Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Art Around Town: Barcelona, Spain

Hola! Barcelona is a city that is absolutely teeming with life! It was wonderful. Here's a bunch of the architecture, street art, and other artwork that we saw around town...

Street art thrives in Barcelona. Everywhere you turn, there is something to be seen.

Parc de Alguiens (@ Alfons X on the metro)- They supposedly have a program where they have designated graffiti walls and allow people to come and paint at anytime, but we couldn't find them. Regardless, the park was filled with lots of little graffiti goodies and it's a short walk to or from Parc Guell if you're in the area...

This mural was at Parc de Alguiens, right outside of the library
 Lots of these ice cream illustrations were tagged all over the city: 

My favorite was the panda:

The hubby loved this Yoda stencil

love the kitty!

these little men were all over town!
This tromp l'oil building was somewhere off of Diagonal Avenue

Of course, you can't go to Barcelona without seeing any of the architecture by Antoni Gaudi. 

The Sadgrada Familia (The Sacred Family) is a basilica in the heart of the city. Sadly, it seems like they are always doing construction on it...
The view of the Sagrada Familia from Gaudi Parc, across the street.
The inside of the Sagrada Familia is picturesque, too. Every photograph looks like a painting...

The basilica has rainbow stained glass!

The front doors of the Sagrada Familia, behind the sculpture of Jesus
Detail of the front doors...

The Sagrada Familia is home to one of the oddest altars I have ever seen.

If you want to get spooked, I recommend viewing the building at night. The church during the day evokes a sense of what is holy, but at night, it is super scary and hellish- The sharp corners of the sculptures cast dark shadows and create a creepy effect.

Every Barcelona visitor has to go to Parc Guell. It's home to Gaudi's famous "dragon" & many street performers. The park is one of the most unique places to see a jumble of different mosaics, arches, you name it.

The dragon

A mosaiced glass ceiling

Casa Vicens is not open to the public, since somebody actually lives there! It's a cool place to walk by if you have time, since it's an architectural anomaly for the area.

Casa Battló is a Gaudi-designed home.

About 2 or 3 blocks up from Battló is Casa Mila, an apartment building that Gaudi designed. It's worth a tour, since the view of the city from the rooftop is beautiful and the funky mosaics crowning the patio.

Casa Mila as viewed from the street

Casa Mila from the interior courtyard

The rooftop of Casa Mila

One of the biggest tourist destinations in Barcelona is Las Ramblas, a pedestrian street that is over a mile long, which has tons of vendors along it.

The end of a building on Las Ramblas

A building on Las Ramblas with funky umbrella type shapes on it

The beautiful stained glass arches beckon visitors into La Boqueria, a large market that sells all sorts of goodies

Get Your Craft On!

Just off of Las Ramblas is Casa Torres bead shop. It's a small store with an interesting variety of beads. It's definitely worth a trip if you're in the area. Nobody here speaks English, unfortunately. In order to purchase beads, you must get a ticket. You can browse and put beads into a basket, and when your number comes up, the clerk will tally up the price of the beads for you.

The window display gives a faint idea of what types of things that they sell
Next door to Casa Torres is a tiny hole-in-the-wall (literally, you couldn't fit 3 people in there) shop called Xaloc that sells lots of handmade items. Even if you don't stock up on gifts to bring home, it's worth a trip just to get some DIY inspiration!

Close to Casa Torres is a tiny square with a large church. Across from the church is a tall building with a very odd façade- It has reliefs of different virtues all over it. 


A close up of the building

Downstairs in this building is a knife/scissor shop with a very attractive display

While you're near Las Ramblas, head a few blocks west and you'll land right smack in the middle of El Raval. El Raval used to be a sketchy part of Barcelona, famous for its questionably ethical dealings, but it has transformed over the past few decades into a super diverse community. Along with the ethnically diverse population, it has become a residence for local artists, too. You can see all kinds of cool things in this area.

There are lots of eccentric buildings, like this mosaic façade of an Indian restaurant
Naturally, where the artists are is where the street artists are, too. Many of the retractable doors in el Raval have beautiful murals or graffiti on them.

The large square in El Raval is also home to a large cat sculpture by Fernando Botero.

Here, kitty kitty!

Oh! It's a boy kitty!

 This cool building was off of the square with the Botero sculpture

Cannibal is another local spot to find handmade jewelry and clothing!

Agbar Tower is a landmark in Barcelona, especially for its nightly blue and red illumination. The building sparked a lot of controversy during its construction because of its phallic resemblance. Over time, it has become a symbol of the city.

Planeta's company building near the Maria Cristina stop on the metro is super funky. The entire two buildings have plants all along the outside...

 Catalunya en Petit is an art environment near Saint Andreu that was created by Isidre Castells. I wrote an entire post about it, if you'd like to learn more.

When you're fatigued from sightseeing and exploring the city, you should head over to Pudding. Pudding is a café just a little bit east of the Passeig de Grácia station at 90 Carrer de Pau Claris. The store is two stories: One is themed Alice and Wonderland and the other the circus. They have top-notch snacks and wonderful drinks. It's a great and inspiring place to sit and read, sketch, or just enjoy yourself. 

Near the Marina

Walking down Paral-lel towards the marina, you get this view of a sculpture in the middle of the roundabout!

Lichtenstein's famous sculpture of a girl's face. Located near the aquarium.

These fun sculptures were in the ocean at the marina!

Needless to say, I was very sad to leave this beautiful city behind. I saw lots of amazing sites and things and I'm sure that I didn't even skim the top of everything! Barcelona, te amo!

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