrators came together to create new murals to speak to the issue and encourage debate and conversation. Artists included Btoy, Carles G.O’D, Dixon, Eledu, Enric Sant, Javier Arribas, Juanjo Surace, Julieta XLF, Kenor, Kram, Pincho, Roc Blackblock, Ruina, Saturno, Simón Vázquez, Tutzo, and Wati Bacán, among others.
BORDERS is a grassroots organization that was created to raise awareness about
the refugees, to demand their acceptance, and to raise funds through debates,
art and documentaries.
They say they want to raise the uncomfortable questions – which will undoubtedly lead to uncomfortable answers as well. To paraphrase the text on their website:
“Do we settle for a society that violates its moral and legal obligations to refugees? A refugee is a person who flees – Flees because he is on the losing side. Because he thinks, feels or prays differently than those who point him with their weapons.”
usual, artists are bringing these matters to the street for the vox populi to
Our sincere thanks to photographer Lluís Olive for sharing his shots of the walls with BSA readers.
For more information on the festival running through March 3rd that includes documentaries, panel discussions, workshops, and prints, please go to https://noborders.es/ and follow @nobordersrefugees on Instagram
Celebrity, photorealism, illustration, fantasy, spectacle. These have always been part of popular art culture and have had an increasingly strong representation in Street Art culture, particularly in the last decade and a half as well.
Since the earliest reproductions of comic-book characters and voluptuous women by graff writers on subway cars in the 1970s, the chasm between your life and this art in public is short. From pin-up girls to stylized Dali’s to adorable animals, its the thrill of recognition, the associations you have with the figure’s back-story, and the familiarity with the visual nomenclature that makes it popular.
Audiences in Torreblanca, Spain have been responding strongly to these images for their local Citric Festival, and photographer Lluís Olivé Bulbena was on the street from last month’s events and he shares some of his shots with BSA readers. Our thanks to him.
“It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our lives that we must draw our strength to live and our reasons for living.”
French existentialist, feminist, and intellectual Simone de Beauvoir saw the hell created by us and held us accountable to be performative agents in actively transcending the facts of our existence. Since April three artists have been depicting that hell on the exterior wall of Torrent de les Bruixes Institute in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, and they give Ms. De Beauvoir heroic role, triumphal; rising untouched and ebullient above the pit of vipers, monsters, dragons and fantastical embodiments of evils.
They call it “La Clausura Del Infierno”, roughly translated as “The Closing of Hell”. Perhaps it could be called “The Opening of Hell” as well.
Because we know you love to see the process as well as the final piece, here is a prime example of how the artists conceive the beginning of a mural by codifying colors. It is impressive how artists Sebastien Waknine, Simón Vázquez, and Juanjo Surace decided to sketch the forms and composition on the wall, using colors and shapes as code.
Our special thanks to photographer Lluís Olivé Bulbena, who shares these images with BSA readers.
Images today from La Nau Bostik, an artist run complex in Barcelona that aims to be sustainable, inspirational, and a breathing living cultural oasis. By most accounts, it succeeds wildly.
Murals often accompany citizen-run cultural initiatives and art spaces like these, frequently to great effect. The spaces are raw and neglected and needs a sense of life and color; new narratives to fill the space with interactions and hopefully inspire collaboration.
Xavier Basiana and his cultural compatriots have established a community cultural and intellectual place in a settlement of ex-industrial warehouses over the last decade along the train tracks in La Sagrera, and the once barren soil now sprouts an ever growing crop of portraits, characters, fantasies, political and social messages.
In cities that we have the opportunity to visit we occasionally get to see these vibrant spaces like La Nau Bostik, now a cultural fixture that draws thousands throughout the year for a rich mix of programming and engagement. Surrounded by great organic works on the walls by fine artists and current or former Street Artists and graffiti writers, the environment seems to foster a re-generation of people-fueled ideas for progress, problem solving and dreaming.
