Art is as diverse as music, and Spain has a rich and ground-breaking history where the former is concerned. Graffiti has transformed into glorious colourful artwork worthy of note, and authorities recognise the skill and importance of the form. InSpain’s mini-series on street art looks at Madrid, Málaga and Fanzara.
Madrid has one of the best urban art scenes in Spain. The artwork covers a range of themes from the environment, migration, politics and gender violence to multiculturalism and other contemporary social issues.
Madrid’s first graffiti artist
Muelle, often designated by the Spanish as the “Banksy of Spain,” was a pioneer of Madrid’s street art movement in Madrid. He started out in the 1980s during the Movida Madrileña, or the Madrid movement, an important time in Spain’s history, as the country began to emerge and grow in new directions after Franco’s dictatorship ended.
Muelle began his graffiti in the Campamento neighbourhood of Madrid. One of his most famous marks was his signature, which he would leave around Madrid, complete with an arrow at the bottom.
Muelle slowly began to branch out with his signature, adding other designs to it and making it more complex by using colours, borders, and shadows.
In 1993, Muelle stopped leaving his mark around Madrid. He said that his message was complete. Muelle died of cancer in 1995.
In 2012, one of his last graffiti signatures became a special cultural interest spot, Bien de Interés Cultura, meaning it can’t be removed. On October 19, 2016, Madrid dedicated a special garden to him in the neighbourhood where he once lived, the Campamento area.
The Lavapiés neighbourhood is one of the most active of the scene. Each year they hold an urban art festival. Many commercial establishments from Lavapiés participate in it, offering their façades and shop windows for creation, along with more than 50 artists and groups.
La Tabacalera in Embajadores
The artistic walls of La Tabacalera are one of the most alternative spaces in Madrid. On its façade, you can see graffiti with critical and humorous messages that are renewed each year.
Malasaña is a hip neighbourhood with all sorts of quirky art. You may spot some intricate stencil art from Parisian graffiti artist C215. Nuria Mora and El Tono are more contemporary artists, producing geometrical art filled with colour.
Madrid Street Art Project
The Madrid Street Art Project (MSAP) initiative, founded by Guillermo de la Madrid and Diana Prieto promotes the form. It is devoted to creating, organising, producing and communicating projects and activities related to street art.
The objective is to spread and support art and its creators in public spaces, bringing it closer to all audiences.
Urvanity Art Fair
It is the only fair in Spain fousing on new contemporary art. By contemporary art they mean urban art, such as post-graffiti, surrealist pop and the new pop art.