Street art projects painted Madrid this summer with artists aiming to promote creative expression and attract visitors to the different neighbourhoods throughout the city.
The walls are now filled: pink and green murals sprawl across fruit shops, the faces of beautiful women cover martial arts studios and an old bicycle garage sits comfortably amongst golden pyramids and sprawling paint trees.
The art is accessible for tourists and if you want to discover the neighbourhoods of Madrid and the street art within, then check out these three cool destinations.
La Tabacalera is an 18th century former tobacco factory renovated into a self-managed urban art space and cultural centre, hosting different exhibitions throughout the year. For street- art lovers in Madrid, begin your explorations here with a diverse range of work all in the one destination. The exhibitions within are free all year round.
For a third summer in a row, the Muros Tabacalera project transforms the surrounding walls of this historic building. The exhibition, in association with The Madrid Street Art Project, showcases modern art from around the world. This year, 26 Spanish and international artists created murals depicting the theme ‘Urban Nature’ on what was once just grey bricks.
“We want people to reflect on the contemporary city and the kind of life we live – where nature is not present – through art.” Diana, one of the organizers, explained to the Huffington Post Spain.
The quiet, nearby Calle de Miquel Servet becomes an outdoor gallery: notice the kaleidoscope dog, girl with blue hair and headless man framed against the brickwork. Look out for smaller pieces scattered in side streets nearby. There is even a tiny urinating rabbit if you can spot him.
Where: Calle de Embajadores, Madrid
Opening hours: from 12.00 daily
Nearest metro: Embajadores (Line 3 and 7)
Located just south of the Puerta del Sol, Lavapiés, the old Jewish quarter of the city, is just minutes from La Tabacalera and a street art must-see. The name of the district itself literally means “wash feet” and the area continues to maintain a working-class identity, winning an ongoing battle against gentrification. With the highest immigrant population in Madrid, this district is diverse and encompasses a fusion of different cultures.
“There are 146 different nationalities living in Lavapiés,” Juan, a long-standing resident of Lavapiés told Eurekastreet.
This cultural melting pot – with influences from South America, South Asia and Africa – is reflected in the art on the walls.
C.A.L.L.E, the third Emerging Lavapiés Free Artistic Call Festival, gathered 60 Spanish and international artists between May 14 and June 5 to paint 60 commercial properties in the neighbourhood. The aim of the project is to promote creativity and artistic expression, as well as attract visitors to the many galleries and ongoing exhibitions throughout the area. The theme this year focused on “El futuro, Lavapiés 2029.”
“Initiatives like this one push people to walk through streets where galleries are not as popular as they should be.” Artist Angulo, who transformed the local herb store El Druida, told the Huffington Post.
As a result, many of the store fronts, shutters and windows throughout Lavapiés appear in bold colours and detail stories of the area’s rich culture and history. Look out for the multi-coloured, tearful woman by #xpressionstudios or the acid paradise mural by local based artist @elreydelaruina. Lavapiés also boasts some of Madrid’s best cuisine, ranging from Indian restaurants to typical Spanish tapas cafes or ethnic grocery stores selling Bangladeshi produce.
Nearest metro: Lavapies (Line 1 and 3)
You can check out more artwork in Lavapiés by searching with the hashtags
#lavapiésstreetart #madridstreetartproject and #calle2016
This street art destination received its name in honour of one of its former residents, Manuela Malasaña, a young woman killed during the popular uprising against Napoleon’s troops on 2 May 1808. Local residents remember that Malasaña was once quiet and residential. Now, the neighbourhood is brimming with life and street art.
The Pinta Malasaña project, a one-day festival on 17 April 2016, organized by the newspaper Sonos Malasaña with The Madrid Street Art Project, welcomed over 100 artists from Spain to decorate the district.
Start at the Plaza del Dos de Mayos square and work your way through the labyrinth of side streets. Again, much of the work covers store front shutters so it is best to adventure early (or very late) to uncover the best hidden artwork. Keep an eye out for the Tupperware bar, which is popular amongst young locals, covered in cartoon cat graphics by the French street art legend 3ttman.
Nearest metro: Tribunal (Line 1 and 10)
You can check out more of 3ttman’s work on Instagram at @33tman or discover more artists in Malasaña with the hashtag #malasañastreetart
What do you think? Have we missed out any cool street art spots in Madrid? Let us know via #ROOSTERGNNstreetart on Twitter! Check out this article on street art in Cuba here.