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.”
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.”
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.
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.
News reports are telling a story about an uptick in domestic violence because families are confined in closed quarters for long periods of time during the COVID-19 lock-downs across the world. A tendency toward abusive behavior is further complicated by economic insecurity, lack of food, and generalized fear. There is help available, please see below for resources.
Anti-Violence Project: Specialized resources for LGBTQIA+ and HIV-positive survivors; 24/7 hotline at 212-714-1141
Crisis Text Line: 24/7 text chat line for individuals in crisis in the United States and Canada; text HOME to 741741
Recover from Financial Abuse
“Unfortunately, financial abuse occurs in 99% of all domestic abuse cases, and the effects can negatively impact survivors for years after they escape,” says Nina Humphry at Bankrate. Below is an article that focuses on “rebuilding finances after escaping an abusive relationship, providing tips on budgeting, building credit, and getting back into the workforce.”
Political cartoons and murals sometimes overlap but rarely as impressively and with such frightening a warning as this new one from Juanjo Surace in Barcelona.
The skill and quality and powerful depiction all come together here from across the Atlantic Ocean, perhaps a clarion summation of how those outside the U.S. now see us and the current occupant of the White House.
The artist is professionally a painter, sculptor, and animation professor. He says he is self taught and that his deepest love for his craft is expressed when spray it on the street.
We continue to see a dissolving of previous tensions between the worlds of graffiti writing and mural artists and other disciplines of art-making as we travel around cities around the world. Artificial divisions have persisted, and indeed the lived experience of graff and street art and mural making are distinctly different in certain respects, but the piece is the piece, regardless of style, and each creator can be an ambassador with a message.
Our own philosophy is if art is going to have the transformative power that we believe it can have on all of our societies, families, and institutions we need to dissolve artificial divisions in the creative community as well – as they serve little constructive purpose. As art in the street usually reflects society at large, we have our own challenges with classism, sexism, and racism as well.
So it’s great to see the continuance of brotherhood and sisterhood at small neighborhood festivals like the 3rd Edition of the Kronos Art and Arts Santa Mònica here in an area of Barcelona during the third week of October. One core philosophy at this festival this year was to re-consider the future of art and its role by actively consulting kids in defining what art is, and what it could be.
“Be aware of the role of ARTIST and his work in our PRESENT, without
judging, without imposing criteria, with the sole conviction that what we are
creating is the prologue of the FUTURE in the ART”
During their ‘live painting’ events at 3 Chimney Plaza (Plaza de las 3
Xemeneies) it was the men and women, graffiti writers and street artists – all working
side by side. Part of a much larger group of events that included 70+ artists,
photography, sculpture, performance, music, video art, cinema, talks, and workshops,
these painters just did their thing and had a good time.
“Becoming cultural activists, taking the reins of how to express ourselves and about what to express ourselves through art; and by doing so becoming key pieces for the freedom of creation, we become aware as spectators, as thinkers, as artists, as a species. KRONOS ART BCN 2020 is a wager to the freedom of society through the freedom of the artist; free to catch everything that interests and surrounds them, without fear of being judged and without judging the protagonists of their artwork. Free to BE in all the aspects that make us human, thus turning the PRESENT into the prologue of a FUTURE world full of diversity.”
Our thanks to photographer Lluis Olive Bulbena for capturing a few of the artists at work at the plaza.