Pinta Malasaña! Paint Malasaña!

Sometimes during the night I hear the sound of someone trying to shake a spray paint can quietly. This is followed by the jarring chemical smell of that spray paint being transfered to the front of my building and sometimes the front door of the house.

Do I hate graffiti? Well, that question isn’t so easy for me to answer because yes, I hated for example the messy unartistic penis outline in bright yellow which lived on our house front door for months, and I dislike people who just write their name!

(By the way in my area of Madrid, which is called Malasaña, there is one word which is regularly painted – farlopa. I thought this was the name of some guy who was obsessed with signing buildings! Until I asked a friend who this F******* Falopa thought he was?!? My friend laughed because falopa was a name for cocaine and not a person. I still don’t get it! Why bother painting that in black everywhere?)

Having said all that, I do like graffiti -artistic, respectful graffiti. I often arrive a little late to my appointments because I am taking photos of some new urban street art.

My area is covered in graffiti. If you raise your eyes above street level you will see pretty balconies with red geraniums and plants and lovely arquitecture but at street level sometimes looks like a real dump. The style of graffiti can really change how a street is perceived.

On the 23rd of April 2017 I awoke at 8.30 to the sound of a shaking spray paint can  *a permitted-and-pre-arranged-by-the-area- spray can. A glorious blue sky and a Sunday free to go observe an artistic event in the streets!

This was what I saw from my Balcony:

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The ladies of @laruedainvertida and Owen from @instaklinisbut. Later I will show you their final work!

Pinta-Malasaña (paint Malasaña) is an event where urban artists sign up, are allotted a shop shutter, shop window or post to decorate.  The event was sponsored by the Mahou beer company, whose oringinal brewery was not far from here, Liquitex professional paint and a few local associations.  Local bars and cafes (that weren’t being decorated) created special menu deals for all the visitors for the day.

On the news they said over 30,000 people passed through our area on 23rd April 2017 to watch the painting and see the final results.  There was a great atmosphere with thousands of cameras clicking trying to catch the moment. I was also clicking away – so much that my husband started to wait across the street from me out of embarrassment! I also talked to some of the artists when they had a moment.

Everyone seemed to be smiling and the intoxicating smell of the paint felt as though it was sticking to my nasal passages, could that be the reason I loved the paintings so much? Well, I did have a lovely day.

Here are some of the works of art I saw in progress:

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Artists were using different methods – decoupage (sticking on paper), stencils, spray paint cans and paint brushes.

Sara Vidigal, the artist, was using paper with paint. Here is my mini video with her:

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You can see more of her art here.

I also talked to La__Castillo who was using stencils and spray paint.

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And Owen who I saw start work at 8.30 am!

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Here are some more of the paintings on shutters, shop windows, posts and even people:

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I loved this one!

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Daisy my dog wasn’t very interested but did kind of include herself in the category of artists!

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(Do not pass – artist’s area)

So was this graffiti? Or art? Or both?

I liked most of it. It was like a Fiesta on a Sunday!  Lots of colour, sun, interest and curious people!  Followed by lots of selfie addicts clicking their way through the streets. I think the day was a success. I was happy to be surrounded by this lovely art/graffiti!

But… unfortunately some graffiti addict -said with a disapproving look was out defacing the works of art that same evening and night. Black ugly writing all over some of the paintings that had taken so long to do. I would happily pour something unpleasant on them from my balcony.

I have decided that my problem with street art is – if it is without permission, making private property ugly then it is a problem, but if it is with consideration, respect and permission then I love it.

Ah, I have to show you the painting of the ladies from Laruedainvertida who were happily chatting and starting early that I saw from my balcony. Here it is: and it survives more than a week later still =)

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What do you think of urban street art? Is it the same as graffiti?

And even though I have used that word way too much in this article… what is good graffiti? 

And of course, here is my selfie!

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