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Gaudí, Miró, Picasso and Dalí are the creative DNA that permeates Barcelona. They were also highly-skilled art rebels. This rebel-art culture manifests itself in the obvious world-renown architecture and museums but it also appears on entirely different canvases – the walls outside. Nearly everywhere you look you'll see some kind of street art begging for attention as if the city itself is a gallery to showcase their skills. And it is. Ever since the city cracked down on urban art and unsanctioned murals in 2005, artists had no other choice but to showcase their works on doorways and metallic shutters offered by supportive store owners - or just hit and run and hope for the best. It seems the city's plan backfired.
Urban art in Barcelona – particularly in El Born, Bari Gotic, El Raval – is highly considered, crafted and presented in such a way that it feels like it's an extension and enhancement of the their culture as opposed to a defacement. Even a lot of the ugly "tagging" somehow feels artful. The result is a mosaic of old, new, established and outside art all seamlessly blending together. And it works. Where else can you see an original Keith Haring on a wall and then turn the corner and see another amazing piece from "Whoa, who-the-fuck-is-that?"
As designers, we draw a lot of inspiration from street art (see our instagram) and surprisingly there are a lot similarities to graphic design and branding: hand lettering, color theory, communication and the list goes on and on. (We'll tackle that subject in another post.) In the meantime, get yourself to Barcelona to soak up the street art and a lot of wine - and hit a few museums while you're at it. ;)