When going abroad our daughter always does a lot of research and one of the things she likes to do is find free walking tours. Having done a daytime one to acquaint ourselves with the city, we decided to do a street art walk.
Arriving in the square we were met by the guide, because they want a tip at the end they are often lively characters who really sell the area. The group was reasonably large and we soon set off. Learning about the history of the area proved interesting. We were told about the early social problems and how artists had moved into areas and started to produce the artwork.
The types we would see included, 'Tagging' where letters or words were used on as many surfaces as possible; the more difficult the place, the more Kudos the artist achieved. These were mainly illegal.
With Urban art, the artists have legal permission and these can have a cultural heritage. The one shown, although at first, this just appears to be a car falling; it works on a couple of other levels. On one it tells of a 1973 car bombing where a politician was killed and also tells of a scandal about someone called Casandra .
This was by Steve,one of the more famous Valencian artists and like Banksy his work is very popular
The next type is Gorilla art, which is illegal. Here no one often knows what the artist looks like. Examples of this, were the several images of a Ninja figure around the town. The artist is a man called David De Limon, who has a political or social message which can also have a global message. This artist was controversial at first but is now considered to be main stream. There are over 500 Ninjas around Valencia.
Another one of the famous artists is 'Disneylexya' who has a style reminiscent of Aztec art but at the same time, it reminds you of a painting by Picasso. These works were some of my favourites with their geometric shapes and details.
The next stop introduced us to one of the most disturbing images Fasim's "Stop Victim's of War" mural. "The origin and the meaning of the completion of this large mural is based on the unbearable reality of the day to day disasters caused by war, affecting civilians; men, women, children, and elderly people".
The piece reminds us of the famous painting by Guernica by Picasso.
Although most of the early artists were male, the guide told us now they were outnumbered by female artists. As we explored further, we met one of these, as we were stood by her painting and Barbie was good enough to pose for us . She paints pink bunnies, in this case Pippi Longstocking which was a response to Playboy bunnies, which identify women as sexual beings.
Another female artist includes flowers in her work with hope being her message in the decorative paintings.
The most respected of the Valencian artists is Deih, whose work was first seen in 1994. Other artists will not tag or deface his work, as sometimes happens, as a sign of respect. His theme is the universe, space travellers, in a universe of strangeness, with metallic symbols and an apocalyptic style.
His work was very impressive, taking about four hours and can even be seen in hotel foyers.
The final stop was to see a collaboration by several of the artists on a long wall. Although a commission, they had used the work as a protest, supporting the local community who wanted the council to develop the fenced off piece of land into a nice park for them to enjoy.
This was a fitting end to our walk. It had been fascinating even if we did suffer from an overload of information at times. Although we only saw a small portion of the artwork, it was a good introduction to the area. The only complaint was that we didn't finish back at the square where we started from. This was quite upsetting for an elderly couple who found it hard to understand the instructions given on how to get back to the square.
I would recommend these walks, although at times I personally would prefer to explore on my own particularly with the city tour and find the sights myself. Having said that, they are ideal for single travellers who would feel safer in a group, when visiting some of the side streets.