24 must-see artists at Muros Tabacalera street art festival

Panoramic Muros Tabacalera

Muros Tabacalera is a street art festival organized by MSAP, which aims to recover the walls that protect the 16,000 square metres old Tobacco factory in Madrid’s city center.

Each edition of Muros Tabacalera has had a common topic on which the artists are invited to base their works on. This was the list of street art artists who participated at this year’s edition:

  • Ammparito
  • Boa Mistura
  • Gviie
  • Yksuhc Juan
  • Spogo
  • Mazilax

2019 has been the year of the 3rd edition of a Festival that allows twenty-four, both local and international artists, to share their art with the city, visitors and neighbors alike. 

This year’s edition is “Azar”, which seems to be a word with different meanings in different languages.

List of local artists participating at Muros Tabacalera 2019

Patricia, one of our social activists, surfed the net to compile information about local street art artists who contributed to Muros Tabacalera.

1-. Ampparito, from Lavapiés to the world.

Ampparito's picture by Madrid street art project

Born in Madrid in 1991, Ammpparito is a fine-arts trained who turned to street art due to the lack of artistic opportunities.

Ammpparito’s pieces really catch your eye.

His use of bewilderment as a tool to get the audience’s attention is what makes his work so appealing. Among other themes, we can see:

  • images in apparently preposterous locations,
  • out of the logic order of things,
  • the heritage of a generation raised with technology.

His pieces can be seen in different parts of the world such as Dubai, New Zealand and Norway. 

2-. Boa Mistura, art crew from La Alameda.

Destino is the word writte by Boa Mistura

If you are level expert street art fan and you know your way around the iberian peninsula, then you are very likely to have heard about the collective of artists called Boa Mistura.

Commonly thought to be portuguese / brazilian because of their name choice “good mixture” but this collective resides in Madrid and they are veteran in filling the streets of different countries with their message.

Can you figure which are the letters that configure thes word in the picture above?

  • D
  • E
  • S

3-. Gviie, illustrator & muralist.

Gviie

This young man’s work is spread across the Spanish capital, taking his art to peripheral areas for every citizen’s enjoyment.

But lucky for you travallers, you can admire his art on the centric roundabout of Embajadores.

Have you heard about how political street art can be?

Gviie represents mostly torsos and bodies that talk about daily life problems and events that makes us who we are and what we face as human beings. 

  • The conflict between Uber and official taxi drivers.
  • Migration/immigration issues

4-. Yksuhc Juan, street art & graffiti style.

Yksuhc Juan

If you want to be able to pronounce the first part of this artist’s name out loud you have to forget how to read for two seconds, and actually do it backward.

  • CHUSKY,

Also known as Juan Martinez, a very prolific artist who amazes us in his work taking part in Muros Tabacalera festival talking about a very intense but necessary topic.

In a Goya’s black painting style, Juan talks about the side B of Randomness:

  • Uncertainty.

wo situations that talk about uncertain futures, the process of fertilisation and the perils trip that thousands of human beings coming from different conflict zones in undeveloped countries would be willing to do looking for a better future.

Patricia, Cooltourspain

It even seems like the colour palette election is is also taking care of this situations in a serious way.

What colours would you choose to talk about a concerning topic like this?

Yksuch dediced to stay in black and white. 

5-. NSN997, ‘madrileños’ already.

Local artists for Muros Tabacalera

If you have been spending your days walking around the alternative neighborhood of Lavapiés, you will very likely come across pieces of this italian collective of artists.

NSN997 are a group of four artists from Naples, Italy.

They have been working together since 1997 and their pieces are always black and white representation of people of different ethnicities.

This b&w portraits of different people show the artists’ ideal of a society that is solidary with one another and that cares about everyone’s well-being.

NSN997 are also members of El Keller. An artist’s workshop whose studio you can find in the inside of La Tabacalera, a recovered tobacco factory from the XIX century.

6-. An Wei, making it to the modern art fairs.

An Wei from Madrid

An Wei is a madrilenian artist who already has a career going on as an international artist.

According to his words, his painting is the mean to express his emotions.

His art aims to be a window to other dimensions, and his interests explore  the charm of daily objects. He then turns these everyday objects into poetic expressions of his translation of reality.

