Typically you may expect to be praying the novena and asking God for absolution of your dastardly sins here in this sprawling compound called The Konvent near Barcelona. While no one would stop you today, you may also wish to check out a number of new installations throughout the many buildings by Street Artists.
The Roman Catholic former convent hosted 50 or so artists over the last couple of years to transform the space, perhaps to reinterpret its original charge in a modern light, perhaps just to ready the compound for commercial, cultural, and community pursuits of the owners.
Certainly the decaying spaces and austere aesthetic is inviting, calming, possibly frightening, depending on your associations. Now they are home for music, dance, theatre, film festivals, and artist residencies – often offered only in Catalan but some also in European Spanish.
As you walk through the spaces you are welcomed by these works by artists, many of them at one time or another categorized as Street Artists, whose voices now usher in a new era of contemplation and perhaps internal exploration.
Our thanks to photogapher and BSA contributor Lluis Olive Bulbena for sharing these images from El Konvent.
For more information about El Konvent please Click HERE
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
“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.
Portraits, characters, surrealistic scenes and a range of illustration styles all reigned at the Nau Bostik festival in the La Sagrera neighborhood of Barcelona this summer. Organizing the painted component of the festival were folks from the Open Walls Conference and Difusor in a collaborative program to bring a new cultural infusion of life to this former industrial center.
These walls are what stand long after the film festival, craft beer festival, conference discussions, food trucks, children’s dance program, photography exhibition and musical performances leave. Contrary to the image of Street Art and graffiti in the margins of society, in the case of these twenty or so muralists from a variety of backgrounds, painting in the public sphere is an integral part of the programming of a communities future, rather than a sign of its degradation.
We’re pleased that photographer Lluis Olive Bulbena shares some of the images he captured at Bostik Murals this summer with BSA readers.
It’s a cathedral of characters, this abandoned furniture factory forty kilometers outside of Barcelona. Cartoons, illustrations, portraits are everywhere; a curious collection of aerosol spray pieces that highlights the popularity of the animated and exaggerated personalities among graffiti and Street Artists in this region of the world.
The character may be a salty with a haggard stare, or reference a topic with a bit of satire. The scene may be serious, comical, ridiculous or purely sci-fi and horror. You discover the stories and allegories as you walk through the empty manufacturing rooms now flooded with natural light and dust. Expressions and situations here are full of drama that may trigger your empathy, startle your attention, elicit a shiver, or creepily fondle your funny bone.
Traveling Spanish urban photographer Lluis Olive Bulbena tells us that the economic crash of 2008 killed many factories like this in Spain and high youth unemployment drove many artists to adorn them with paintings like these. Because of the calm, serene environment of this particular ex-factory where artists roam freely and take long hours to complete these figures in the open air, the colorful forms may call to mind stained glass windows you see in more hallowed houses. Perhaps that is why Bulbena feels so moved that he’s christened this place “La Catedral” (The Cathedral).
We thank him for sharing these images from his latest pilgrimage with BSA readers.
Barcelona was known as a city at the epicenter of a bustling lively organic Street Art scene in the mid 2000s. Today that has greatly been cracked down upon by authorities but the Spanish city now boasts a mural festival called Open Walls, which celebrated its third edition last month with public works spanning a great number of influences and styles. Of course there is still plenty of autonomous unpermissioned Street Art to be seen as well.
This years’ interventions included new large format walls from Roc Blackblock, Ethos, Borondo, Zosen and Mina Hamada, and Mohamed Lghacham. Site specific walls included works by BYG, Enric Font, Sav45, Rubicon, Tayone, and Reskate Studio with Marina Capdevila and Amaia Arrazola. Boldly, the festival featured an open call to the first 20 respondents to paint a huge project together, effectively disarming any accusations of hierarchical favoritism or gate keeping.
Open Walls 2015 also featured a conference with speakers, debates, tours and workshops that expand the discussion of art in the urban environment beyond typical Street Art and graffiti fare. The academic and institutional world is gradually grappling with bigger questions around urban planning and public space as it pertains to art in the streets and formal art teaching is still broadening its consideration of an artist movement that started quite outside its purview.
Invited speakers included photographer Martha Cooper, graffiti artist and historian Jay Edlin, RJ Rushmore of Vandalog, Sergi Díaz (ICUB), representatives of the Madrid Street Art Project, philosopher Gabriela Berti, art historian Will Shank, and conservator Rosa Senserrich. The international and multidisciplinary program of professionals addressed issues regarding documentation, conservation, restoration, the history of Street Art, and its evolving role in the urban experience.
Here are some images courtesy of the festival photographer Fernando Alcalá Losa and of BSA contributor Lluis Olive Bulbena.
Summertiiiiiiiiiiimmme, and the living is eaaaaassssssyyyyy. Yessir, today is the first day of Summer here in New York and the longest day of the year – which means you can take a nap under a tree in the park or on your towel at the beach and still have plenty of time to play when you wake up. There are abandoned buildings to explore, murals to paint, wheat-pastes to stick, interventions to engineer, stencils to cut, selfies to snapchat, potato chips to eat, beer to swig. That couch by the window is calling me even now, the big temptress, as she does so often on these languorous days, induced by the heat. But I will not heed her siren song.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Bezt, Buff Monster, Dain, Dee Dee, Faile, Fra. Biancoshock, Free Humanity, Gold Loxe, Li-Hill, Natalia Rak, Okuda, Old Broads, Phoebe, Sophia Hirsch and Johannes Mundinger, and Simon Vazquez and Sebastien Waknine.