#1 Guide to understand the abstract urban art movement & scene in Spain

abstract urban art

Abstractionism has been with us since the early 1940s. It all started in New York City after World War II, and it rapidly spread over the world. Moreover, it evolved and we can even observe an abstract urban art movement not only in the United States, but also in Spain.

Similarly to what happens with other artistic techniques, art lovers pay enormous quantities to purchase different canvas. For instance, one of the pictures painted by Willem de Kooning entitled ‘Woman III’, hit the total selling amount of $137.5 millions.

What’s true is that when street art and abstractionism are mixed in a wall, there’s an incredible outcome! These are some of the most talented young Spanish contemporary art artists that you shouldn’t miss:

What are the main facts about abstract urban art?


Before we dig deeper into abstract urban art, there are several things that you need to know in order to become familiar with this form of expressionism:

  • The use of color, memory and visual sensation to show that reality is subjective to us.
  • It is classified as a visual type of art,
  • The most famous abstract expressionists had tragic ends,

However, Cooltourspain team members believe that there is a characteristic that stands out of rest. Please take into consideration the following statement for any street art essay:

The importance of color, lines and shapes (form)

One of the most important facts about abstract urban art is that it is not intended to represent images from our daily life. Oppositely to figurative art, it mixes different tones with curves, loops, ellipses and circles.

This expressive form of modern art allows artists to expand their creativity and personal interests in several formats. It is in their artworks where artists use coloured shapes of a geometric kind.

In order to paint over large murals, artists make use of electric elevators (also known as cherry pickers). Once they use a canvas, they take the whole space even with masking tape!

Who are some of the most relevant Spanish abstract urban art painters?

The street art community in Spain is formed by amateur and professional graffiti writers who share common interests. While abstract urban art is one of the techniques used by artists, there exists other styles with which they decorate the streets. For instance, muralism, paste-ups, stencils…

They decorate either with indoors/outdoors wet paint or with spray paint. Some of them even use acrylics or high quality markers to perform studio artworks.

It is common to see their paintings at street art festivals and post-graffiti fairs & galleries around the whole country. If you are interested in learning about the most famous events in Spain, please check the following link:

1-. Zoonchez, aka Ruben Sanchez

lines, colors and form by Zoonchez
Installation at Dubai D3 district based on lucid dreaming.

Sánchez is a self-taught artist with a strong, colorful graphic style that resonates through all of his projects. Coming from the cultural worlds of graffiti and skateboarding, Zoonchez is a self taught graphic designer and illustrator.

If you dissect his work you’ll find the avoidance of symmetry, lack of perfect proportions and vibrant color palettes. Moreover, viewers are challenged to depict his messages and concerns throughout characters and elements in fragile balance, but with strong interactions.

According to his portfolio, the visual balance, chain reactions and connectivity are always surrounded by a Mediterranean vibe, in a journey with no destination.

2-. Santiago Jaen ‘Chan’

abstract urban art by Chan
Graffiti mural painted at Metro la Salut – Badalona

He is a self-taught abstract urban artist & graffiti writer who was born in Barcelona (1979). It was in 2008 when he joined the Mac international group in Paris, and four years later Badinc , one of the pioneering crews in New York city.

What are Chan‘s most relevant characteristics?

  • Always looking for and investigating new formulas,
  • Influenced by the current state of the world,
  • Improvises the visual effects of colour,
  • Quotes ancient writings as The Sumerians’ cuneiform

Chan has participated at several European and Spanish graffiti festivals. For example, Kosmopolite and MOS, the global meeting of styles. To check more events around the world, click here!

3-. Rosh333

Muro critico festival, losar de la Vera
Colorful mural graffiti artwork for Muro Crítico festival at Losar de la Vera

This abstract urban art artist from Elche belongs to a lineage of graffiti writers that attracted the attention of the international urban scene at the end of the 90’s. Rosh333 stands out as an illustrator and designer.