Something that will make you curious is the way his work tresspasses the limits between art and reality, or call it Barroque art Trompe-l’œil” (“deceive the eye”).

Even though in this specific scenario we can appreciate him as a muralist, An’s art can be seen in canvases, squares, walls in cities and even in billboards in seem-to-be secret roads.

National artists representing the street art community at Muros Tabacalera

The festival’s organizers invited a wide list of street art artists from all around the country:

  • Barcelona
  • Sevilla
  • Galicia
  • Valencia

4-. Spogo, cubism & geometric abstraction.

Spogo for muros 2019

If you are Picasso’s and Juan Gris’ fan you’ll probably love Spogo’s art, and the best part is that we no longer need to go to Museums to enjoy this abstract art he’s known for.

Spogo’s given name is Carlos García, currently established in Badalona.

He already has a career in art going on for some years now, and nowadays he turns himself into creating art in abandoned spaces and in different cities across the Spanish territory.

What does he use to create his artwork?

  • Spray paint, for the harmony of colours with the architectural spaces
  • Thin ropes, to create lines that divide and define the space through abstraction.
  • Local people, who inspire him paint the communities of his canvases

5-. Mazilax, a social activist himself.

Mazilax in Calle Miguel Servet

Maz is one of the most mysterious yet beloved graffiti artists in the city of Madrid, in spite of being a galician man himself.

Mazilax pieces talk about “a lot of things”, and he gives street art and graffiti art the involvement in activism which it has had since its beginnings. Maz ‘s topics go from:

  • animal liberation,
  • gentrification,
  • feminism

His pieces are carefully elaborated and curated and their aesthetics will take you to a fantasy world similar to comic books.

This young artist tells you a story through his art, and overall he makes us think about the topic he’s introduced to us, making us want to be more a part of the solution than the problem. 

6-. Son3k, from Asturias with love.

Picture of Son3k by Guilloso

Did you know that Street Art can also be a really cool piece of performance Art?

If not, you should check out Son3k’s artwork!

Originally from Oviedo (Asturias), Son3k has won a reputation in the madrilenian street art scene because of his way of producing art:

He takes nearly empty cans of spray paint and makes a hole in them with an engraving needle. This explosion of paint, alongside with movements of his hands, allow him to create shapes that nowadays are extremely easy to recognize as his. 

Patricia, Cooltourspain’s team member

Son3k explores his relationship with his surroundings, and his art wants to encourage our imagination to picture different shapes and even, if you may, different realities.

7-. Mario Mankey, human evolution

Mario WIP

Mario is a valencian artist who now resides in Berlin.

He was a prolific graffiti artist who used to work with the common formats of this expression – that is spray paint and city walls.

Mankey has recently oriented his work to something pithier to him, he talks about the contradictions and flaws of our postmodern society in which according to him, our desires and realities collapse, in a world mostly controlled by powerful men in suits and full of vanity. 

His street art name comes from the parallel, or even contraposition, between the human and primate, and his early pieces would show this idea visually quite often. 

It’s interesting to hear that Mankey’s pieces now are made using acrylic paint, since he realized that the spray cans where as stated by himself, artificial and polluting. 

8-. Manolo Mesa, art’s history.

Manolo mesa's bodegones

This artist from Puerto de Santa María (Cádiz) brings to the walls of Muros Tabacalera a refreshing taste of realism, something that is starting to become pretty big in Street Art.

Highly trained in muralism, Manolo chooses topics that have something to do with wherever he goes, but always exploring the traditions and culture typical from these places.

His murals are carefully chosen pieces that would definitely remind us of renowned painters in Art history such as Paul Cezanne and his still life paintings.  

9-. Srger, colorful style from Sevilla

Srger work in progress

Sergio Gomez (1983) is an artist from southern Spain, born and raised in Sevilla.

Even though he started as a graffiti artist in the 90’s he has extended his work to many different expressions such as installations and video art.

His art is what he calls “garabatear” (scrabbling) as the first way we express our creativity when we are children.

He only uses primary colours on his creations. 

Although Srger started as a tagger at the age of 13 years old, his self taught career has taken him to a place more similar to abstract art and to the expression through colours and composition.

