Barcelona street art, shutter art and garage door graffiti abounds in the capital of Catalunya. While you can check it out on a self guided stroll through the Barrio Gótico or Gothic Quarter, these days there are an array of other ways for you to enjoy this dynamic urban art.
Barcelona Street Art, Shutter Art and Garage Door Graffiti
Barcelona has become a giant canvas for street artists and activists. Stroll its most interesting neighbourhoods, such as the Barrio Gótico or Gothic Quarter during the afternoon siesta or late at night when the shops are shut, or amble around Ribera-El Born, Raval and Gracia when the bars are closed, and you’ll notice Barcelona’s brilliant shutter art and garage door graffiti in the form of vibrantly painted shop shutters and garage doors everywhere.
Sure, you’ll see the spray-painted scribbles of vandals, the nonsense of bored juveniles, and the curses of angry young men too. But the most exciting, thought-provoking work is by street art activists and some of the most creative, attention grabbing shutter art has been commissioned by the shopkeepers and property owners.
While the local police fight an ongoing battle with vandals, talented street artists and graffiti artists, many of whom were born out of the Barcelona street art movement that emerged here in the 1990s, are celebrated in Catalunya’s capital.
Expect to stumble across all forms of urban art, from vibrant murals and illustrations by established street artists such as Imnotic whose large format art breathes new life into decaying old spaces, to tiny drawings and tags by graffiti artists, some anonymous, others recognised by those in the know.
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While there’s plenty of fantastic urban art to be seen on a self-guided stroll as you mosey the alleyways, there are now an array of other ways for you to take in and learn about Barcelona street art.
Barcelona Urban Art Galleries
Galleries specialising in urban art hold exhibitions of street art and events with live painting where jaw-dropping art emerges before your eyes. Their owners and staff are often terrific sources of information.
Base Elements Gallery is a commercial gallery focusing on street art on Carrer del Palau 6 and owner Rob is keen to share his knowledge with enthusiasts. His online shop is also an excellent resource with a great guide to artists and their work. His blog is one of the best sources of information on the scene.
Barcelona Street Art Tours
Barcelona Street Style Tour
Claiming to be the first street art tour company in Barcelona, operating since 2012, these tours, on foot and bike, take participants along streets and alleyways of various neighbourhoods to learn about the emergence of the street art and graffiti movement in Barcelona while highlighting skate spots, galleries, boutiques, and bars with ties to the street art scene. The guides are street art enthusiasts, one with a degree in audio-visual media. See the Barcelona Street Style Tour website for info. Walking tours are free but donations are appreciated.
Street Art Barcelona Tour
Ran by a group of street artists and activists who have been active since 2010, these street art tours treat the city as an open air gallery and promise to take you off the tourist path and introduce you to the most important murals and show you the secret spots. You’ll learn about the history of the street art movement in Barcelona, the most significant forms of art, the most important artists and activities, the techniques they use, and the alternative spaces dedicated to street art. They offer several tours, on foot and bicycle, covering different neighbourhoods, in a handful of languages. See the Street Art Barcelona tour website for details. Walking tours start from 12 euros.
Barcelona Street Art Workshops
Barcelona Street Art Style Workshops
Experiential travellers will love these hands-on 2-hour workshops by an active street artist with 15 years experience, including a demonstration on popular street art techniques and the chance to try your hand at producing some art, which you can take home. The workshop covers the fundamentals of graffiti, using spray paint and tags, sticker making, stencil making, and mixed media installations. For those short on time, they also offer a 1½ workshop on basic, classic graffiti techniques with the chance to produce a collaborative group graffiti piece. Workshops can also be customised. Book through the Barcelona Street Art Style website.
Barcelona Street Art Online
The best source of information is the website Street Art Barcelona which promotes itself as a collaborative platform to promote and support the street art scene. It features art news, information on exhibitions and events, and interviews with street artists. The site has a blog, videos and images of art, and street art tours.
The Graffiti Street website has a bite-sized introduction to how the Barcelona street art scene emerged and how it got cleaned up (if the work isn’t commissioned on private property and isn’t “efficient” there’s a 3,000 euro fine!), and the many collaborative urban art spaces which were established, everywhere from community gardens to open air cinemas, after the death of a street artist in 2013.
If you’re not heading to Spain soon, you can enjoy more urban art on the website Barcelona Street Art.
Though no longer active bcn graffiti gives an insight into the scene, including graffiti art exhibitions by local and overseas artists that were held up until 2009.
UPDATED: July 2016
Are you a fan of street art? If you’re not, have you noticed Barcelona’s shutter art and garage door graffiti while exploring the city? Any favourite lanes, shop shutters, garage doors, or works of street art you recommend? Tips welcome in the Comments below.