Prats de Lluçanès, Manlleu, Sant Julià de Vilatorta, Sant Bartomeu del Grau, and Alpens
Here we have more examples of city meeting rural, traditional meeting Stylez, countryside meeting contemporary, local pride meeting international flavor. In part II of our report from October/November’s Osona Artimur Festival, photographer and street art/mural art expert Fer Alcalá observes that putting together a wide-spread event like this is complicated and rewarding, somewhat like managing the United Nations General Assembly every September.
“The fact is that looking for walls outside the big cities can be an alternative solution for artists and cultural managers due to the difficulties that can be found downtown Barcelona,” says Alcalá and colleague Laura Colomé in their description of the massive event. “The rules about architectural aesthetics, the shortage of legal walls and the strong rivalry make managing big events of this nature a very hard task to do.”
Nonetheless, the community spirit and lust for communicating through art-in-the-streets show in the quality and range of works. The modern world may be awash with a sense of chaos, wonder, and mystery in ways we didn’t imagine; it’s precisely why we need to be outside talking about art with each other to contemplate and process the changes in the context of our collective history.
“Rural contexts become new places for researching, innovation, and promoting art,” they tell us. “It’s fair to say that Osona Artimur festival brings new horizons to art in the countryside of Catalunya and these five pioneer villages.”
Invited artists: Zoer, Ana Barriga, Satone, Nano4814, Luogo Comune, Isaac Cordal, Rosh, Alberto Montes, Jan Vallverdú, Marta Lapeña, Eloise Gillow Artists selected by open call: Twee Muizen, Sergi Bastida, Wedo Goas Artists working on participatory processes: Daniel Muñoz, Chu Doma, Alessia Innocenti, Mateu Targa, Zosen
Artist couple Twee Muizen (Two Mice) complete a new mural for a scientific environmental organization.
20 meters of the mural has just been completed that organizers say celebrates science, art, and the International Day of Women and Girls in Science in Barcelona, which is next Friday, February 11.
The center itself has a long name, so let’s get that out of the way first: Instituto de Diagnóstico Ambiental y Estudios del Agua (Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research), or IDAEA-CSIC for short.
Artist couple Twee Muizen integrated all of the ideas collected from an extended work session through a participatory process between IDAEA staff to decide what themes and symbols needed to be included in the multi-paneled work that welcomes visitors to the center.
“We had scientific, technical, administrative and maintenance staff,” involved in the process, says Alicia Arroyo, project coordinator. In collaboration with the urban art project called B-Murals and funded by the Barcelona City Council.
Barcelona-based duo Twee Muizen (Cristina Barrientos and Denis Galocha) are now working professionally in their ninth year and are originally from Galicia. The two both grew up in towns near Santiago de Compostela surrounded by mountains, animals, and natural beauty. Full-time illustrators and doll makers with a workshop and gallery in Sant Pere, the two interpolated into this mural the IDAEA goals of integrating themes of natural resources, air, water, their molecular and chemical aspects, and the impact of human interactions with all these systems.
“This project arose from the need to raise awareness on the importance of the work and research we carry out at our center in a visual, approachable way and with an innovative format”, says Diana Blanco, coordinator of the project.
To enjoy the mural in-person visit the IDAEA-CSIC facilities at c/Joan Obiols, 11. 08034, Barcelona.
The Asalto Festival celebrated its 16th edition this past December 2021 in Zaragoza, Spain. With 300 artists over the years and Covid threatening to make it stop, somehow Asalto still came back strong – focusing on murals on a more human scale and on involving the community in a direct way.
Participating artists were Asis Percales, Berni Puig, Dani Hache, Ecosaurio, Letsornot, Maite Rosende, Mina Hamada, Nelio, Olga de Dios and Twee Muizen. Each artist appeared to create murals that are more on an intimate scale, perhaps just large enough for you to encounter with a friend, rather than 300 friends.
Organizers said one of their goals was for “artists to treat the history of the neighborhood of the Arrabal de Zaragoza and the relationship with its people with great sensitivity, as well as the structure and dimensions of the environment and its historical structures.”
