In the heart of the beautiful district of El Carmen you can find beautiful art, just on the street! For free you can admire these artworks. This art form is also known as “street art”. Read further to discover what forms en special pieces of street art in Valencia you can find and find out more about different street artists.
Admire art outside for free
Maybe you think… street art? Art on the street, what exactly does that mean? Street art is any form of art developed in the open air on the street. Street art can be made using traditional graffiti, but can also take many other forms of art. For example, a flashmob is also a form of street art.Or what do you think about video projections, stickers, mosaic or even knitting?
Street art is often characterized by originality and tells a story: a political message, a critical look, a personal story or even a fist against commerce. The artists often remain anonymous. Street art is always changing and renewing with the major developments in the field of technology and in social media. These developments create many new ideas. Examples are LED art or video projections. The boundaries of street art are infinite!
El Carmen: the perfect canvas for street art
If locals think about street art in Valencia, there is one district that comes to everyone’s mind. El Carmen! It is the oldest district of Valencia and is located in the north of the old city centre. It is the most artistic district in all of Valencia. El Carmen forms a perfect canvas for street artists. The districts had an urban landscape with its demolishing walls, weathered buildings and narrow alleys. Many national and international artists have left a tag or piece behind in this district.
Back to the past
How did this cool form of art come about? Street art is rooted in the 70’s as a result of graffiti culture from the 60’s. In the 1970s, graffiti messages were left behind, mainly using templates to spread a certain political message. These graffiti messages gradually became more sophisticated, more difficult and artistic. Eventually these people began to realize more and more that a new art form had emerged. From this moment on street art was born. Although street art in the 80’s and 90’s still had primarily a negative connotation, nowadays street art is not only the most popular, but also one of the most influential form of art in almost all major cities in the Western world.
A closer look: street art in Spain
In Spain, the history of street art began a little different form the other European countries. Graffiti only became known around 1980, because until 1975 Spanish dictator Francisco Franco was in power. Because of him, there were no foreign influences allowed and graffiti was certainly one of them.
With the fall of Franco, Spaniards got the opportunity to participate with other European countries and so arose the first counter-movement from Madrid. They called themselves ‘La Movida Madrileña’ and were against the dull and oppressive regime of Franco. Later the name was extended to ‘La Movide Española’.The first one that started using graffiti was “El Muelle”. He started in Madrid and his form of self-expression was adopted very quickly. In the past, many streets artists used different materials than today. They used paint sprays and shoe polishes. They where very experimental back in the days!
In Spain a spray came on the market in the 1990’s named ‘Montana Colors’. These were aerosols specially made for graffiti. They were cheap with a high quality. Because street art became illegal everywhere and many works of art were removed, people switched to paint, which didn’t remain permanently in place. Street art is nowadays still very popular in Spain and especially in Valencia!
Fun fact! “Spot jocking” is a street artists term for putting your artwork next to the work of another popular artist in order to attract the attention from the work to yourself!
Street artists in Valencia
Admire the work of one of the following streets artists in Valencia. They are well-known in El Carmen and many other neighbourhoods in the city! Grab a bike and explore the colourful neighbourhoods!
David de Limón
David de Limón started as a street artist in 1998 and grew up in the district El Carmen. He is an illustrator, graphic designer and street artist. David graduated in Fine Arts and has been painting in the streets since 1998. He started teaching in Barreira where he attended design classes for a year. This awoke many curiosities; he already painted in the streets and felt the need to improve his paintings. So he studied photography at the EASD in the centre of Viveros to improve his final painting results. Photography helped himto improve his ability to compose images. His current work is within the field of street art and consists of painting in the streets and other spaces.
He repeatedly draws a man with a dark masker. This is his so called “tag”. You can recognize the personal work of David de Limón by his creature, which he uses in his works. The character is all black except for the heart, which he often paints in a striking colour. You can spot this creature at almost every corner of every street in El Carmen, but also in Ruzafa you will see the puppet regularly passing by. David de Limón also has many collaborations with other well-known street artists such as Julieta XLF and Are you Dead. He is part of the Wall Attitude collective, which is a multidisciplinary group of urban artists fighting together forthe promotion and diffusion of Urban Art.
The Spanish street artist Deih is born in Valencia. He is 35 years old and has been painting in the streets for more than 20 years. He works as an illustrator, muralist and 2D animator. He also works on his own comics and videos. His biggest passion is painting on the street. He is part of two street artist crews called ‘XLF’ and ‘FHB’. He produces impressive murals with sharp illustrations. Deih explores the universe of strangeness and shows a lot of rarity in his artwork. He is fascinated by the strangeness of life. His inspiration comes from music helistens to, books he reads and different artists he follows. A lot of his inspiration comes from the Japanese culture. He loves their symbols, stories and myths. He also likes the unknown side of our existence, science function and different forms of punk.
Julieta XLF is a Spanish artist from Valencia and is part of the XLF crew. She uses naive colourful characters on big murals. Her goal is to create smiles on the faces of people passing by. Nature inspires her. She feels like everything she finds or discovers already exists in nature. Thing like colours, traveling and meeting new people and other cultures also give her tons of inspiration and energy. At the age of sixteen she started with designing. Since 2004 Julieta’s work is mainly focused on the outside world. You will recognize her works immediately by the so-called ‘kawaii’ style. These are cartoons with a touch of Japan. You can think of a lot of colour with rainbows, butterflies and dolls.
This famous street artist often works on the walls of El Carmen. But good luck catching him…the artist has stayed anonymous for nearly twenty years since he started painting. He came tothe publics attention in the late 90s. He brought attention to himself with his black and white minimal design and his strange scenes, which border anecdotes. Escif’s pieces are simple yet very inspiring. He uses any masonry surfaces as vertical or horizontal canvases. From small cracks in walls until huge buildings. His creations are very well known in Valencia as well as in other cities in Spain. Even outside the borders of Spain his creations are famous.
His work fits well with the environment, since his works often use black paint. His art works are often about capitalism, politics and the economy. He gets his inspiration from many contemporary things, such as books, movies and friends. By adding certain symbols and connections, people can add their own story to his art work. Escif is convinced that the viewer in the street who accidentally bumps into his work of art is the best viewer you can get.
As a street artist, Dyox specialises in surrealist art, science fiction and creatures. He is born in Valencia and is known for his special street art. His work is often colourful and striking by the unrealistic being, which are incorporated in his work of art. His work is often elaborate and hard to be missed. Fun fact! His work has been used on the cup forthe FIFA World Cup in Russia! His work has also been used for many tattoos.
Tip! Do you want to admire more culture after all the street art? Take a visit to the many museums in the city.