I wonder, what tours would you like to take after living for a while in a city? You have probably been to the historic tour, the bicycle tour, the tapas tour and so on. Believe me, it is just the very superficial level; to understand better Valencia’s personality, I decided to take a street art tour on a Sunday morning and it was fascinating. Moreover, when I mention street art, is a combination of two terms: graffiti (only signatures) and independent public art (artistic drawing).
A bit of history
This part is going to be quick. Our guide tour told us that the root of it generated in Philadelphia in 1969 and not in New York as people often think. At that time, in a family, parents normally had 2, 3 jobs and the biggest sibling took care of the smaller. That way, kids were out on the street and draw on the walls. The art traveled the ocean and got to Spain during the 80s, and the three first cities were Madrid, Barcelona and surprisingly, Alicante (not Valencia as it could be expected). However, Valencia was filled by Madrid tourists, so from 1985, the walls of our city started to be painted.
My impression and fun facts
- Some people said women did not know graffiti. Well, based on the history above, the girls would have followed the steps of their brothers to the street too, but with a better protection, such as dress up as a boy.
- By just looking at the graffiti tag, you can see that there is the fill (inside part) and the border. The less thick the fill, the more seniority the artist (which they prefer to be called writers). As you may notice, street art is grown in abandoned spaces in the city. In Valencia nowadays, many beautiful household buildings are decorated with stunning artwork.
- In society, everyone is placed at a level; so do the writers. The master is the best practitioner of the city, then the king/queen, the intermediates, and the toys– beginners. The master has his/her own space and can invite other people joining him/her in order to exchange ideas. The master in Valencia is Miedo12, in case you are interested.
- Have you ever seen two or more draws in one piece of wall? It is not because we run out of the free wall, but because the more skilled writers have the right to go over (draw upon) the existing graffiti tag. Nevertheless, the vice-versa action will not be accepted by the community.
- In street art, there is no gender discrimination. Our guide tour told us a story that when she asked a guy using the pink spray if that color was a bit girly, he responded that the bottle is 3€. It is all about art!
Examples and main artists
Hyvro: from Argentina, and her paintings most of the time dominated by black and grey colors and have a critical meaning, especially sympathy towards women. The first picture represents a woman climbed on two brooms; two possibilities: either she is a witch or she is trying to escape from reality. The second picture with women above and books below has shown a clear message: women reached education harder than men.
Julieta is a famous girl on the wall of Valencia. She is created by an artist called XLF. She has green hair and normally closes her eyes ( except in a few painting with open eyes). The second painting is called the dream, in order to support women with breast cancer.
How do we define a masterpiece? It when an artist can define perfectly the margin of his/her painting in a wall of many others. Probably, if we are staring at the picture for 5 minutes and still don’t get what is written, like this one below.
I hope you will start hunting the splendid graffiti work around Valencia. It is a very healthy hobby.