Valencia’s old town is awash with graffiti and it’s hard to walk down its winding alleys without encountering at least some form of captivating street art.
The renaissance of street art in Valencia can be largely accredited to the artists Escif and Hyuro, both living and using the city as their urban canvas. But like many great projects, this is very much a collaborative effort, with a lot of artists flocking to Valencia from around the world to showcase their work in the form of stencils, spray paint and stickers.
Murals in all shapes, sizes and styles can be found in high concentration in El Carmen, an area of the city that is north of the Old Town and home to some great bars and restaurants.
There is a lot of empty buildings in Valencia which makes it easier for street art to flourish, and at the same time – graffiti. If you’re wondering what the difference is, I’m no expert, but I find street art positively adds to the city by inviting visitors to the cityscape through imagery and ideas – it opens a dialogue – it provokes you to ask questions , or simply provokes a smile. Street art also often uses different mediums, whereas it is usually only the practice of spray painting and it does not seek to engage, it seeks to perplex.
The idea of community engagement is what I admire most about street art, there’s an understanding of it that has its best has a transformative social effect. This effect can be seen in cities like Berlin, Lodz and Reykjavik which has a creative vibe that can be used as an urban space. Moreover, the ephemeral nature of street art can be extremely current, rolling with popular culture, whether it is depicting political messages or merely offering a slice of local culture.
It only takes a short stroll around Valencia to realize that it’s one of the city’s things.
Probably the first piece of street art that is anywhere in the world is Blu’s Moses with the huge beard of snakes opposite the tumbling cars on the corner of nightlife hotspot, Plaza Tossal. The car, by native Valencian Escif , has a recognizable style that makes his work very easy to spot when wandering through the city. His works are often simple and soaked in satire, and are also prominent in Ruzafa.
It’s possible that the first time you see the street art you will be heading for a free shot after being captured by one of the dozens of waiters trying to get into a bar or club. Do yourself a favor and go back during the day to get a proper look!
David de Limon
The little guy in the doorway belongs to David from Limon and he can also be spotted on Calle Caballeros.
I’m sure you’ve seen this little guy hiding in nooks and crannies in El Carmen and over the past year in David’s increase in Limon’s ninjas. These simple, balaclava-costumed figures -often life-sized and wielding can-paint-seem to have invaded the city, forming an integral part of the urban landscape.
David de Limón presented his vibrant art in Valencia from Friday 23rd October until Saturday 7th November in Espai Russafa, a multipurpose art space in a popular district of Valencia.
I’m sure you’ll agree that, judging by the superb street art seen in this article, Valencian graffiti is much more pleasing to the eye than the lewd scribbling that you’d find lovingly scrawled. You’re more likely to see polite, novice scribbles of “GUAPA” or “Te Quiero” on a Spanish wall . However, let me just stop you right there for a second before we get too absorbed in this so-called superior Spanish street art.