Barcelona’s avenues speak. Most streets tell us a story. They make the city alive.
While walking through Barcelona’s neighbourhoods you will dive into a world of various styles and messages, a subculture of diversity, colours and quality. It feels like strolling around an open air gallery that will never be fully discovered and that will never end. “Graffiti is a life force in a city, that says to every city, that says to every citizen, I’m alive, the city is alive. A city without graffiti is like a field without flowers.” (Prof. Greg Niemeyer, UC Berkeley). Barcelona is full of beautiful flowers.
All kinds of graffiti, stencils, stickers, tags and posters have been communicating messages in Barcelona since the mid-‘70s, the end of Franco’s dictatorship. A counter culture of amazing street art has been emerging remarkably during this time in Barcelona and Catalonia. Influenced by Parisian street culture and developments of music, especially from the United States, it offered an unlimited space for self-expression and creativity.
Around the turn of the century, Barcelona was seen as the “Mecca of Graffiti” and attracted therewith many popular artists from all over the world, trying to immortalise their thoughts and ideas on the city’s walls. Great local artists like Gola, El Xupet Negre, Eledu or Debens as well as international street artists like the Alice from Italy or the New Yorkers Enzo and Nio have been beautifying Barcelona ever since, mostly driven by the ambition of taking action, leaving a message and starting a dialogue.
It is not hard to hear Barcelona’s streets speaking! You will find messages everywhere, on every corner, on every shutter, on every wall. For example, all over the city centre you can see hacked street signs by the French artist Clet Abraham. Humorously, he tries to bring attention to the omnipresence of street signs in urban areas and their absurdity in certain situations. Or in Barcelona’s Gracia neighbourhood you will find quotes tied on trees that appeal to the human beings’ intelligence. A little bit off the city centre though you can observe artists at work in an artistic community near “Las Tres Chimeneas” and also the artistic production centre “La Escocesa” in Poplenou that assists young artists with their professional development is definitely worth a visit.
Let your self be inspired while exploring some great pieces of Barcelonan street art. Get out there, take a walk or grab a bike and open up your eyes! For some insider facts you can also check out bcn.travel for their alternative bike tour that is focusing on street art and other local spots off the beaten track.