Free Art: Exploring The Graffiti Of Barcelona

You could go to Barcelona and see Sagrada Familia, and the contemporary art museum and all of the Gaudi houses, but if you head to the capital of Catalonia and don’t take some time to simply peruse the streets and check out the graffiti, you’ll miss out on some of the best art and creative inspiration that the city has to offer.

I, for one, am not usually a fan of graffiti, but done well, it’s a form of public art. In fact, graffiti in Barcelona is as ubiquitous as spots to drink an outdoor cortado. Walking one day I noticed a huge art supply store, their main window display a collection of cans of spray paint.

Barcelona graffiti is funky, recognizable and oozing with a creative spirit that you are hard pressed to find anywhere else – well, except maybe Berlin. Make your way down any alleyway and it’s almost like you’re in a modern art gallery; plus, I don’t need to remind you that it’s free. Here, art is democratized, and you can see it on almost every street if you just look.

The best time to go graffiti scouting is outside of business hours, when stores have their shutters – common canvases on the Bracelona graffiti scene – pulled down. Granted, not everyone is a fan; a couple of years ago the city cracked down on businesses that were commissioning graffiti artists to paint on their shutters. Eventually, those works were even deemed illegal, and the scene moved to the suburbs. But there’s plenty of good graffiti to be found all around, and if you’re a fan of the independent art scene, and like a different way to get a feel for a city, plan for an afternoon or two of wandering the streets and seeing what works you can track down.


[Photo Credit: Anna Brones]