Graffiti in Madrid. How much do you know about this underground culture?

The bebinning of 2019 brought us a busy start of the year. Not only we are facing social and political changes in town, but also an active season for the graffiti in Madrid.

How would you describe the situation at this moment? Has the number of throw-ups/tags increased in the streets?

According to El Pais, one of the most important Spanish newspapers, the amount of graffiti actions has raised as compared to what happened 10 years ago. So now, let’s take a moment to analyze the causes and consequences of this war.

Where can we find the rivalry between urban art and graffiti in Madrid?

The fight might be observed all around the city. From Vallecas district, a working class area in Madrid’s East side, to Embajadores, classified by Time Out Magazine as the coolest neighborhood around the world.

The following celebrations are leading causes for the rivalry we are referring to in this article:

1. Pinta Malasaña, street art festival.

It is during the month of April when artists from all over the world paint the windows, metal shutters and graffiti walls in Madrid.

The festival is very popular among locals and it hosts over thousand visitors who photograph the artists while they are painting graffitis in Malasaña.

The organized activity occupies the whole day and the problem comes at night when writers and ‘tag’ artists cover the artworks with their throw-ups. Why does this happen?

  • Graffiti Madrid movement agains the street art industry.
  • Artists with a clear interest for notoriety.
  • A fight to defeat gentrification (serious issue in this neighborhood).

2. CALLE Lavapiés and the street art tour in Madrid.

Tourism trends are globally changing. Travellers are nowadays looking for unique experiences and alternative things to do in Madrid.

It was in 2015 when we created  a graffiti tour Madrid to learn about the best street art in town and we thought about Lavapiés neighborhood because of its multiculturalism and color.

CALLE is an urban art festival which takes place yearly in May. Dozens of bars and shops decoreate their faccades and visitors pay attention to the explanation we prepared to let them know about the techniques used.

Our guides focus on the following:

  • Problems that exist in our society. Domestic violence, political corruption and bankrupcy among them.
  • The story about local community projects such as Esta es una Plaza, La Tabacalera, EKKA or La Canica.
  • The messages that lie behind each mural.

Despite the work we are developing for the community and the social impact it creates, there are still some Madrid graffiti artists who are against our project because of our profit background.

Did they know we hire local artists, who speak English, to develop our graffiti workshops in Madrid? Did they know we organize volunteering street art tours in Madrid for Down and refugees’ organizations?

3. Urvanity, a contemporary art & graffiti exhibition in Madrid.

There exists the thought that when artists, who started their career with the graffiti in Madrid, make it to the international art circuit, they will sell their souls to the devil. What do you think?

Urvanity is an art Madrid fair, directed by a group of gallerists, which showcases the artwork of worldwide urban art galleries. Ben Eine, Moneyless or Belin are some of the artists who have participated in previous editions of this graffiti art event.

Graffiti in Madrid. What are the consequences for the street art industry?

The confrontation between the legal and the illegal parts of these two movements has existed for such a long period of time (and it will always be like that).

The graffiti in Madrid wants to be real, doesn’t want permissions of any kind and is very reluctant to the street art world. What are the consequences that could be observed/analyzed?

Artist’s discredit

No names will be given at this point, but put yourself into any of these situations and try to imagine what would be next:

  1. You are an emergent artist who started painted trains at the age of 14. You turned 32 now and a gallery which supports the graffiti in Madrid calls you for a SOLO show. The city council supports the event. What could happen to you?
  •  Your participation will be rejected because the police is behind you.
  • You shouldn’t show up because if you sell any artwork while present, the money will be used to pay the expenses for any damage caused in the past.
  • The notoriety obtained for the past years will help you push your artistic career.

Opposition shown by local communities to the graffiti in Madrid.

In a completely changing society, people are now making a clear difference between what should be considered as art and what not.

Still, some social classes/groups put everything under the same circumstances and believe that if you decorate a wall without permision that should be removed (even if that’s skillful and decorative).

Don’t they observe that it may change the landscape of our cities?

Our opinion for the graffiti in Madrid.

When paiting on the streets, we believe that if your are creating something of a better quality than what it used to be in the same spot before, GO FOR IT! Othersiwe, if your graffiti in Madrid is not decorative, think about it twice. Cooltourspain doesn’t support any vandalic or agressive actions.

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