Street art in Barcelona was at its zenith during early 2000’s. Those days, it was very easy for artists to express on the street, there was no danger for judicial proceedings and artists could paint in broad daylight. This is how the city became an open air space for creation and attracted street artists from all over the world. The context has changed quite a lot since then: the artists can now incur fines from 800 to 1000 Euros and several tags have been erased. However, the ardor of street art continues illegally or behind back doors, turning Barcelona into a city where urban art is omnipresent. Artsper would like to offer you a little arty guide of the city!
The must-see neighborhoods for street art in Barcelona
Street art is present almost everywhere in Barcelona. However, there are neighborhoods which are more conducive to creation, and possess a significant number of works. The best quarter to see street art in the city is the Poble Nou quarter. A former industrial quarter of the city, the brick walls of shut-down factories are mediums for large scale artworks.
The eye of Waknine, 2016 ©Sebastien Waknine, Poble Nou quarter, Barcelona.
Born, Gothic and Raval are famous touristic quarters of the city which also offer several creations from emerging and famous artists. The narrow streets surely protect the artists. All you need to do is take a stroll in the city center along the narrow streets and discover art in the streets of Barcelona. Street art turns into a treasure hunt! In Raval, don’t miss out on Keith Haring’s fresco, « Todos juntos podemos parar el sida ». Created in 1989 by the artist who had AIDS himself, his art might have been removed but it was revived on the walls of the Contemporary art Museum of Barcelona in 2014.
Todos juntos podemos parar el sida, 1989 ©Keith Haring
Last but not least « Jardins de las Tres Xemeneies », a kind of public square of a former industrial site filled with frescoes, a high turnover rate, so much that one never knows what one could come across!
Jardins de las Tres Xemeneies
Leading street artists of the city
Pez, or El Pez, is a famous figure of the artistic scene in Barcelona. He began signing his signature on walls of the city in 1999, a signature which quickly turned into a fish with a huge smile, and then became his hallmark. Since then, his aura has traveled across the borders of Spain and one can find the artist’s works on walls of New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, Miami, Paris, Amsterdam, Oslo not to mention Bogota.
Originally from Toulouse, Miss Van evolved her art in Barcelona. She began painting at the age of 20 in 1993, which made her one of the first feminine street artists. Her unique feminine and dreamlike figures decorate several walls of the city.
©Miss Van, Carrer Lepant, Barcelona
Francisco de Pájaro, also known under the name « Art is Trash » or « Arte es basura », is an urban Spanish artist who evolved in Barcelona from 2009 till today. Traveling also around the world to create urban works on walls but also making use of wastes and abandoned objects on the street, the artist renews the way of addressing street art.
©Francisco de Pájaro, Barcelona, 2015
Street art Galleries and Events
Barcelona is overflowing with places and events devoted to street art, a living proof of dynamism around street art prevails in the city. Specialized galleries offer a selection of local and foreign urban artists. In particular, Base Elements Gallery, located in the Gothic, which is definitely worth visiting. Founded in 2003, it welcomes major street artists from Barcelona like Art Is Trash, Btoy, Pez, Zosen, Pezkhamino, El Xupete, Juan Pajares and Kram, to name a few. Street art fans will also be delighted by Montana Gallery in Born.
Base Elements Gallery
The heightened difficulty of doing street art in the streets also favored emergence of legal street art festivals. Recently, two festivals were celebrated in Barcelona. The “Mural festival of Escocesa” in 2012. It allowed 10 resident street artists of the creation center in Escocesa, located in the Poblenou quarter, to exhibit their creations outside. Open Wall Conference’s aim is based on a broader thought process, as they intervene in the urban environment through conferences, debates but also large formatted frescoes in the city, with the goal to promote the visibility of urban art.