For anyone looking to visit Barcelona in the future I’ve decided to do a little guide to finding street art and graffiti throughout the city. I’m going to focus first on the suburb of Poblenou.
Poblenou is a mix between residential and industrial with a huge amount of abandoned factories slowly being converted to plush new apartments for people looking to live on the edge of town but still close to the beach. Although there are a lot of abandoned buildings there is still a slew of activity going on in specific areas, especially in what is known as the Poblenou Urban district. This area close to the city’s famous Encants market is full of co-working spaces, vibrant cafes, art galleries and independent traders.
Poblenou is a popular spot for anyone looking to paint or find graffiti due to the amount of legal walls in the area. The Urban feel to the area definitely suits this type of art and with the local authorities being so quick to remove graffiti from non-legal walls in the city it’s definitely an area that artists can paint in peace without having to look over their shoulder for any unwelcome attention.
The zone itself is fairly large so it’s probably best to rent a bike if you are going to visit all the walls as it can be a bit of a trek to go from wall to wall on foot. I know this all to well as I do it 3-4 times a week to try and keep up with the very fluid scene in the area. Definitely helps keep off all the chocolate pastries I eat!
I’m going to explain the route as I do it as it’s a fairly easy loop without having to change direction too often!
First up is a three sided wall on Carrer Pallars on the junction of Carrer de La Ciutat Granada. This wall is slap bang in the middle of the aforementioned Urban District just a few minutes walk from Llacuna metro and surrounded by cafe’s and restaurants. This wall is one I rarely visited up until a few months ago as it changed so infrequently but in recent months it’s been visited by a huge amount of great artists and is changing on an almost daily basis. Hard going for these feet! As with the majority of these walls it’s run by the Wallspot organisation and artists are able to book spots on the wall to paint through their website or mobile app.
From there it’s a 15-20 minute walk in a straight line down Carrer Pallars through the heart of Poblenou and across the vibrant Rambla de Poblenou all the way to four sided wall at the other end of Pallars. This wall, in my opinion, is probably the most popular wall in the city and on almost every visit there is either a new piece or an artist spraying away or most likely, both. The walls are on the corner of the aforementioned Carrer Pallars, Carrer Agricultura, Carrer Josep Pla and Carrer Venecuela. The quality of art on these walls is generally very high due to it’s popularity with both local and visiting international artists. Oh and if you need to stop for refreshments whilst in the area I can highly recommend an Argentinian empanada spot called La Frontera a few streets away from the wall which has, in my humble opinion, the best Patatas Bravas in the city!
From there it’s 5 minute walk along Carrer Venecuela to Carrer Selva de Mar. On the corner there is an area of scrubland with a wall or two left over from the demolition of an old factory. This is not one of the city’s legal walls but there is plenty of art to see although it’s not a wall that is popular so if a piece is ‘tagged’ then it’s likely to stay that way for a fair amount of time. It’s not a wall I check on very often but there are definitely a few pieces worth checking out.
Next up is another easy walk, 5 minutes or so up Carrer Selva de Mar to another Wallspot run legal wall. Just as you approach the wall make sure to look left as there is a huge Btoy piece that covers the whole front of a building that’s 100% not to be missed! The building behind the Wallspot wall has just been demolished in the past few weeks so the wall looks a little out of place all on it’s own, open to the elements. This is another wall that seems to go through peaks and troughs. Some weeks the wall seems to change every other day and then for some reason no one will paint there for months… Well no one except an artist residing in Poblenou by the name Manumanutwice. The French artist is prolific in the area and you can find his huge murals on almost every available wall. Very often I will arrive at a wall to find that Manu has completely taken over and painted 5-6 huge pieces covering the whole area. I’m certainly not complaining of course as he’s easily one of my favourite artists here and his work never ceases to amaze me. This wall continues round the bend to Carrer Peru which up until recently had two pieces that had been there for over a year, from Shaun Burner and Ewfrank. In an ever changing and competitive environment it’s a testament to both artists that their pieces survived so long.
Now for the last part, another 10 minute amble or so down Carrer Peru brings you to the corner of Carrer Espronceda. At the bottom of the street heading back towards Avinguda Diagonal there is one more wall which is owned by the Hangar 52 organisation. This wall is covered by the works of the effervescent Manumanutwice and is updated by the artist regularly. One wall might be a slight understatement as you will find Manu’s work’s hidden behind gates and within buildings directly across the road from Hangar 52, definitely worth keeping your eyes peeled for. Within Hangar’s premises there are also multiple walls that are often covered in art and have been adorned by some great artists including my recent interviewee Audifax. Definitely worth checking out.
There are definitely other areas in Poblenou which are worth checking out if you have the time and they are open, one of which is La Escocesa (The Scottish, which I like for obvious reasons) which is a self managed art space teeming with artworks on it’s many crumbling walls. The space is very close to Carrer Selva de Mar on Carrer Pere IV and if open is definitely worth some of your time. There is also City stop which is a vast area of concrete near La Pau metro which is used for caravans and trucks to park up somewhere safe for the night. Thankfully the owners have allowed multiple artists to brighten up the grey look with some huge murals and again I highly recommended to check it out. It’s maybe one for the bike or metro as it’s a pretty long walk out there despite being at the poblenou side of the city.
So that’s it for this short guide to one of the most vibrant areas for art in the city. If you would like any more information on any of these areas please contact me at any time and i’ll be happy to assist in any way! Happy hunting art fans.