I recently paid my first ever visit to the city of Porto in Portugal. I found Porto to be really cool city with lots to see and do, really easy to get about. It also had some downright filthy food which I cannot speak highly enough of.Cachorrinhos and Francesinhas are the perfect foods after a day of exploring. Porto also has my all time favourite burger, in a place called Curb Burger. If you ever visit Porto, hit that place up, it’s unreal!
I have been making a conscious effort to reduce my time spent looking for street art whilst on holiday. You know, spend a little more time holidaying instead of searching every street for pieces. Due to the cities quite small size, which was surprising actually, it made hunting for street art a bit easier than usual.
The main thing I noticed in my few days in Porto was the amount of what I assume are illegal pieces. There were certainly big murals, paste ups, stickers and your usual legal wall areas, they are rarely in short supply. However there was a helluva lot of relatively big pieces just sat on buildings slap bang in the middle of the city. For me living in Barcelona it’s unusual to see pieces this big and complete on non approved walls.
It’s taken me four paragraphs to get to it but the artist who’s illustrations covered these walls goes by the name of MESK. MESK is an illustrator and graffiti artist from the city and he is productive to say the least. I mentioned the whole legal/illegal thing earlier and the reason I mention it is the quality of MESK’s work. Normally if an artist is whipping up an illegal piece they don’t really have the time or the light to make it super clean. That was my immediate thought when first seeing his characters, clean.
All in all I saw eleven pieces from MESK, not including a larger commissioned mural. That’s pretty impressive work if they are indeed illegal. Man has balls to spend the time creating these in such public spaces.
Regular and observant readers will know that I am a huge fan of cartoon style works. I love big bold, bright characters. MESK is an absolute master in this style. All of his characters are so crisp and clean with really fluid lines and over-exaggerated features. These characters are all so expressive and full of life.
The easiest way for me to describe MESK’s work is that it makes me smile. Normally when I’m on holiday I can be quite, let’s say obsessive about finding pieces. But, I often don’t really enjoy or maybe appreciate some of the art that I see. It’s one of those things where it’s shoot the wall then onto the next. Sometimes I arrive home and have forgotten I have even seen certain walls until I upload the photos. There’s none of that with MESK’s work, I wanted to go and see pieces over and over again and be that weird guy just standing staring at them.
So if you are ever visiting Porto, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these wonderful illustrations. And don’t forget to check out your photos of MESK’s work over a Curb Burger!