No visit to Barcelona is complete without a good, thorough ogle at street art. From this collaborative work by Cranio and El Pez in Tres Xemeneies Park aka Grafitti Park to stealthily drawn squiggles on alleyway walls in the city’s Barro Gotic, Barcelona’s street artists are continually re-inventing the genre.
Street art is a cross-over art form, and many artists who honed their skills with spray cans, stencils and paste-up work in Barcelona and elsewhere are now showing in the art galleries of New York, London and other world cities. The practice of “tagging” and adding to works already there, as well as the ephemeral nature of most street art, can make it hard to distinguish the art from from graffiti.
My previous post– Barcelona rocks street art-then and now–looked at Barcelona’s long history of street art. Now, here’s a look, in non-judgmental alpha order (and including the Cranio and Pez piece at the beginning of the post), are installations I especially enjoyed on a visit last spring to the Gothic and El Raval Quarters of Barcelona. I highly recommend seeking out the works of these talented artists.
Andrea Michaelson, who works professionally as Btoy, is intrigued and inspired by strong women, from early flappers to the present day. See a great interview with Btoy here!
Christian Gwemy, aka C215, is a Parisian street artists who produces vibrant, highly intricate pieces. Many are intimate portrait-like images, in which ordinary people are treated as icons. C215 is sometimes called “France’s answer to Banksy”.
Invader describes himself as “an unidentified living artist”, aiming to “invade” densely populated urban areas with pixelated tile installations. Relatively small in scale, the tiles add a pop of color to otherwise drab surfaces. Invader maps and scores his “invasion waves” on his website. He was in Basel two years ago, and left several tile works on walls around town. Has Invader been to your city yet?
Onegizer Konair’s partially eaten ice cream on sticks are all over the place in Gracia, sometimes as singles, or grouped on a door shutter in a fanciful group like this, and at other times showcased side by side with the work of other artists. For a look into this artist’s imagination, check out Konair’s Instagram feed!
The paste-ups of street artist Momo feature vivid colors, and almost-but-not-quite recognizable faces.
The “Art is Trash” works of Francisco de Pajaro are created on various forms of waste and discarded belongings, each one signed with a small fly doodle. Created on the spot, Pajaro’s art is more ephemeral than most street art, with bystanders often waiting to cart off a new piece, soon after the artist leaves the scene.
The street artist Zone has inscribed his messages of peace around town, each signed with the letter “Z”. Termed Bombing Art, the works vary in size, and some are more menacing than others.
In Barcelona, the canvas is the street
Graffiti | Street Art
In an issue of Women on the Road, the question was posed: Graffiti |Street Art – Do You Love It or Hate It? My answer: I love it!
If you go
Consider the observations (and maps) of writers and photographers who’ve already been there, to make your personal journey of discovery a bit easier!
- Check out our previous post, Barcelona rocks street art-then and now, for a bit of history.
- Street Art Barcelona publishes news about the Barcelona urban art scene and more. It’s a great way to learn about new walls and installations elsewhere by Barcelona street artists.
- Brian of Barcelona Street Scraps has a very informative blog, with entries based on his personal meanderings around town. Look here for his latest observations of new installations.
- For a useful introduction to locations and names of some of the artists, check out Street art tour of Barcelona, a three-part series from UrbanKulturBlog.
- Go deeper with a tour, such as the one I took with Cayetana of Trip4Real. You’ll get a history lesson while strolling hustling past all sorts of art, old and in-the-works.
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I was a guest of Trip4Real and Barcelona Tourism for our street art tour. Observations are my own!
I loved Barcelona and I loved its street art. I did not explore it as seriously as you’ve done – just enjoyed whatever I saw as I passed by. If I were to visit the city again, I would do a more deliberate seeking out of the art and possibly a tour. The vibrancy and complexity of Barcelona’s street art is amazing.
Wandering around and discovering Barcelona’s street art on your own works, too! Still, I’d highly recommend a tour if you want to know about the artists.
Love the Momo street art! Reminiscent of Peter Max!
Hadn’t thought of that connection, Rachel, but I love it too!
Looks like Trip4Real does a great tour. Although much of Barcelona’s street art is hard to miss, I’m sure there are gems like these that I might not catch know where to look. Love the Amy Winehouse tribute. A shame about the tags on the Whitney Houston work, I think.
The tour was really good, Cathy, lots of detail I would never have caught on my own. I agree about the tags, which to me, kind of takes the street art over the line to graffiti…but it seems to be a common practice.