Tristan Manco opened the debate by questioning “the place of street art in the perfect city scenario” that most councils around the world are trying to impose. This is a particularly hot topic in
This is an issue that was also very important for the artists involved in the festival. I asked many of them why they felt the need to hit the streets as opposed to just paint in private locations and the most common answer was that they were trying to get art out of galleries. Their aim was to expose art to an audience that would not normally go to art galleries, to get art out of the obvious context of the gallery and place it in unexpected places to provoke thoughts. The Belgian artist Bandit, who is very active in the small town of Altea (Spain) with large and quirky black and white stencils, once received an email from a 13 year old girl: “my mum and I love your paintings” she said “every time I see one, it makes me think”. This perfectly summarizes the kind of response public art is aiming for.
Israel Rodríguez and Gemma Galdón, the people behind malababa, discussed the importance of public art in cities that are increasingly becoming impersonal and profit-driven. Gemma Galdón highlighted the disappearance of the public space in urban environment. She used the example of the shopping mall, a fake public place owned by private companies where people’s behaviour is controlled and geared towards profit making. These types of places are quickly taking over the cities and this shift from public to private, from open to closed is spreading to the streets too. In this context, public art provides bubbles of fresh air, “blinks from the routine”, as Gemma put it. These blinks are vital for any city to retain its identity, before it becomes just another grey and beige pile of concrete.
I therefore think that I am not the only one who would like to say “thank you” to the artists and Difusor’s organisers for bringing hundreds of wonderful “blinks” to the streets of
Discussions are already taking place about where to hold the next stencil festival: