THE BLOG
11/19/2014 11:51 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

As Street Art Turns to Public Art in Barcelona

Spain's Second Largest City Hosts "Open Walls"

A popular city for street art in the early 2000s that attracted artists from across Europe and elsewhere to its intimate doorways and darkened small streets, Barcelona has become less inviting to illegal painting in recent years due to an organized campaign to contain the freewheeling art and convert it into a respectable city to shop in. Like many cities now engaging the talent -- if not the transgression -- of this generation of renegade artists, there are other ways now appearing to help artists get up on walls.

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Madsteez. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

In October Difusor, a non-profit cultural association that works with the city, businesses, and the artists mounted Open Walls, a conference and mural program for four days that included installations/interventions, workshops and lectures from an international roster.

Included among the speakers were Todd W. Bressi from City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, mural conservator Will Shank and Leon Cullinane from Nuart. Artist represented were people like Escif, Alexis Diaz, Pastel, Joao Lelo, 310 / Stepan Krasnov, M-City and Madsteez.

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Madsteez. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

The resulting mix is wide reaching and good quality, and just when the palette is becoming too subdued and the geometry possibly municipal the wild acid royal canine court by Madsteez parries forth in a line kicking formation. Not everything is rainbows and butterflies; of note are the swarming drones by the Polish M-City, their insect-like bodies clustered madly together in a cloud of all-seeing killers in the sky.

For an "approved" roster of works the variety of styles represents what is happening as modern and contemporary art movements gain currency in the public art eye. Also, you can still check out plenty of illegal spots nearby and Barcelona still is popping with possibility if you know where to look for one of Miss Van's ladies, or maybe even an old C215 or Faile one-color stencil.

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Madsteez. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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Escif. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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Escif. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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SPOGO. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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SPOGO. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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SPOGO. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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M-City. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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M-City. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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M-City. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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M-City. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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Alexis Diaz . Pastel. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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Alexis Diaz . Pastel. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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Alexis Diaz . Pastel. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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Alexis Diaz . Pastel. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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Joao Lelo. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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Joao Lelo, Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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310/Stepan Krasnov. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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310/Stepan Krasnov. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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310/Stepan Krasnov. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

For more information on Open Walls in Barcelona, please click HERE.

Our special thanks to Nerea Rubio from Difusor for her expert help.

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