Since the 1992 Olympics, the Catalonia capital has transformed into one of the most rejuvenated cities of our modern world. Between 1999-2005, Barcelona was overflowing with international graffiti artists and highlighted the Spanish artists trying to become noticed. It was considered the unofficial graffiti city of the world, the Golden Age of street art.
Since this transformation, the physical clean up of Barcelona has also taken over the city- graffiti and street art included. Many artists are disappointed with how the local government is taking away their public urban space artwork and are having to travel abroad to get their artwork noticed.
Because of this, Barcelona is bursting with stencil work, instalments of objects and pre-made artwork. Unless you create in the suburbs or have been commissioned on private property, your work needs to be efficient, otherwise you’ll wear a €3000 fine (yikes!) and the heart wrenching abolishment of your artwork (just not cool.)
But wait, there is light at the end of the tunnel!
After the well publicised death of Juan Andrés Benítez in 2013, the public cried out for more safe spaces within the city. Consequently, only open a few months ago, a large open space has been opened for the locals, with community gardens and an open air cinema. The walls surrounding the space are nothing short of a collaboration masterpiece by graffiti artists worldwide. Barcelona’s ‘fun, happy and childlike’ graffiti style has illuminated this quarter of the city and filled it with colour, bold statements, identity and safety.
So judge for yourself fellow graffiti street lovers. Will Catalonia’s graffiti artists always be second to the great Picasso and Dali? Has Barcelona lost its artistic identity? Or will these artists continue to inspire the Catalonian people and us, giving the city its vibrate character that resonates in every other aspect of its culture? Embrace yourself for the emerging beauty of Barcelona..
Thanks to Mike on Barcelona Street Style Tour for a brilliant walking tour around Barcelona….
“The street is a gallery in itself!”
Photos and Blog written for GraffitiStreet by our lovely Ozzy Jess Beavon, confirmed lover of street art and will travel anywhere to find it!