Ivan Floro. Nau Bostik, Barcelona. (photo LluÍs Olivé Bulbena)
Without the synergistic effects of weaving all of these elements of education, celebration, theater, academic examination, civic engagement, the plastic arts, performance, labor, and commerce, these places may not be able to offer a safe place for free thought and internal exploration. As ever, it is the combined effect of a variety of talents that creates the greater sum. With so many factors and parties at play, maintaining a sense of balance is an ongoing goal.
Today we are happy to visit this arts space via the camera work of photographer Lluis Olive Bulbena, who we thank for sharing his images with BSA readers.
We made it! But it was a rough few days just finished with storms and rain and snow and high winds and flooding and downed trees around New York and its environs. Similarly, as one surveys the chaos reigning in Washington, one must not be blinded by the sound and fury and has to measure what foundations are being broken and what soil is being eroded during this deliberate and man-made storm. Also Tax Payers, You’ve Been Scammed.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Below Key, Bond TruLuv, Bunny M, Combo, Crash, Eleonora Arosio, Faith XVVII, Free the Bunny, Imraan Christian, Jaeraymie, Lamkat, Little Ricky, Manyoly, Olek, Ollio, PAM, Paper Skaters, RAD, SK, Specter, and UFO907.
Las Ramblas is a good place for rambling foot tours on a Saturday afternoon before reaching the ocean at El Raval. This neighborhood of Barcelona champions the small one-off Street Art piece – the antithesis of the large splashy murals that popular in other cities.
Rice (photo Lluís Olivé Bulbena)
A barrio of narrow streets adorned with mysterious and grandly heavy wooden doors keeps the throngs of tourists at arms length. Windows and balconies with intricately and beautifully crafted iron work create an old world charm and invite smaller thoughtful portraits by Street Artists looking for a setting with character.
Turn the corner and there’s a genteel plaza buzzing with seniors in their golden years sitting on benches or at sidewalks cafes nursing a coffee or a brandy.
Rice (photo Lluís Olivé Bulbena)
Here in these secret niches, doorways, sidewalk level windows, lampposts, and just about any other surface you’ll discover small pieces of Street Art installed illegally. Multi-layered or one color stencils, one-of-kind, hand-painted wheat pastes, sticker multiples, fully realized acrylic portraits and posters; all small works waiting for a small audience.
BSA contributor and Barcelona native Lluís Olivé Bulbena recently took a stroll through the winding streets and found this treasure trove of goodies. Thanks to him and enjoy!
Welcome to Images of the Week! Great stuff this week from Portugal, Spain and good old NYC to flip your Aunt Betty’s wig.
The big news this week of course was that the 5 Points graffiti compound case was awarded to the 21 plaintiffs. But its not just local: it may have national implications when building owners will be insisting on contracts with anyone who paints their property. It may also confuse and scare off many opportunities for artists, where building owners will simply say no to the proposal.
The settlement, which we covered in Tell It to The Judge ; Graffiti Artists Win in 5 Pointz Case, has infuriated many and thrilled others expressing their opinion on social media. One of our 5 Ptz postings on Facebook this week garnered 1,300 comments, a nest of misunderstanding mediated by the occasional level head, offset by congratulations and victory laps. Naturally, folks from other parts of the country insulted us New Yorkers. Welcome to the world of graffiti and Street Art!
The Black Panther movie has many New Yorkers enthralled as it premiered on Tuesday night at the Museum of Modern Art. Theaters drew entire families and school groups many standing in line in costume as they waited to see powerful and positive black super-heroes and heroines. #HR620, the ADA Education and Reform Act, limiting the power of the Americans with Disabilities Act and turning back the clock on disability rights, and Trump’s new budget proposes actually steals from the mouths of the poor, taking away food assistance from millions of low-income Americans, on the heels of a tax cut that favored the wealthy and corporations. Do you know how much an average SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipient receives per month for food? $126 dollars. And you want to cut that somehow? https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/senior-hunger-facts/”>The Times Magazine says it is a defining moment for black America .
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Atomik, Bigod, City Kitty, Daniel Eime, Desla, Exit.Enter.K, Fatal Fake, Free the Nipple, Gane, Gebraël, Kram, Little Ricky, Obey, Texas, We’kup, and Zest B.