Monday, November 11, 2013

More Street Art in Barcelona´s Old City

For obvious reasons,this soulful portrait of an adolescent boy in the Gothic quarter caught my attention. His face and torso were the only patches of light and color on an otherwise ancient, gray street -- one of those streets that is so narrow the sun only makes contact with it when directly overhead.

Like a wildflower pushing up through an asphalt parking lot in the city of Chicago, this expressive work is fighting for the right to exist in a crowded, inhospitable environment. Funding for the arts, education and humanities has been slashed across Spain, but the social impact of such cuts is always more noticeable in urban centers, such as Barcelona.

I have seen the phrase¨art is trash¨ (used ironically, I think) graffitied on walls and doors around the city. Nowadays, with concerted efforts by politicians to not just defund, but actually remove the arts from educational programs across the first world, perhaps it is more apt to say artists are weeds -- pests that are hard to kill and here to stay. I, for one, am grateful.

Knowing that these street artists cannot be contained makes me happy. Some irresistable urge to create drives them into the street in the middle of the night with a bottle of spraypaint in hand. Whether the output is good or bad, that act alone takes guts. Oscar Wilde said, ¨Art is the most intense form of individualism that the world has ever known.¨ This begs the question -- why are so many powerful authorities so ready to defund the arts right now?

Other cool finds in the Gothic quarter. Materials used include stencils, spraypaint, stickers, and paint. Pick your favorite and let me know what you think.