Tuesday 26 January 2010

Miercoles revisted

A combination of too much work, too much curiosity and, ok I'll admit it, too much procrastination, has meant that this week's post is not what I intended. I will be away all next week and I am desperately trying to get various projects finished. And the intended subject for this weeks post has become mired in such an overwhelming mess of statistics, personages, and logistics that it isn't finished. Oh yes, and when I went to get some pictures my camera's battery ran out - which didn't help. But I asure you it will be worth the wait.

Last October I wrote about a neighbourhood that made me feel uneasy. I commented that even the somewhat stark graffiti felt threatening. With regular twice weekly visits I have become to feel more comfortable and found areas that while not the most pleasing on the eye, go some way to relieving my anxiety. And I received an e-mail from an ex-pat resident of the area who claimed I was being too hard on the place. He's probably right!

And I have revisited the graffiti and found that some is far from frightening. For instance, what indolent youth with his hat on backwards could have created this Christmas Card scene below?

And which menacing lout could have produced such beauty here?

And while I am not sure what this artist has been smoking, he obviously believes in angels.

You have to admit, the detail is quite amazing. And I will also admit that quite frankly the walls these works adorn would have been far uglier without the artwork. Hey, how about that - Graffiti as a public service. Who would have thought?

Even the lesser works show promise:

Ok, I know this is not even in the same league as the first three, but with a few strokes of the spray paint the artist has produced a comic book style portrait that conveys some emotion.

Actually, the alley where this public art is on display has now become a fixture on my route. I always have my camera because somewhere in this 'hood there are some people of real talent. Although there is still the odd menacing design, although I think the one below has a comic effect.

The foliage softens the impact somewhat, don't you think?

Wandering the streets of central Madrid there is one building where graffiti has been officially sanctioned.

This building is covered with curious scawls. So I was amused to see that a notice, just slightly out of picture in the bottom right corner, proclaimed the following

Which begs the question - where would they stick them.

Anyway, I beg my e-mailer's pardon. His barrio is not so bad. In fact it has some quite remarkable examples of modern architecture, which I will get to in a later post, once the statistically mired one I am working on at the moment is completed and I have returned from my week away.


  1. Excellent photos of some pretty darn good artwork, er, I mean graffiti. For those of us who only visit Madrid periodically, are you allowed to tell us where can we find such scenery?

  2. Just found your blog, love it! I used to live in Madrid and part of my heart will always be there. I'm homesick reading your posts but they are making me feel connected. Thank you and keep up the good work!

  3. Some of this stuff is brilliant. And the building where the graffiti has been sanctioned looks amazing. Is the other stuff illegal? Or will it be painted over in the coming months?

  4. @Jenny: Thank you for your comments.I try to do my best.
    @Andrew: Graffiti is illegal, but difficult to keep under control. So much of it is an eyesore, but there are a few talented "artists" out there. What I have shown here will probably be painted over by more graffiti in the coming months. I will photograph that too.

  5. Wow! Where is that wonderful graffitied building? (in the second to last photo)

  6. Tom and Nadya: The building with the "official" grafitti is in the C/de Orellana on (I think) the corner with C/de Campoamor. It's about three minutes walk from Alonzo Martinez metro.
    The other artworks are in the barrio of Canillas.