Monday, 17 November 2014

6. Portraits of Valencia

After our previous post, our plan was to move on from Valencia to showcase street art in other parts of the world. But your support has been so strong and encouraging that we decided to take one last look at our hometown art.

This week we spotlight some of the many portraits that bring life to the city's outdoor walls.

Street art portraits are like any other form of art or portraiture. At their worst, they look like those $5 charcoal caricatures that tourists pose for on the sidewalk. At their best though, they would not look out of place framed and hanging in a portrait gallery. Here are some of our favourites from the city:

Nosomdos ("we are two") are a Valencian couple who strongly support the Palestinian cause. We make no judgements about their politics here. But we do appreciate that they are among the few in Valencia to add political bite to their street art. And, of course, we like their artistic technique, particularly the humanity they give to eyes and skin tone:

Italian street artist Carlo "Carlitops" Casimassima wasn't content to post this portrait in a single spot in the city, so you'll find it in a variety of places, and, a la Andy Warhol, in a variety of colour pallets:

The next set of portraits appear together as part of a larger mural painted by the Ojayo Players:

And before you say it, we have to ask "where is it written that a portrait has to be of a human?" Hey, animals are people too!

Meanwhile, Valencian t.nob prefers a more cartoonish look to his portraits:

We're not sure who painted the next one, but because it sits beside an equally skilled one signed by the very talented Pixel Pancho, there's at least a chance that  this too might be one of his:

And possibly even this one:

On the other hand, we freely admit that we haven't the slightest idea who the artist is behind this one - or for that matter, the subject:

We do our best to be honest with you and admit when we can't identify a street artists. If you can solve a mystery that we can't, please drop us a line at:

Last but not least, we leave you with this portrait of two typical Valencians:

WHAT, you say? This isn't a portrait? Clearly you've never seen a pair of Valencians on the last night of our biggest street festival, Las Fallas (The Fires)!!!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

5. Dispelling Valencian Myths

Street art is often a medium through which inconvenient truths are given voice. Clearly the leader in this regard is Banksy - although he has a long way to go to catch up with Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. 

On the other hand, street art can also perpetuate mythologies. We here at STREETsmART feel it's part of our duty to counter misleading images and set the record straight.

We know, for example, that paella was invented in Valencia and although we've only lived here for a year, we're 100% certain that the following is not a core ingredient:

Luis Montolio (2014)

We also know that chicken and rabbit are core ingredients of the most traditional paella, Paella Valenciana, but we're pretty sure they don't make it into the rice this way:

(Upper part) Erica il cane (2011)

And although the locals do make giant paellas for festivals, if you try to carry them away from the wood fire this way, you'll probably singe yourself up to the elbows:

(Lower part) Escif (2011)

While we're at it, let's clear up a few non-paella myths. First off, we Valencianos love our pets, and we keep them clean the traditional way, not this way:

?Zoen (2014)

We don't have eyes in the middle of our foreheads, although we may have them in one or two other places:


And last, but most certainly not least, we Valencianos have the same-looking private parts as everyone else in the world. We don't care what anyone says:

Luis Montolio (2013)

Sunday, 2 November 2014

4. A Close-up Look at CERE

Miguel Maestro Cerezo, better known as Cere, is another prolific street artist living in Valencia. Originally from Burgos, a small city near the Basque Country (Northern Spain), he moved to Alicante when he was 17 to study art, later continuing his studies in Valencia. Many years later he is still brightening up the walls of the city:

Navegando por el barrio, (Navigating the neighbourhood),
Cere (2014)
Cere began his informal training at age 15, along with other kids from school. He practiced on abandoned warehouses near his home, later painting trains and any other surface he could find. “I have good memories of those years in Burgos; experimentation with letters and characters opened my mind to a whole new world.”*
Today, Cere works as a graphic artist focused on Graphic Design, Illustration and Art Direction. He works on a wide range of creative stuff, for himself and commercial interests.
A Cuchillo, (A Stab),
Cere in collaboration with Lolo (2013)
Fortunately, he chose to settle in a city that embraces street art. “If you paint with respect, ordinary people will love what you do because it gives them culture for free, in the streets.”*

Evolving Styles
Over the years Cere’s style has varied considerably and he says the changes reflect how he feels at any given time. When he was in a rebellious mood, he painted wolves. “It was a fun way of claiming the streets as ours.”*
Cere (2009)

Cere (2009)
Then he focused on the black pudding of his home town, the “Morcillas de Burgos”. With this series he marked a cultural shift towards his roots. He wanted to highlight the remoteness and superficiality of the street-art scene at the time and to condemn the globalization of society.
Cere (2011)

Cere (2012)

La Esquina del Amor, (The Corner of Love),
Cere 2012
More recently, Cere seems to be strengthening his claim to the neighbourhood as a place for art instead of up-scale development. He's often seen collaborating on the streets with other Valencia-based artists, particularly Laguna and Lolo Fonico.
Out of My Area,
Cere (2014)

Another World,
Cere (2014)

Cere in collaboration with Laguna (2014)

La Pareja Perfecta, (The Perfect Couple),
Cere in collaboration with Lolo (2014)
 *Quotes by Cere via (Global Street Art) 2012.