Tag Archives: art

el nino de las pinturas, el niño de las pinturas, graffiti, granada, spain, españa, violin

CBBH Photo Challenge: Street Art

For months now, I’ve been meaning to get involved with Marianne’s (of East Of Malaga) monthly photo challenge. I suppose I hadn’t until today because I don’t really fancy myself as a great photographer. I take pictures of what I like, edit them, stick a few in a blog post slideshow and that’s about it. My thought process rarely extends beyond that. This month’s theme though – ‘Street Art’ – got me interested. I mean, how couldn’t I participate, given that we in Granada are fortuitous enough to have El Niño de las Pinturas among us. This guy has been smearing Granada’s dull, lifeless walls with his vivid and magnetising imagination for 20 years now. Exactly 20 years, in fact; a documentary about him was made and premiered last weekend in a local realejo bar (my neck of the woods). He has daubed countless pieces in that time, and to choose my two favourites has been virtually impossible! So I chose four instead. Is that cheating? Marianne? In any case, I absolutely adore the style and depth in all of them, and particularly the interpretation in the one of the giraffe. For a look at other examples of his work see my original post here.

IMG 4589 copy CBBH Photo Challenge: Street Art

‘Cansao de no encontrar respuesta, decidí cambiar mis preguntas’ (Tired of not finding an answer, I decided to change my questions)

IMG 4617 copy CBBH Photo Challenge: Street Art

La Violinista joven

IMG 4600 copy CBBH Photo Challenge: Street Art

El Girafe

IMG 4670 copy CBBH Photo Challenge: Street Art

La Violinista mayor

But the CBBH Photo Challenge is more than just an opportunity to show off your camera skills; it is a blog hop as well. The first ‘C’ and ‘B’, after all, do stand for conejo blanco (white rabbit). So each post posted in response to Marianne’s original post must include two links to two other blogs that the blogger has visited and commented on in the last month, so that his/her readers can ‘hop’ over to some unchartered corner of the frankly enormous blogosphere. It’ all about helping each other out you see. And we’re good at that in Spain.

So I will take this opportunity to direct you to Clare of Need Another Holiday. Clare’s blog, much like my own, new blog, focuses on part-time travel, as opposed to those that celebrate a nomadic and often vagrant existence. She has been all over. But mostly Greece. She absolutely loves Greece.

Secondly, I’d like to shout out to a blogger who has really wowed me with her vlog series recently. Jess, of HolaYessica!, blogs about Barcelona and various Spanish escapades. Her output rate is frankly unbelievable and her style and writing standards never falter. She’s also – fittingly – excellent with a camera. So go and say hi, and tell her that I sent you!

If you want to take part in the CBBH Photo Challenge, just head over to Marianne’s blog and read on. It’s fun and gives you a chance to share those pics that deserve to be seen!

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google doodle granada, granada, spain

Granada got Google doodled

I’m still unsure as to whether it was only us who saw it – i.e. might it have just been an IP address thing, or something – or, if on Sunday morning millions of other web users woke up to the Google doodle of Granada adorning the Google homepage.

I’d love to hear from you if you live on the other side of the world and you saw it. It would settle a bet or two put it that way.

The image showed Granada’s resplendent Alhambra Palace perched atop the city’s winding and historical labyrinth barrio, The Albaícin, whose streets were formed to depict the famous search engine’s letters. While technically this is not an accurate representation of Granada’s actual layout, it did manage to include what are perhaps the two most prominent features of the city, and in some style.

google doodle granada default Granada got Google doodled

The doodle was displayed in celebration of the creation of ‘El Reino de Granada’ a thousand years ago. June 16, 1013, according to the history books, was the official date that Granada was founded by one Abu Mozni Zawi Ibn Zeire Ibn Balkin al-Zanhegi of the Zirid dynasty.

What an absolute belter of a name that is. I’d love to go around saying I was of the Taylor dynasty, or that I’ve got five ‘Z’s in my name. My mum always used to call me by my full name when she got cross with me. I wonder if his did the same. Must have been a right mouthful. And his signature must have been ridiculous. But hey, at least he didn’t have to write it on forms an infinite amount of times in Spanish governmental offices.

Anyway, despite the anniversary being on Sunday, no celebrations actually took place in the city. WHAT!? An occasion as momentous as this and there was no fiesta to commemorate it?

Relax. We operate on Spanish time here remember? The celebrations will in fact commence this Thursday, with live concerts and various educative exhibitions happening all over the city, and all the usual street parades thrown in as well.

The celebration – named ‘Milenio en las calles’ is scheduled to carry on through the summer with further live events in some of the city’s most emblematic milieus, and will complement the staggered ’13 del 13’ events program – thirteen separate cultural events that have been in the works since January. Should be good.

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el niño de las pinturas, el niño, granada, art, graffiti, josh taylor

Graffiti in Granada, and why it should stay…

Last year I posted about Granadino graffiti artist El Niño de las Pinturas. He’s something of a local hero round here, owing to his trademark and instantly recognisable style that adorns the city’s walls, particularly in my bario, El Realejo.

