I haven’t been writing much on The Mad Kitchen lately as I’ve been traveling for two solid weeks for the lovely holiday break of Semana Santa. I have a quite a bit to share about the travels to 5 different cities and enlightening food inspiration. But first, I feel compelled to expose a little about the unexpected delight I found within Valencia, Spain. Specifically, the city’s fantastic street art scene.
Before heading to this beautiful capital along Spain’s east coast, I had anticipated old world beauty. Friends and fellow travelers gave me the obvious tipoff of trying paella, which originated in the region of Valencia. My advanced research gave me the impression that Valencia was a very arts and sciences-forward city. Museums were on every list I’d encountered of Valencia to-dos.
However, my plans would only permit me to spend about two days in the city – and no, that’s not nearly enough time. So I wanted to enjoy and soak in the vibe of the city, rather than rushing through museums and tours without having truly experienced the nature of Valenciana culture.
How to achieve this? WANDER. For hours.
I set out in the afternoon and started exploring the colorful streets. With it being siesta, many doors and shops were actually closed and the streets were relatively quiet. This permitted the perfect setting for tiny and massive illustrations alike to stare me right in the face.
After encountering more than just a few works, I realized how much art engaged the community of Valencia. All different types of messages arose on walls, pipes and shop doors, whether it was simply pleasing to the eye or complicated and difficult to decipher. On either end of the spectrum or somewhere deep in between, it made my time spent there totally special. Maybe it’s because I, myself am an artist, so I had a unique appreciation. Regardless, even your average passerby, resident or tourist, would have something to gain by experiencing Valencia’s underground art element.
Unfortunately, I left without moving beyond the old center and without learning enough about the city and the artists who are responsible for what I found, but for this reason, Valencia has shot right to the top of my ‘to return to’ destination list.
Here is my comprehensive list of ways to describe Valencia’s underrated street art scene:
Oh, and SNEAKY. I stumbled across this little guy about a hundred times. It started to just make me laugh every time I saw him lurking around each and every corner. I started to conclude that this was likely the artist of much of what I saw. It seems inevitable. After all, when we put our craft out there for the world to see, there’s usually a part of us that wants to be known on every corner, yet we still cling to a sense of anonymity. If you know anything about the artists, comment below or shoot me a message.
In the end, do any of these words I’ve used truly matter or mean anything? No.
The subjectivity of the art above, and art in general, is what allowed me to have a very personalized impression and relationship with the experience in Valencia.
If when reading any of these words, your instincts disagreed with the relativity of them to the art… good. The purpose has been served. I hope it’s gotten you thinking and furthered your curiosity about this beautiful city and the people who live and create there.
So often when I was taking pictures of the murals and small pieces, people walking past me looked at me as if I had ‘lunatic’ tattooed on my forehead. But then, they looked at what I was taking a picture of. Not for only a second, but for long enough to think about what and why I valued a photograph in that moment.
Whether they recognized how awesome and talented the artists are or felt completely confused and averted to it, I’ll be happy. Just feel something!
Until next time, Valencia.