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Just on the heels of my previous post, imagine my surprise when scrolling through my Instagram feed when I saw that the Postman had made a visit to Barcelona. The artist has placed (according to response to my comment) around 30 pieces around the Raval and Born neighborhoods. Because of the heat, and limited time, I was only able to find the ones below, but I’m hoping the others last long enough until my next trip down.

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It’s been nearly a month since the last post, as this year I found myself bogged down between playing catch-up after a short trip to NYC, wrapping up two new university courses, and taking on some extra Cambridge examining. The images from this entry are from just that trip, which has become an annual pre- or post- Memorial day trip to New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

These pasteups all come from Freeman alley, a very easy-to-miss hidden gem, just off lower Manhattan’s Bowery.

The pasteups themselves come mostly from well-known artists The Postman (Warhol and Basquiat) and Sacsix (Danny Devito). I’m not sure of the artist of the partially-gone Kurt Cobain, but I’ll be sure to provide an update.

Next time you find yourself in lower Manhattan, I’d recommend you swing by the alley, as it’s always full of some interesting art.

Last Friday, I was heading toward the Barcelona airport to catch my flight to the US, I spotted this piece from TV BOY, which had been up for nearly a month to commemorate Sant Jordi’s day. April 23rd is the annual tribute to Sant Jordi (Saint George), who is the ptron saint of Catalonia. It is a day when lovers and friends alike gift each other roses and/or books. It is a festive occasion, and one of the first true rites of spring, a panorama of streets and plazas crowded with booksellers, and stalls selling the traditional roses.

There was a decidedly feminist tone to this year’s celebrations, with books about Santa Jordina as the dragon-defeating heroine.

The artist has used both protagonists of this new version of the story, but has added a more peaceful, and happier ending to the story.

Seeing this before boarding the airport bus was indeed the perfect way to say a short farewell to my adopted hometown and homeland.

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One of my favorite memes from the last 10 years was one called Bad Luck Brian, which was a photo from someone’s awkward teen years accompanied by text detailing some type of instance of incredible misfortune. While it’s long past its peak, it still makes me smile (perhaps because of my name). So imagine my surprise when walking the dog one night here in my neighborhood and seeing a shutter painted with a portrait of the gawky, redhead.

Interestingly enough, I uploaded the image onto reddit, and received a message from the real bad luck Brian, asking for the name of the artist. Unfortunately, there is no signature on the painting, so I had to leave the real “Brian” disappointed.2019-03-12 20.06.08

 

Here you’ll find some shots from two of the more central, and perhaps easy to find spots for urban art in Barcelona, the Parc de les Tres Xemeneies near avinguda Paral.lel, which is on the border between the ever-gritty (but overpriced) Raval and the recently-hip Poble Sec neighborhoods; and the Jardins de Walter Benjamin, which are just near the bottom of Montjuic, at the beginning of the road which leads to the Port and later the airport.

These are both part of the legal painting walls initiative, so artists have more time to paint, can do so in broad daylight, and have relatively little to worry about in the way of law enforcement interference. That said, the Parc de les Tres Xemeneies is frequently used for neighborhood events and is also a skate park, so it can also sometimes be difficult to work in peace, if that’s what’s desired.

There are also shots from the Arnau Gallery public art project which is on Paral.lel, and is always worth checking out when in the area.

There are various artists and styles in this batch of images, among my favorites are the tribute to the late hip hop star Craig Mack, and Peter Griffin from the Family Guy.

I will break my two-post monthly rule this month, though this time with an extra post.

Once again, the website and app Spotted by Locals has released their yearly list of Best Barcelona Blogs, and I have once again made the list.

I am in some excellent company, and I strongly encourage all of you to check out the link, even if you are a weathered, jaded BCN veteran.

Here is their main website: https://www.spottedbylocals.com/

And the apps: https://www.spottedbylocals.com/app/

It’s great to know that someone is actually reading these little tidbits, and appreciates the art as much as I do, as it is sometimes difficult to tell if I actually have an audience from my small, windowless office.

See you in April!

For this month’s second entry, I’ve decided to once again cross the pond, and highlight one of my favourite stops when in NYC. These photos are from the First Street Green Art Park, which as the name suggests is on East first street, near Houston (pronounced HOWS-ton), just on the border with the Lower East Side. It’s a community effort, and features new art nearly every time I visit. I enjoy this space, because many of the murals, in addition to being quite beautiful, also convey positive, optimistic messages. Something in short supply these days. There aren’t too many concentrated spots for street art in this part of the city; it is plentiful, but scattered. Here is the space’s twitter account, so you can keep up with any goings-on.

La Modelo was a prison located in the central Eixample neighborhood of Barcelona, and was home to many political prisoners during the Franco dictatorship, and also the site of many executions, among them the killing of anarchist Salvador Puig Antich in 1974.

I used to live just across the street and it was always an imposing structure, though usually strangely quiet, except for the occasional karaoke nights that would echo out from over the walls, which occupied an entire city block.

The prison shut down definitively in 2017, after 113 years in operation. It is now an open space, and is used for tours, civic events, and most notably its walls now serve as canvases for urban art. Below you’ll find a selection from a recent trip I made to the area, which is located here.

 

I had heard and seen photos around the net of some mural work at the Nau Bostik, a cultural center which is a converted factory at the edge of the Poble Nou area, the old industrial center of Barcelona. Due to time constraints, I hadn’t been able to make it until just before Christmas. I definitely recommend the trip, as they regularly have art markets and concerts along with other special events. Below you’ll find some of the art I encountered that day, including a character from Game of Thrones by well-known Barcelona artist Axe Colours.

 

After an absence of six years, from 2005-2011, I now make twice yearly pilgrimages back to the east coast of the US, mostly to visit family and friends, but also to reconnect with NYC. During these visits I generally stay in Airbnb flats in the East Village or Lower East Side. I do this mainly because I enjoy the atmosphere of those two neighborhoods, but also because they are both areas in which I am guaranteed to find a few hidden gems of street art.

Just near my Airbnb, on East 12th street, I found a mural that I had seen a few times on my Instagram feed, a huge portrait of young and older Michael Jackson. Doing a bit of research, I discovered that the artist was Brazilian Eduardo Kobra, and that he had made a trip to NYC and left 18 murals, some of them several stories in height all around the city. Here is a link to an article which also has a map showing the locations of all 18 murals.

I didn’t make it to all 18 sites, and most of the photos here are of murals in lower Manhattan. However the one of the firefighter and Einstein on a bike required me to make a trip (and no, my nose didn’t bleed) all the way up to East 50th St. But it was definitely worth the trek, as these two murals are immense, perhaps the biggest I’ve seen. The firefighter mural seems to attract the most attention from tourists. In fact, I was able to play tour guide to a group of Portuguese travellers, to whom I explained that the number “343” on the firefighter’s helmet was a tribute to the number of firefighters lost on the day of the 9/11 attacks. Of course I also encouraged them to head down to the East Village instead of Times Square, as the former is much more NYC than dirty Elmos and the M&M store will ever be. I wonder if they heeded my advice.