He’s very known for his abstract pieces made in a mix of spray paint and acrylic in abandoned buildings near his hometown.

10-. Iñigo Sesma, post-modernist lover

artist from San Sebastian

The third edition of Muros Tabacalera street Art festival brought some good representation from Basque Country.

Iñigo is an artist from San Sebastian, whose artworks are a mix of:

  • beautifully observed and detailed realism,
  • visual representation of cultures he and his generation have seen. 

A postmodern portrait of life in which he shows his domain of pictorial techniques, inspired by diverse references of modern culture, but more specifically, cinematic ones.

11-. Kenor, clothing in his artwork.

Clothing style by Kenor

Jonas Romero, also known as Kenor, is an artist born in Barcelona whose work explores very interesting areas, related to techno and electronic music:

  • Art pieces in walls
  • Sculptures
  • Geometrical canvases

By  paying attention to the different beats and sounds of these rhythms, Kenor gets the inspiration to create a color line or a shape here, or there.

Do you know what the best part is?

Sometimes Kenor creates music himself!

Funny enough, you’ll be able to recognize Kenor’s piece on Muros Tabacalera walls since his piece moves back and forth, it’s made of different types of fabrics which colours are fading away slowly with Madrid’s sun.

12-. Pelucas, remember the ATARI games?

Pilas Bubbles

Pelucas, also known as Pilas Bubbles, is a Galician artist who has lived in Mexico for a few years.

His artwork is colourful, always making people stop to have a good look at it since its very rich in details.

Once you observe his creation, it will most definitely give you an 80’s vibe because of his figures and colourful lines & patterns resembling to old arcade/ATARI video games.

Mr. Bubbles is a big fan of the Brueghel brothers, more specifically of Peter, that’s why you can also call him Pilas Bubbles, because it sounds like Peter Brueghel.

Female artists representing!

Quality is very important to us, but more than that, every street art festival should count with diversity.

Muros Tabacalera is an event which promotes equity within the artistic industry.

2019’s editions counted with the following female artists:

13-. Anna Taratiel’s wooden puzzles

Geometrical figures at Muros Tabacalera

She’s an artist from Barcelona that as many of the other active Spanish art scene members, started as a graffiti artist and has evolved to work in different projects.

Trained as a graphic designer, Anna’s works are inspired by:

  • Geometric abstraction masters
  • things she finds interesting such as wooden puzzles or toys,
  • Arabic Mosaic. 

Known as OVNI in the past, she has now gained her place in the art world.

Anna’s pieces are a magnificent show of geometric abstraction through which she expresses her inner world and the relationship with all of what surrounds her.

14-. Nulo, blurry mind.

Muros Tabacalera by MSAP

Something you might have noticed, if you are a Street Art lover, is that nowadays the artists that work in our cities have a very strong artistic personality and preferences in matters of style and even colours.

This is the case of Nulo, whose real name is Lucía Betancourt. A young female artist originally from Uruguay, but now residing in Italy.

Nulo works with a palette of pastels, and easy-to-look colours.

She has found her ways into abstract expressions, and you can see her artworks in different parts of Latinoamerica and now luckily, in Muros Tabacalera walls.

15-. Amaia Arrazola, probably our favourite

Probably the best image from Muros Tabacalera

This young artist originally from Vitoria (Basque Country) graduated in advertisement studies by Madrid’s Complutense University.

She worked in this field for a very long time, but she decided she wanted to make Art for a living. 

Amaia is famous in the children books illustrations industry, and her art shows a rich and colorful world of figures that give you the sense of happiness and ease.

I’m a late learner, but nowadays I comfortably work back and forth in drawing, ceramic, and murals.

Amaia Arrazola, artist

As a multidisciplinary artist, she finds inspiration in:

  • Images from real life,
  • Internet stuff,
  • Animals,
  • Totem-like women

16-. Dafne Tree, urban planning

Mix of things

If you enjoy artists who explore the relationship between life and architecture, then the work of Dafne will definitely captivate you.

She’s a painter whose artwork explores the relationship between the architectural spaces, and painting & drawing. 

