Inside Barcelona’s graffiti artist scene: A new generation of artists are thriving

Photographer Francisco Blanco captures Spain's graffiti scene

In the late 80’s Barcelona was one of the main locations for street art in the world. However, the vast amount of graffiti started to get out of control invading all sort of properties, which lead to prohibition. Since 2006 local legislation started regulating graffiti in public spaces and also limited artists from being able to decorating shop facades.

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credit: Francisco Blanco

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But things have started to turn around. In 2012 the project Murs Lliures (the free murals app) was launched in collaboration with Barcelona’s city council. This app currently allows artists, both local and international, as well as established and amateur to have permission to paint a specific section or an entire wall in Barcelona, resulting in a democratisation of art that is continuously changing, giving a new life to urban areas such as Miami’s Wynwood area. The app focuses on four main areas in Barcelona, one in Poble Sec (Jardins de les Tres Ximeneies) and the rest in Poblenou (Western Town, Selva de Mar y Agricultura).

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How Murs Lliures works:


Spain has more graffiti artists than many other countries. In Spain’s Architectural Digest summer edition, mural artist Nuria Mora states: “Of all the great names of muralist artists, 80% are European, and roughly 70% of those are Spanish”. So what’s changing the game for Spanish cities like Barcelona? It’s not only offering a legal alternative for artists to do their art, but also paving the way for the new generation of artists to come.

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Barcelona’s industrial district Poblenou is the main area of graffiti in Barcelona, and also home to La Escocesa and Hangar, two research and production centres of visual arts. These creative centres offer workshops, exhibition spaces and exchange programmes to upcoming artists to foster their professional development and assist them in their artistic career. Renowned artists such as Kenor, Miss Van or Sixe Paredes have showcased their latest murals in these places.

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So whether you’re an aspiring artist, a tourist fascinated by street art or just a photography enthusiast, Barcelona’s graffiti scene is a must-visit to feast your eyes on.

All images, photo credit: Francisco Blanco  @franciscoblancophotos

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