Graffiti in Madrid – What are they going to do about it?

Malasaña, Weird : Quirky : Fun

by Ben Curtis

Madrid graffiti

I’ve noticed an increasing amount of graffiti all over the capital recently. I don’t even know if the tags scrawled all over every bare surface can be dignified with the term ‘graffiti’ – there certainly isn’t any art to most of it. The worse cases are found in the barrio of Malasaña (as in the photo above), where streets like Calle de la Palma are plastered from one end to the other with these horrible scrawls. The result is that one of the nicest old quarters in the city is starting to look a like scene from a distopic-future video game.

What do you do with these people? How have other cities stopped them? The problem is clearly out of control in Madrid.

More photos after the jump:

Madrid graffiti

Madrid graffiti

Madrid graffiti

Madrid graffiti

Madrid graffiti

Madrid graffiti


Comment from carl
Date: March 9, 2007, 12:43 am

I hate the grafitti. Dating myself, I remember when there was none. Only a handfull of “taggers” did graffiti and the best one was “Muelle”. It actually was art. Does anybody remember “Muelle”?

Comment from ben
Date: March 9, 2007, 8:57 am

I guess Muelle was before my time… I remember a big saw that was sprayed on every hoarding in the north of Madrid, on the way up the A6 and into the sierra, but that seems to have gone now too…

Comment from Carl
Date: March 9, 2007, 4:12 pm

I know it was before your time Ben – just because you were not in Madrid then. This was about 1985 to maybe even 1995 there was a few left. I bet Marina would know. I will try to post a picture of his work. Everywhere you went in the city there were big “Muelle’s” and little Muelle’s, always nicely done with different colors.

Comment from Carl
Date: March 9, 2007, 4:15 pm

Found him:

But, I’m ashamed to admit I don’t know how to make it a link – little help Ben?

Comment from Carl
Date: March 9, 2007, 4:16 pm

Wow – it’s automatic!

Comment from ben
Date: March 9, 2007, 6:20 pm

Thanks for the pic, I’ve never seen Muelle anywhere… I wonder what he does now!?

Pingback from Madrid Neighbourhoods: Malasaña – Still Putting the Mad in Madrid? – Notes from Madrid
Date: November 20, 2007, 11:12 am

[...] The mindless graffiti and affable goths seem a lukewarm legacy of La Movida Madrileña (the capital’s post-Franco wild years) which kicked off in Malasaña in the Seventies. However, some of Spain’s cultural revolutionaries (the ones who didn’t die of heroine overdoses) are still to be spotted slinking around the barrio, ensuring that the party spirit lives on. Meanwhile, gentrification has led to some great shopping and eating options. [...]

Comment from Stephen mason
Date: September 17, 2008, 9:08 pm

Having just returned from Madrid I found the huge amounts of graffiti depressing..for lots of reasons..

a. virtually none has any artistic merit, reason or purpose

b. It shows a tolerance for mindless desecration of some beautiful things – that people don’t seem too mind..and a real slippery slope.

c. A damming indictment of the youth of madrid that seem to worship at this alter of nihilism – though it is not nihilism, since that has some thought behind it.

I am all for revolution, free expression etc but writing your name on a wall or glass thousands of times just shows that you are just a self obsessed wanker!