Dafne’s creations talk about the limits that architecture borders have in the cities. Mrs. Trees does so in a futuristic way!

It’s in her opinion that the suburbs are affected by the collectiveness of citizens who inhabit these spaces, whose abstract shapes can send you to many places in a visual context.

17-. Sara Fratini’s second time in the district.

Artist also seen at CALLE Lavapies

A venezuelan, living between Italy and Spain, is a prolific illustrator and artist whose work includes comics, prints, and mostly murals.

Her name is Sara Fratini and…

…If you run into a greek-mythology looking, half woman- half animal, it may be Sara’s work.

She mostly talks about:

  • Feminism,
  • Women bodies,
  • Red & Black colors,
  • Patterns and lines

Sara’s work is both delightful and relatable. If you miss her double headed snake women in Madrid, you can catch up with her in Malaga, Soria, La Palma, Sicily.

Team work at Muros Tabacalera

18- BYG, illustration and advertisement

Team work by BYG

BYG is another fix for those of us who love a good teamwork street art.

Patricia Belinches and Luis García are the creative minds behind BYG, a collective that works somewhere between the Mediterranean city of Valencia and Madrid.

Their multidisciplinary work covers:

  • Advertisement,
  • Illustration,
  • Muralism

Metaforic pieces are also part of a work that can go from carefully designed images, to a game with repetition & letters.

A word game,with this year’s edition theme “AZAR”, was the piece they chose to do on the walls of the tobacco factory.

19-. Colectivo Licuado

Over the seas team work

Colectivo Licuado members are Camilo Núñez and Florencia Durán, two uruguayan artists that joined forces five years ago in order to create street art.

Impressive murals are their preferred spots!

Their pieces are produced in a very pictoric way, trying to give urban and public spaces colour and life through their art.

Licuado Collective will give you:

  • A feminist vibe, since you will be impressed by their fierce and amazing representation of women,
  • An exploration of the local traditions where they work.

International artists invited to paint in 2019 Madrid’s Muros Tabacalera

20-. 108, What the shape is that?

black and white colors

108 is an Italian artist whose real name is Guido Bisagni. 

He started doing graffiti in the 90’s and then because of his studies he became interested in Russian suprematism painters such as Malevich and Kandinsky.

As an artist, Mr. Bisagni wanted to do something of his own, so he started incorporating abstract shapes into the streets through street art.

108’s shapes are a mystery; the viewer feels fascinated by them.

Guido likes the feeling of seeing things and not understanding them, with this eerie look he does the same to us.

To sum things up, his work aims to take us out of the tunnel of our daily lives through the introduction of very strange shapes into our city walls.

21-. Nemo’s quirky bodies and faces.

nemos quirky faces

These Italian artist pieces will shake your ground from the first glance.

The graffiti artist remembers drawing as a kid, way before he could even write.

He found his name for his first tag inspired by the main character of “Twenty thousand leagues under the sea”, Winsor McKay.

NEMO, which in Latin language means “nobody”, is his given name.

He swapped from graffiti writing to drawing because he wanted to express through images those things he couldn’t express with words.

That’s the reason why his current artwork shows eerie creatures and images that bring a critical message about our society and the world we live in. 

22-. El Tono, the biggest spot at Muros Tabacalera.

El Tono, guest artist

On the third edition of Muros Tabacalera Festival, El Tono received the honor of being the Guest Artist of AZAR.

El Tono’s pieces explore the area of the unknown beyond our control.

His career as a Public Space artist, as he calls himself, has had an evolution from Graffiti to what we know nowadays as Generative Art.

He’s been experimenting with this artificial-mind created art for some years now.

Furthermore, ET has a system of codes for each part that shapes his perfectly organized and mathematical pieces of art.

This system allows him to detach from the production of his pieces, if wanted, giving anybody -who knows the secret code- the right to be a part of the creative process.

Cooltourspain’s point of view about the festival

We wanted to say thank you very much to Madrid Street art project for the artist selection of Muros Tabacalera 2019.

Despite the fact that some of these artworks are destroyed by now due to organized crime, the streets are way more beautiful in a colored way than just plain.

We can’t wait to see the next edition!

*All pictures taken by MSAP.

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