Nobody likes the Shaz lurves Baz graffiti that can give urban centres a run-down, sleazy look – surely even Shaz and Baz can’t find their handiwork aesthetically pleasing.
But not all graffiti falls into the pre-Neanderthal category. Many are works of art created by talented individuals, bringing colour and vibrancy to concrete jungles. In some cases they transform architectural eyesores into pleasing attractions.
In Los Llanos de Aridane on La Palma, the local council commissioned artists from around Europe to create contemporary masterpieces on huge tiles that were then used to decorate the bland gable ends of some of the town’s buildings. The idea was to create an open air art gallery that was accessible to everyone.
On Tenerife, aficionados of creative street art will find the best examples in the capital, Santa Cruz, where some areas are set aside for practitioners to display their artistic talents without running the risk of having their collars felt by the local boys in azul.
Opposite the Iglesia de la Concepción, home to the holy cross that gave the city its name in 1494, are psychedelic billboards full of examples of the best of Tenerife’s street artists. They act as a contemporary contrast to the historic building opposite – the old and the new heartbeat of the city.
The graffiti here also reveals the assimilation of the anarchic artist into the mainstream when talent is recognised – one artist even promotes a more socially acceptable sideline as an interior designer in his work. Not so long ago another famous local graffitist, East, made the short journey from the graffiti wall to nearby TEA, Tenerife’s ultra modern art centre, to run workshops on the art of graffiti as part of the International Museum Day.
Not all of the best graffiti is found in the capital. Take the tram up the hill to La Laguna, Tenerife’s academic and ecclesiastical centre, to discover plenty more examples of innovative and amusing street art. A favourites is on a garage door, coincidentally near La Laguna’s Iglesia de la Concepción. Its mischievously humourous subject matter keeps it just the right side of anarchy.
Head down the north coast and there are works of street art to be uncovered all over. They aren’t always easy to find; like the marine life on a wall on a road leading to an obscure coastal hamlet in La Matanza (whose official ‘street art’ wall mural of a victorious Guanche standing over a stricken conquistador is hard to miss from the TF5 motorway), or the wonderful old couple looking out from their cottage in a backstreet in Los Realejos.
Puerto de la Cruz, the north’s main tourist centre, also has mini masterpieces tucked away in its back streets and when the lively street arts festival Mueca hits town (due to return in May 2012 after a two year absence), some of the streets in the old town are given a graffiti makeover.
There are countless examples across the island. It’s pretty much a case of seek and ye shall find the good stuff. Unfortunately, along the way you’ll also probably see a lot of Shaz lurves Baz graffiti. However, In Tenerife’s case sometimes it has a bit more panache.
Category : about tenerife
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