It only takes a short stroll around Valencia to realise that if there’s one thing the city’s got (apart from lots and lots of rice) it’s great street art. By no means an in-depth study, I’ve dug deep into the archives of my aging laptop -and even trekked around town with my trusty Nikon- to bring you a quick look at some of my favourite pieces.
Probably the first piece of street art that anyone new to the city sees is Blu‘s Moses with the huge beard of snakes opposite the tumbling car 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 likely that the first time you see the street art below you’ll be heading for a free shot after being captured by one of the dozens of waiters trying to get you into a bar or club. Do yourself a favour and go back during the day time to get a proper look!
Also on Plaza Tossal is Fasim‘s abstract and very cool «Stop War Victim’s Wall». Here’s a small part of it that channels a very Guernica vibe…
Just across the square, on the corner of Calle Baja, is this giant rabbit strangling a chicken by Italian artist Erica Il Cane. No, no, it hasn’t come straight from an episode of The Mighty Boosh. The rabbit’s foot in the paella dish might suggest that they’re fighting to the death in order to decide once and for all who is the tastiest paella ingredient. Makes sense, right? Photo by Jose Luis Gil.
Are you Dead? A bit of a deep question. But you’ll find yourself contemplating it more and more thanks to these artists’ love for bombing. The slogan, sometimes appearing alongside a skull, is often stencilled or pasted and can also be spotted around Benimaclet and Ruzafa. More info here and here.
It’s a hard feat to walk round El Carmen (or most of the city) without seeing a LUCE slogan. Wooden sculptures hang from lamp posts and dangle from derelict doorjambs, and it’s a rarity that you find a bajo shutter free from this artist’s very precise block lettering. Photo below taken in Calle Quart. More info here.
Any fans of morcilla in the house? Wander down Calle Maldonado in Velluters to see this tasty looking mural by Cere. See more of his (her?) blood sausages hidden in nooks and crannies along Calle Caballeros and Calle Quart. More info here.
Close by is more Escif, also located on Calle Maldonado, Velluters. Word of warning – if you head this way, be aware of the prostitutes!
Hyuro‘s work is often compared to Escif’s in that the satirical murals use clear, simple lines like in the example below found on Calle Quart, beyond the Torres de Quart (and technically not quite in El Carmen). Below left: Escif, Right: Hyuro. The little guy in the doorway belongs to David de Limon and he can also be spotted on Calle Caballeros.
Can we class this as street art too? Deep among the labyrinthine streets of El Carmen is a curious hidden gem, La Casa de los Gatos. This small house, which is about as tall as your knee, can be found on Calle Museo and has supposedly been accommodating local cats since the year 1904. More info here.
Right beside the house is this interesting plaque which marks the height the water reached after the Río Turia broke its banks and swamped most of Valencia in the infamous flood of 1957.
Remember to stop by Calle Cañete off Calle Quart – a dead end street with walls full of art. Check out the newest addition by Disneylexia below as well as a hommage to George Orwell.
More in El Carmen: Don’t miss the huge cat by Elisa Il Cane on the corner of Calle Alta and her huge horse on Carrer Sant Dionís. Look out for Lisa Simpson further down Calle Baja and wander deeper into the barrio to spot even more. If you’re looking for other things to do in the area, check out our sites and bars round-up.
As mentioned in my Spotlight On: Ruzafa article, artist Vinz Feel Free is one of the most recognizable street artists -if not the most, in my opinion- in Valencia. His almost nightmarish, pasted creations are often heavy in satire and feature naked women spliced with realistic birds’ heads. No stranger to the press, one of Vinz’s murals in El Carmen that was seemingly attacking the behaviour of local Valencian police made the pages of El País last year after policemen were filmed ripping his art from a wall.
Here‘s a recent interview with Vinz on Le Cool Valencia where he discusses subject matter and inspiration.
Julieta (below left) has managed to make it very difficult to walk through Ruzafa or El Carmen without encountering one of her positively Japanese-y paintings.
This charming nod to the ever-punctual Royal Mail can be found on the corner of Calle Dr. Vicente Zaragoza and Calle Emilio Baró. Are you trying to say something about Spanish Correos, pal?
If you’re heading to Benimaclet in search of more street art, visit Calle San Mateo – a small pedestrianised street with walls full of graffiti, just off Calle Puzol which leads off the Plaza. The work below is by artist J.C. Another place of interest is the beautiful, tiled fruit and veg shop on Calle Murta, which featured in Pedro Almodóvar’s film La Mala Educación. For an in-depth recopilation of street art in Benimaclet, take a look at Benimaclet art al carrer.
This stunning artwork spans the length of a whole building opposite Las Arenas beach. How’s your Valencian? Check out the hard hitting message about the plans to knock down part of El Cabanyal in order to make Avenida Blasco Ibáñez longer.
Calle del Pinet and Calle del Venerable Agnés as well as many small roads around Plaza de Patraix are home to a whole host of impressive artworks. Much like in El Carmen, the juxtaposition between the modern art set on a backdrop of old houses and cobbled streets makes the area all the more captivating.
All photos here are my own unless otherwise stated. For more excellent Valencian street art be sure to follow the StreetArtVLC Instagram account as well as giving NotHemingwaysSpain’s graffiti article a peruse.
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 lude daubings that you’d find lovingly scrawled, oh I don’t know, on the walls of Sheffield bus station, for example. You’re more likely to see polite, novice scribbles of «GUAPA» or «Te Quiero» on a Spanish wall – unlike in Britian where more often than not we’re treated to crudely drawn penises. However, let me just stop you right there for a second before we get too absorbed in this so-called superior Spanish street art. Just for good measure, here are some of the funnier examples of «art» that I’ve encountered on my travels…
Feel free to contribute if you think I’ve missed any worthwhile artists or pieces!
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