The festival is well regarded, has received many accolades and awards, and is sponsored by the city council, some foundations, and a few commercial brands. In addition to the painting of murals the festival hosts workshops, education classes, and tours with citizens and visitors. One particularly unique program pairs Spanish artists with local citizens “to create unique works inspired by their stories.”
Today we have just a few shots of the new murals and artworks created for Asalto 16th Edition.
A new sharply political campaign championing the freedom of expression has caught fire in Spain in the last few weeks under the hashtag #NoCallaremos, and Street Artists are now adding their talents to the protest. Rather shockingly for a modern European nation, a rapper’s prison sentence for offensive lyrics was upheld in Spanish Supreme Court in February (Billboard) and that decision along with other recent events has sparked a number of creative protests across the art world in cities across the country. Today BSA contributing Street Art photographer Fer Alcalá shares his opinions and new images of the murals in progress with BSA readers.
THE NO CALLAREM PLATFORM
~ by Fer Alcalá
…or how some of Spanish top artists react against censorship and repression of the freedom of speech from the central government…
It’s now known worldwide: the Spanish government is imprisoning hip hop artists like Valtonyc and Pablo Hasel because of their sharp and truthful lyrics as well as sentencing people like you and me because of their critical posts on social media.
As a reaction to these acts against the freedom of speech that are more in tune with a well established dictatorship than with 40 years of democracy, some projects like the No Callarem (we won’t shut up) platform have raised their voices.
One of the direct actions organized by the platform for fighting against Partido Popular’s civil rights oppression was to film a video clip featuring some of the most renowned lyricists on the scene as Frank T, Elphomega, Los Chikos del Maíz, La Ira, Rapsusklei, and César Strawberry, among others, at the old La Modelo prison. The location is an accurate metaphorical scenario when you are seeing that your liberty is being cut off thanks to laws like ‘Ley Mordaza’.
The song ‘Los Borbones son unos ladrones’, which alludes directly to the Spanish monarchy, includes some excerpts from some of the songs created by rappers serving a prison sentence. The video clip for the song, which you can watch at the end of this article, has become viral and almost all media outlets in the country are speaking about this big shout-out in the name of freedom.
I was invited to witness the filming and painting session by local artist Javier de Riba, from Reskate Studio, who invited some fellow artists to paint at La Modelo walls as a part of the whole process. Franco Fasoli JAZ, Twee Muizen, Txemy, Joan Tarragò, Enric Sant, Milvietnams, Werens and Fullet gave a new voice to the walls surrounding that backyard, providing 2D images that perfectly matched the spirit behind the beats and the rhymes.
This is what Javi has to say about his collaboration with the project:
“Our involvement with No Callarem happened thanks to the Catalan rap artist Pau Llonch. He lit the spark for recording a clip against the Valtonyc and Hasel sentences. They wanted to do it at La Modelo no matter what and the No Callarem platform supported the action. We helped to spread the word for putting together a team with different languages together to visually enhance the video clip.
At the beginning, was what meant to be an ‘atrezzo action’ turned into a bunch of pieces that can be visited in the backyard of Gallery 4. In fact that backyard is not open to the public, but you can see it from the watch guard pit. We think that, from a conceptual point of view, it’s very powerful to keep those pieces locked – especially when thinking about how things are going in Spain regarding freedom of speech.”
Additionally it’s worth mentioning Reskate’s initiative about shouting against the suffocating atmosphere that we are experiencing here for some time: ‘Our idea is that every artist post one piece / illustration / painting / picture (old or new) supporting our initiative promoting freedom of speech in order to criticize the lack of democracy within the Spanish government.
Some of the hashtags that we will use are #NoCallarem #EzGaraIsilduko #NonCalaremos #NunVamosCallar #NonCararam,#NoCallaremos being the main one.
