Painted Streets: Contemporary Adaptation to Seville’s Architecture
Seville is a city with over 1300 years of architectural history; from the Roman founders to the Moorish rulers. It was not until 1248 when the Castilians took the city that they constructed their own architectural legacy, which is the majority of what stands today.
In some ways the street art is a reaction to the ageless surroundings, the ancient streets having been walked over by millions of feet. From the flamboyance of the churches and cathedrals to the utilitarian stone streets, this is a city that draws you into its rich history.
Wherever one gazes they find a temporary amendment to their surroundings, seldom could one see a blank wall, without a tag, graff, sticker or poster. Such is the magnitude of the street art, that it can entice people away from the typical historic tours to street art excursions.
Only when one walks past a church will they see clear walls, the divine is above posters obviously. If you want to find something, look at the walls, they have your solution: Not happy with the economy? Spray your message on the walls. Want to find some students to teach English to? Stick a poster up. Feeling creative? Yarn-bomb a street lamp.
The street art is as prolific as the surrounding architecture yet the juxtapositions between the temporary art and the antediluvian buildings are striking. The street art, be it stickers, yarn, spray paint or posters, has a relatively short life. The architecture having stood the test of time stays stationary.
Even the decaying walls will outlast the most stubborn stickers, yet the culture to change a motionless wall is apparent. Is this a true artistic outlet? Or rather a result of boredom and frustration? Possibly ingenuity – as free advertising, is in itself entrepreneurial. Or does this modification of surroundings bring comfort and identity to a youth without a connection to the vast history of Seville.
Communication in its simplistic form is a written message, here the streets are filled with messages, some rhetorical, some awaiting a response, both positive and negative in their intent.
James Knox is Editor-in-Chief of FLINT, based in Perth, Australia.