Spanish street art ranges from stunning murals to gritty graffiti. It doesn’t matter if you are visiting Spain’s famous cities such as Madrid or Barcelona, or if you’re going to be exploring its lesser-known places, there is lots of art to be found.
There is no shortage of modern art and graffiti throughout Spain. This article will showcase festivals, events and other relevant information about the Spanish street art movement.
In order to investigate the local scene, I interviewed Javier Garcia, a young entrepreneur and English language teacher who observed that there was a problem in his hometown. He runs street art tours in Madrid for travellers who are interested in discovering Spain.
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Which museums do you recommend for visitors?
My country is rich in museums. For instance, I could easily recommend El Prado in Madrid, Guggenheim in Bilbao, or Dalí’s Museum in Figueres in Girona. These are all wonderful museums to visit. However, I have always supported the idea of free museums. Artworks that are available to the general audience in the streets and not hidden away in museums.
The post-graffiti movement to which I am referring is spread all around the territory. You will find it in both urban and rural landscapes. It’s there where emergent Spanish artists use walls, abandoned spaces and other buildings to create their art. While the majority of these works are developed with spray paint, they sometimes use other elements such as wet paint, stickers or wool artwork.
What are the most important contemporary art festivals in Spain?
The first and foremost important event in Spain, because of its long-standing activity and support of the street art movement, is Asalto. This international festival in Zaragoza’s old town is filled with avant-garde artistic proposals, collaborative, and impressive artworks.
Another amazing contemporary art festival is MIAU Fanzara, on the Spanish east coast. It’s near Castellón city. This mountainous town, with its 300 inhabitants, probably has the largest number of painted walls per resident. You should be ready to walk around the city to discover the most impressive painted walls. A walking tour is the best way to see all of the incredible street art. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes for this sightseeing tour of street art.
If you are travelling by car from Barcelona to Zaragoza, then I’d recommend you stop by Penelles in Lleida. This Catalan village became Europe’s street art capital. You can find TONS of art here. This rural and industrial town in the Catalunya area also features a street art event named the Gargar Festival.
What’s the difference between graffiti and street art? Does Spain prosecute graffiti writers?
Spanish street art varies greatly. Some people will identify these two cultural and social currents as approaches to art. Others will classify graffiti as pure vandalism. However, I do not consider any of them to be vandalism. I believe that one came as a consequence of the other. Did you know that the majority of street art artists around the world have a past related to ‘tagging’ and ‘throw-ups?’
There even exists a National Graffiti League in Spain, in which writers share their skills with the public audience. They do this at live events and commissioned walls. For instance, there’s Sea162, a contemporary art artist from Madrid who uses land pigments to develop paint at his studio. He even decorates quarries in the countryside that have been painted illegally. Totally incredible!
Some of these renowned artists are prosecuted because of their paintings in the streets. The female graffiti writer called Ruca Queen is one such case. She had to defend her “pussy fighters” in front of the municipal city council because of women’s discrimination. She stated, “Is there anything better than defending your own body?”
Feeling artistic? Don’t take to the streets for your painting. If you do, the fine ranges from 600€ to 3.000€. It will all depend on where have you painted and its cleaning costs.
What are the quirkiest spots for Spanish street art that you would recommend to an international visitor?
If visitors have the chance to drive around Spain in their own car, then I would suggest that they stop at the abandoned buildings found around the most important highways. It’s even easier to find them along secondary roads, including but not limited to former warehouses, dumped factories or even derelict ghost towns.
The best way to experience street art is to park your car and walk around the streets. Hidden around the next corner you could find some of the most amazing murals.
Have you been to Spain? And if so, did you notice an abundance of street art?
If you like street art and graffiti, you might like to read about 8 reasons why you need to visit colourful Cartagena. And if you’re local to the Vancouver area, you will definitely want to go on this unique train wreck hike in Whistler.