I’ve always had a fascination and love for street art. It’s provoking and interesting and it gives us a peek into a city’s culture and/or subculture. More often than not, any idiot with a can of spray paint and the guts to use it where it says ‘Post No Bill’ would deign to call him/herself a street artist. Ubiquity of such self-aggrandising individuals can make it difficult to distinguish between art, graffiti, or just plain ol’ vandalism.
Or are all three just different drops from the same can of paint? (A lame metaphor, I know, but I couldn’t help it) Maybe the point of streets-as-canvases is that it can be that varied and random. The freedom to paint plus the resultant painting, indiscriminately.
But I might be getting too philosophical/cerebral here. Basically, I just wanted to devote posts to street art/ graffiti/ vandalism that got my attention, made me think, made me feel something, or was just nice to look at, from different cities around the world. Sure, a lot of it might have no other motive than to curse or insult or help you visualise a particular genital, but if you keep looking, you’ll find some meaning in there somewhere. Or at least, you won’t find a pile of crap that city officials will just want to paint over with white.
The first city that I want to feature is Lisbon, Portugal, which I visited briefly last April. Although my time in the city was short, I found no shortage of beautiful and evocative street art. Lisbon really surprised me with its quaintness and artistic vibe, and it is filled with gorgeous architecture besides. My impression of the city is as vibrant as the art that flows through her veins.
Even though I only got a tiny glimpse of Lisbon’s rich artistic culture, I am already hankering for more. It is rare for a city to live up to bloated internet-fed expectations, but Lisbon truly is one to visit, to walk around in, and to enjoy a good cup of coffee in. I have my fingers crossed that I get to visit again soon.