Barcelona Street Art

The streets of Barcelona are loud.

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“They wanted to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.”  A powerful tribute to the 43 students who disappeared from the Mexican state of Guerrero.

But that’s even more true of Badalona, the neighborhood where I’ve been living for a month (has it really been that long?)  The train ride into the city is an awesome opportunity to see some really cool street art emblazoned construction sights along the way.  Plus, there’s this really cool piece, which mimics the Badalona train station just beyond the partition.

 

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Though the art is probably better out here in the suburbs (away from the restrictive laws of BCN), there are a couple walking tours that leave from the city center and explore the worthy pieces in neighborhoods like El Raval and El Born.

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Park in Poble Sec where street art is legal

Barcelona becomes a lot more beautiful once you learn to see the graffiti as art. Not just the murals (like the undeniably lovely work of C215 or adrenaline fueled pieces by Kram), but the abundant tags as well. Isn’t that a lot more fun that perceiving them as trashy or ugly, the way I think many people do? I can definitely vouch for the fact I wasn’t paying any attention until I ran across a message on the Couchsurfing forums about meeting up to do a wander and take in the street art. Now that I’m more dialed in, I’m spotting interesting pieces everywhere. As I type this, I can see a hit from one of the oldest Barcelona-based artists, El Xupete Negre, from my bedroom window. I doubt I would have even noticed it before.

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A tag is the most basic form of graffiti – a writer’s signature with marker or spray paint.

Even if you can’t bring yourself to see tags as beautiful, they’re at least an interesting kind of travelogue.  Through tags,  Barcelona’s meandering avenues chart the journeys of local nobodies and internationally renowned street artists. Tagging can be a way to claw back some meaning from unremarkable city streets. Or a critique of ubiquitous consumerist adverts. Or maybe it’s just a way of calling out to the universe to say, hey, I exist! – like Twitter.

 

Caravel Books

 

Speaking of self-aggrandizement, I’ve put up a link to a recent fiction piece of mine, “Blink.”  You can read more about my fiction here.  

I’m excited to announce that another short piece will be published on Friday in the Scarlet Leaf Review.

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