Organicity is one of the most visible characteristics on his artworks. By experimenting with shape, texture and colour, he has found a style in which he develops complex schemes that form structures that he mixes and enlarges

Rosh generates compositions that dodge the very shapes of nature and their organic development to establish a dialogue with the audience in which the artist invites them to get lost aesthetically in the territory of his works.

4-. SrGer

abstract urban art in abandoned tunnels
Abstract urban art painted next to a highway

Sergio Sanchez is a master at scribbling techniques. His artistic compositions are a mix of textures, colors and shapes that are developed at several settings. For instance, you may find his illustrations & canvas artworks at different Spanish contemporary art galleries and abandoned warehouses.

Where do we come from? What are the artist’s inner goals? These are some of the simple questions that this abstract urban art artist from Sevilla asks himself.

Similarly to what happens with other artists who learnt from a personal connection with graffiti, Srger has evolved and keeps on practicing with different techniques and styles.

5-. JM Yes

abstract urban art by JM Yes
Painted wall in Lisbon, Portugal

According to Jesus Moreno, there exists a huge controversy between the graffiti and abstract urban art. That is to say, “haters gonna hate”. Is it common to observe graffiti artworks on sale at modern art galleries?

JM is a young urban artist from Madrid who studied fine arts at university, without knowing it he would develop an artistic career afterwards. He currently belongs to SR crew, a graffiti artist’s family who paints over several Spanish cities.

Mr. Moreno, also known as YES, respects the dialogue between art and the space. He transforms grey walls into colorful displays of geometric shapes. Have you ever seen any of his artworks in Madrid city?

Where could you observe abstract urban art created by international artists in Spain?

Luckily for the Spanish modern art industry, there exists several festivals and events organized along the whole territory. Abstract urban art is just one of the techniques that you will observe in different cities.

Whereas Madrid and Barcelona represent the biggest part of the cake, there are other rural and urban locations where street art has rapidly taken walls and facades.

Which meet ups would we recommend you to check after reading this article?

  • Contorno Urbano, Catalunya
  • Asalto, Zaragoza
  • Galería Urbana, Salamanca
  • Menidas do Canedo, Ferrol

Barcelona, a multicultural hotspot

abstract street art in barcelona
Artist: Sixe Paredes Location: Barcelona Photo: Marta nimeva nimeviene

Whether it’s the first time you visit our country, or you’ve came here previously, we would recommend you to spend a couple of days investigating about Barcelona’s lifestyle and cultural opportunities.

There are several neighborhoods which featured amazing graffiti walls, as well as commissioned artworks at store fronts. Walk over El Raval, Gotic or El Born districts to photograph abstract urban art and other styles.

We would defined Barcelona as a very multicultural city, with a great taste for culture and alternative arts. Do not forget visiting:

  • Bostik murals,
  • ‘Jardines de las tres chimeneas’ park,

Madrid, Spanish capital for abstract urban art

madrid street art
Abstract urban art painted in Calle Albufera, 76 (Puente de Vallecas)

Lavapiés and Malasaña are the two most famous hipster neighborhoods to be visited in the Spanish capital city. They are located within 15-20 minutes walking distance from the city center and offer a wide range of artworks painted on walls.

However, the Madrid street art movement is not only known because of them. If you’re interested in learning about the local culture and getting in touch with locally born citizens, then we would recommend you to visit Vallecas district.

It’s next to M30 highway where this abstract urban art wall is located. The artist is Sten Lex. Keep on investigating about this typical ‘madrileño’ neighborhood.

Cooltourspain’s opinion about abstract urban art

Our team members love walking around the streets with no specific purpose, finding new pieces of abstract urban art or similar styles. What’s more, we develop professional graffiti services in Madrid and the rest of the country.

Send us an email if you would like to update this list with other artists, or subscribe to our newsletter to receive weekly information about the street art in Spain.

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