We’re staying in Villa Crespa, several blocks south of the city’s trendiest neighborhood, in blocks made up of workshops, small bodegas, and I imagine, many stylish homes hidden behind run-down single-story facades like ours.
Our district is covered in tags, scribbles, and messages that make little sense to me. Not every surface is tagged to the height that it’s easy to hold a spray can like some cities I’ve been to, but most. In between the tags, there are stencils and the occasional paste. Less directed than what I recall seeing in Tel Aviv, which seemed, as often, paid-for branded advertising or stencils for clubs, it adds visual clutter to an already dense and crumbling street texture in our neighborhood.
On a much larger scale than anything I’ve ever seen are full-sized “murals” for lack of a better word. Not being part of the culture, I can’t say which ones are truly unexpected graffiti. I would guess that some property owners work with artists to get them up as a way to reduce the actual tagging. I suspect it’s a mix of both, given how complicated some of these large scale paintings are.
We’ve not visited every district in this large city, of course. Our district seems particularly rich in more complicated “art”. To the south of here, the city feels rougher and tags are on everything. Over near Victor’s parents to the east, there’s tagging but almost no art: a few stencils and that’s about it. By the park, even the tagging was nearly non-existent and the buildings had a polish, shine, and doormen.
This isn’t my culture, so there may be meanings in these I don’t understand. If any of them happen to be an artist someone recognizes, I’d be very happy to give credit where credit is due.