I have been meaning to write this since my daughter and I returned from SEVILLE and despite me asking her on a regular basis to send me her photographs of the city, it took a while but I got them in the end. Even so, I have only just got round to it. Obviously like mother like daughter so nobody to blame but myself!
My question is, “What do you think of graffiti”? Do you see it as a mishmash of wonky letters and weird images that only serve to make neighbourhoods look shabby or do you see it as an art gallery in the streets.
For a long time I only saw it as crappy, blobby, spray-painted vandalism, but then we went to Prague and on a walking tour learnt that graffiti wasn’t rebellious modern art but in fact dated back to both Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire when political statements were plastered into walls. I noticed some of it, not just the very old but the new as well, was quite impressive. A little later, we went to Barcelona and again rather than see graffiti as defacement, I began to appreciate the talent that was involved in the beautifying of an abandoned building making the place vibrant and aesthetically pleasing. It was definitely more artistic than a lot of wall-scrawl I had been accustomed to seeing when I lived in the UK.
It was in Seville that I was finally convinced that this form of art is more than a hit and run job for the budding artist with a can of spray paint and a stencil. (I understand stencils are popular as art can be produced quickly and easily where graffiti is illegal). Not everyone can be a Banksy or a Basquiat but seek and ye shall find: and I found some good paint, some pretty paint and some artistically pleasing paint in Seville; I don´t think this is the typical graffiti you normally find in cities but I could be wrong.
I was drawn to wandering the streets and alleyways looking for “artistic expression” and what I stumbled across was blocks of the most incredible murals under bridges, on the backside of the main bus station and on the side of tower blocks. I noticed that throughout the city centre, graffiti was on the shutters of shops so only seen at certain times of day when the shutters were down. In many cases while it may be provocative, bold and uncompromising it is also by the nature of its placement, a restricted expression of ideas and statements.
Seville is known as the cultural capital of southern Spain and the city council plays an active and unusual role by allowing graffiti in certain areas. They encourage young artists to utilise their talents by taking to the streets to create public pieces of art alongside Seville’s enviable collection of monuments, museums and parks.
For several years Seville council have run a competition painting recycle bins. This surely has to show that it takes amazing talent to produce breathtaking graffiti. You have to know what you’re doing to work out how to turn a flat painting into a three-dimensional one and at the same time indirectly promote recycling. Nice eh? Every council should arm their daubers or would-be artists with a spray can and send them to the nearest recycling site!
I am unable to credit the makers of the graffiti, apart from saying that whoever created them did a beautiful job. I was so impressed that when I feel like inspiration I look at ART CRIMES a website from where some of the images above are taken. The photos though while good don’t do this form of modern art justice – they really need to be seen ‘in the flesh’ to be fully appreciated!