The streets of Barcelona are loud.
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.
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.
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.
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.