I’m very proud of the amazing artworks that have been created in the walls of my city in the past few years. Spotting amazing street art during my travels and my time in London was always a moment to stop, and look. Often, to take a picture. So last weekend I went to photograph some of the great works in the city of Leiria, Portugal.
I do have conflicting feelings when it comes to street art. If I love how boring streets can suddenly become art galleries accessible to all, there are a few things that I need to point out that makes is just a little annoying to me.
- It’s distracting. I cannot count the number of times I almost hit the car in front of me, or almost went against a pole or someone else in the street because of amazing art (to be fair, this also happens with distracting advertising billboards, so maybe I’m the problem here)
- It’s often hidden by cars or dumpsters, making it hard for me to fully appreciate it without the urban distraction.
- It’s not permanent. Because of atmospheric conditions of course, you know the colours will fade. The brick will break. And some idiots will paint some graffitti over it.
At the end of day, I end up loving street art. the idea of bringing art to the streets. Of taking advantage of empty spaces. Of democratizing art and its artists.
It brings emotions to the streets. It humanises walls. Suddenly, they really have a story to tell you. The only thing is, you need to stop and listen.
You’re not in the setting. Not in an art gallery, an exhibition, where that is the expected behavior, where you have gone with the purpose to appreciate what certain pieces of art have to tell you. You take the time to go to a gallery. It’s planned. But with street art, that is not the case. It can whisper to you on your way home, or to work. It can even shout. It breaks that routine you aren’t used to breaking. It makes you do it. Stop. Look. Listen. And I absolutely love that. To be challenged by unexpected art. To listen to what the walls are telling me even when I was not ready to listen.
And if you listen, they will tell you about the place you’re in, because that’s what art does. It gives you a narrative about a time and a place. Context. Charged with a sentiment. Isn’t all of this a beautiful thing? That in our rushed daily life, so often focused on ourselves and our own problems, a wall can call to you and be like – hey, wanna see this?
If you like this, I can say there is more in my city. And that I’m planning another photographic trip once I have a chance. But you can also check my post about the street art in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Mexico. Such a treasure!
What do you think about street art? Do you stop in the streets to look at it? Let me know in the comments 🙂
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