Visual artists from Madrid, Zaragoza, Almería, Oviedo, Valencia, Vila-real, Barcelona, Bilbao, Valladolid, Tenerife…are supporting this initiative. Some of them are: Malakkai, Escif, Paula Bonet, Aryz, Ricardo Cavolo, Enric Sant, Twee Muizen, Franco Fasoli, Hyuro, Javier Jaén, Boa Mistura, Conrad Roset, Jordi Borràs, Danjer, Cinta Vidal, David de las Heras, Juan Díaz-Faes, Chamo San, and Marina Capdevila, among others.
La Semana por la Libertad de Expresión (Freedom of Speech Week) is happening now, with different activities taking place all over the country. The funds raised from these activities will go to a resistance fund for the platform in order to defend all those people chased and brought to justice because of censorship and repression. You can check the whole program of the week HERE.
So, yes: we have a fight going on. Comedians, actors and actresses, musicians, journalists, visual artists, the guy / girl next door who is active in social media… It’s kind of a Russian Roulette game where, if you are critical with the established system and you are using 3rd grade humor as a weapon, you can end in jail. And all of it is happening in a country whose government is accused of being the most corrupt on the whole continent.
I have a very well informed friend who has been kind of disappointed with the absence of critical vision and combative behaviors from most of the big names in the local street art / graffiti scene. Thanks to initiatives such as No Callarem and the impulse of people like Javi de Riba, she is reconciling herself with this small, but powerful little world whose images have the strength for making important things happen.
Finally, I’d like to recommend that you check the publications under the hashtag #nocallaremos that are out, as there will be some fine and unique art being produced for the occasion in the upcoming days.
As it’s being said in Los Borbones son unos Ladrones:
– rap music is not a crime
– we need scratches, we need paintings
– I don’t dream about Versace, I dream about barricades
– …because of the poetry that still sleeps in the ditches…
Big props to Javi de Riba, Xavier Urbano and all the artists behind the No Callarem movement.
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.
Somewhere between celebrity and anonymity sits the Street Artist, depending on their wishes and fortune. We always feel lucky to see the artwork first anonymously on the street, because it needs to stand for itself, free of the passerby’s association with their knowledge of its author. Later, when you are in the presence of the artist with their work, the relationship you have with it is permanently altered. If you have established some trust, you also can learn so much about an artists relationship with the physicality of their process of art-making; the posture, the breathing, the gesture, the distance.
Photographer Fernando Alcalá Losa has made it a focus of his own art practice to notice the small and the great aspects of the artist’s process and captures important details that allow the viewer to understand the dynamics and relationship between an artist and their creation. In December on BSA he wrote,
“It’s about being there, right there, feeling the energy of creation. It’s about intimacy, about detail, about the personal connection with the artist, because you were able to be that close. And not everyone can be that close, that’s for sure…
I’m grateful for having the chance of living these moments of proximity, knowing that those artists that you’re shooting at trust you and allow you to be there, right there.”
Today on BSA we’re pleased to present a very rare collection of Fernando’s images that tell just these stories, these primary relationships that are in alignment with the life of a creator; a struggle, a dance, a wandering journey of discovery, a spirited production, an execution of plan. All of these aspects and more can be seen, and sometimes captured by the artist behind the lens.
“The Intimacy Project”
Fernando Alcalá Losa
Some weeks ago, I read a post from someone on Facebook saying that the figure of the artist wasn’t important, saying that the piece was the only relevant thing in fact.
It sounded funny to me because there’s no artwork without the artist, but I understand what was meant, although I disagree from a photographic point of view. “The Intimacy Project” is an idea that has been in my head for some time and it has been developing in parallel with my evolution as a Street Art photographer.
When I started to interact with artists, I was kind of obsessed about keeping the distance, physically speaking, and about not disturbing the artist. As time went by, I began getting closer to everything; not only to the wall, but also to the person who paints the wall. I became more confident, always trying to be respectful and operating from my best intentions – and I continue doing this today.
“The Intimacy Project” is about the person behind the artist, about the human side of the creative process and about what happens from a close up view while a piece of art is being produced.
It’s about gestures, expressions, obsessions and techniques. Because the artwork, the final result, is important, but the human being who creates it is also important for me…indeed…