To cure what ails you, we prescribe a walk through the city.
I have always loved traveling, but my perception about visiting new places used to be different than it is today. What changed the way I see everything? A short trip to one of the most beautiful Spanish cities: Barcelona.
Many people might believe that its multicultural atmosphere, delicious food and people’s desire to enjoy life give the city a special vibe. Yes, all of these are refreshing and inspiring, but the most compelling part of Barcelona is the art.
And no, I’m not referring to the outstanding museums and galleries but to the street art. The happy people painting on the streets, selling their portraits to travelers, the colorful walls that used to be gray and even dirty before they were brought to life to add to the exuberance and personality of this city.
I’ve visited museums my whole life, but I’ve never been closer to art than during and after my trip to Barcelona. Most people might find this odd, but street art made me fall in love with all forms of art.
After my enriching holiday, I began traveling for real. I started looking around, instead of only taking pictures to show people where I’ve been. Unfortunately, we’ve all done it. Don’t get me wrong, I still take pictures of places because I love photography…it’s art. However, I am not stuck to my smartphone anymore. Now I pay more attention to the places I visit, and this is why I manage to remember their superb details…and take them with me.
Street art opened my eyes and my soul, giving me the desire to get in touch with all types of art, as well as an immense appetite to study Dalí, Picasso and many other fabulous artists who’ve brought beauty into our world. And it’s not difficult to understand why: art is…there, right in front of us, and it’s able to open a gate that stands between us and happiness, peace of mind and other states that beauty can transmit.
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
— Pablo Picasso
Art is medicine for our souls. Going to a gallery and looking at paintings, trying to understand the artists, can make even the most skeptical visitor forget all about the stresses of life. Yes, art relaxes our minds and brings joy to our souls.
And street art can do that every day. A drawing or a message can make you smile on your way to work or school or after a bad day.
While my trip to Barcelona helped me realize how art can make everything more beautiful, living in London showed me that art could also bring joy. One day I was walking in the cold British rain, thinking my job was a complete failure, when I saw something written on a building. I stopped and read: “Be bad until you’re good. And good until you’re great.”
I smiled instantly, stopped crying and decided to…be bad until I got to be good. For me, that meant writing, writing and writing again, until I was good enough to be offered a great job. And so, the little girl who grew up in the countryside and dreamt about being a writer and living on an island…got to be good enough to live her dream.
Many believe that street art shouldn’t exist, and in many places it is considered vandalism. My opinion is different. I’m overjoyed to see street art captivating more and more people.
How does a street artist become recognized? Some say it’s thanks to the artist’s talent but mostly to their fantastic marketing abilities. And we have to admit that many of them have an impressive way of making a statement. For instance, Banksy managed to sneak his work into museums and galleries in London as well as New York. Guess who was in all the newspapers when they discovered his prank?
Some people wake up and realize there is more to life than working, becoming rich and sustaining the consumerist way of living. They understand that humanity also needs beauty, and their souls need to be filled with joy. This opens their minds, allowing some of them to embrace the form of art that can bring human beings deep emotions even when they’re too busy to travel and visit museums or galleries: street art.
“Some people want to make the world a better place. I just want to make the world a better-looking place.”
Time spent in trains and buses, the fast pace of the city and long working hours make metropolitan areas stressful for many inhabitants. Fortunately, there are many cities that have “suffered” from astonishing explosions of street art.
Though created by hooded men and women during the night, street art makes walking from the train station to the office a charming part of the day for so many people, and I’m one of them. The breathtaking combination of traditional art with street art I’ve found in many cities has brought immeasurable satisfaction to my soul.
But my greatest delight is that the art frenzy is continuously spreading all over the world. People are awakening to their desire for artistry.
One day I was thrilled to see a group of people staring at a wall in Paris. I moved in closer and saw they were admiring a wall “vandalized” by a French artist known as Invader. I was ecstatic not only to see young adults cherishing art instead of staring at their phones but also because I was very aware of Invader’s pieces. It felt like I was crossing paths with an old friend.
Was the wall destroyed, or was that gray dirty piece of the building improved by Invader’s virus of mosaic? This is what happens to many buildings all over the world. While some people believe that street art destroys cities, there are many breathtaking pieces of street art that make even the most hideous parts of London, Paris, New York, Barcelona, Lisbon and many other cities look absolutely brilliant.
Besides beauty, many street artists bring us awareness as well. Often using wit, they address serious social issues. Many painted walls hide deeper messages in plain sight.
Enjoy and use street art as an inspirational tool.
As Banksy said, street art is a powerful way to “make the world a better-looking place,” but it’s also a way to make people better inhabitants of this place. In a world of consumerism and technology addiction, we need bits of color. We need art to catch our attention, inspire us and send a lifeline to keep us from sinking in worries and work.
And the best part is that we don’t have to make much effort to get in touch with street art. It simply waits for us to begin walking straight again, open our eyes and…just look!