Thursday, September 12, 2013

Art everywhere

Graffiti.  For some people, the word conjures up images of no-do-gooders in hoodies, spray painting vulgarities and crappy "art" on other people's property.  And I will have to agree: a good portion of graffiti in large cities takes on the form of a crappy tag of someone's stupid fake name or a poorly drawn picture of a rat.  That kind of graffiti gives graffiti a bad rap.  In a sense, it lives up to its name.  Graffiti is the Italian plural of graffito, which means a scribbling.

However, there are artists out there who have genuine talent and can wield a spray can like a mighty brush.  It was lovely to see how spray paint art was incorporated into the mom-and-pop shops lining the tiny streets in El Barri Gotic in Barcelona.  Instead of leaving the metal grates unadorned when they closed up shop for the evening, these business owners decided to display their own graffiti to showcase what they sold or who they were as a business.  This can completely transform a street: instead of walking through a street surrounded with depressing, grey, prison metal doors, you are bombarded with a visual feast that makes your walk through the neighborhood that much lovelier.  Although the Picasso Museum was my absolute favorite repository of art, the streets of Barcelona came at a close second.

A Pharmacy in the Barri Gotic.

Eyeglass store.

Same store, different entrance.

One of my favorite places in Barcelona.  They served the best, thick hot chocolate. 

We were lucky enough to happen upon a guy doing a piece for a local food store that specialized in Spanish meats.  Here he was applying sheep stencils to his art.

An impromptu art lesson for Des on our walk.  We point out graffiti all the time to Desmond and call it art.  Even if it's horrible graffiti, we still call it art because c'mon, how many of us are really that artistically talented?  If Des is going to give me the crappiest picture ever drawn of me, it is art.   What we need to teach him as he grows older are meaningful ways to display art so that it isn't destructive or offensive.

Des was a walking canvas, too!

A glove shop that also sold "complements," like fans.

For the most part, art that was professionally done and commissioned by store owners was usually left intact. However, there were places that had their professional art ruined by young and inexperienced graffiti artists, which is a damn shame.

We love going to new cities and seeing what kind of art we could see for free.  Currently, we are in Amsterdam and they have this amazing "art walk" that takes you into a neighborhood where beautiful, colorful sculptures are strewn about.  However, Des has always been more interested in street art and would prefer to look for graffiti than to enter an art museum.


  1. So, has anything happened since this post? It used to be a good way to keep up with events I didn't hear about elsewhere or via other means.

  2. Graffiti is the Italian plural of graffito, which means a scribbling.