Each piece I have seen is extraordinarily well done, and I insist on taking any friends on a tour of his works each time I am visited. Neither they nor anybody I’ve met here in Granada has ever had a bad word to say about the mystery man’s cultured contributions. Often he is invited by local businesses to come and jazz up their dull and colourless walls, and a couple of the local museums in town even feature him in their brochures. It gives Granada an urban edge that it would otherwise lack.

So it came as a shock when I happened to walk by one of my favourite pieces near the infamous, el niño-fied house, to find that it had  been scrubbed away. Well, nearly anyway. Whoever had been assigned the task hadn’t done a very good job of it; there was still half of it left, as if to suggest that the design had been defiled out of pure spite.

img 4692 copy Graffiti in Granada, and why it should stay...

Las Caras, back in October

imag0226 Graffiti in Granada, and why it should stay...

…and now

What is the point?

Fair enough, at the end of the day these walls are somebody else’s property, and el niño, among other urban artists (some of whose works are admittedly a lot uglier in comparison) probably don’t have permission to use them. But what’s done is done, and as a matter of fact they (el niño’s contributions at least) actually brighten the place up, and bring an extra element to Granada’s cultural side.

I desperately hope that this isn’t the start of a mass graffiti-ridding project. There’s good graffiti and there’s bad graffiti, and el niño de las pinturas is unquestionably of the former sort.

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Dragon Festival, Spain, Santa Fe

6 Reasons to go to Dragon Festival in Santa Fe, Spain

It might be raining outside, but that won’t be stopping festival-starved merrymakers the nation over from flocking to what has arguably become Spain’s most legendary free rave, Dragon Fest, this weekend. The shindig will be held in Santa Fe, Andalucía for the third year running, after floods in its original homeland of Orgíva – a quiet, hippie town which can be read all about at all about at con jamón spain – caused irreparable damage in 2010.

The principle of Dragon is simple. Turn up, armed with booze, food, some sturdy footwear, a pair of trunks and a full-blown appetite for pounding pounding techno music, and run wild and free for however long you may wish to do so. It’s all in the spirit of spontaneity and good fun – free, good fun, might I add – something that is hard to come by these days.

I attended 2012’s event, and had an absolute blast. Here’s why:

  • Just in case you missed it, I’ll say it again: It’s free! No entry fee, no pitching charges and no moneygrubbing commercial stalls. It’s completely non-profit, and you can stay for as long as you want (that’s not to say that everything is free, however, so bring plenty of cash, food and water if you do go).
  • The music is surprisingly good, given that none of the participating DJs are paid for their efforts. It does tend to tilt primarily toward psychedelic trance, or ‘gabber’ as it is affectionately known, though if this gets a bit much (it can easily happen) then other dance genres and random/improvised/often quite drunk bands can be found just about anywhere.
  • Its location is miles away from anywhere – perfect for a festival of Dragon’s nature. In order to reach it, if a car isn’t to hand, a bus must first be taken to local town Santa Fe, from where festivalgoers hoof it the rest of the way. While a two hour or so walk along a wide-open, dusty road in the middle of the day may not be the most appealing of thoughts, the prospect of reaching your ever-nearing, hippie-humming oasis drives you on with the utmost determination. Once you finally reach the finish line, it soon becomes clear just why it was such a good idea to come. My arrival beer last year – a no frills Día special – was possibly my best ever. Gone in seconds, but never forgotten.
  • There’s a hot springs. Yes, you read it right! Last year I spent an entire afternoon steadily recovering from a grueling hangover by this gently bubbling tarn. I was joined by many others, some clothed and some not so clothed. It was great fun, not too crowded and with the weather on our side made for an unforgettable day. Though I wouldn’t recommend coming if the sight of dense foliage and swinging manbits easily upsets you. This is a proper hippie festival.
  • The food is amazing, and extraordinarily cheap. Last year, there seemed to be endless supplies of fresh paellas, curries and other, miscellaneous home-baked (or campervan-baked, rather) food being flogged like it was going out of fashion. All of them delicious. Fortunately, ‘fashion’ is a senseless and decidedly ridiculous concept at Dragon so we had no problem devouring as much of it as humanly possible.
  • Go for the people. There is no trouble, heavy-handed security or any (well, hardly any) of the usual loutish idiots you find at most British festivals; just a bunch of peaceful, chatty and very friendly people looking to enjoy themselves under a (fingers crossed) bright, blue Andalucían sky.

Dragon has by no means lived a trouble-free life since its conception in 1997, and was looking slightly done for following a Guardia Civil led offensive on the alleged ‘organisers’ of the event back in 2009. More on that next week though – wouldn’t want this post to, ha, ‘drag on’ now would I eh?

Ahem. Hopefully see one or two of you there. Thanks for reading. J

* Click here to read my article on Dragon Fest published with Clash Magazine icon smile 6 Reasons to go to Dragon Festival in Santa Fe, Spain

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Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

Throughout the 10 months or so that I have been lucky enough to call myself a resident of Granada, I have always been fascinated with the plethora of unrivalled Graffiti that adorns the historical city’s walls. Some of it, admittedly, is either of a shoddy or unremarkable standard, but a handsome percentage of this urban art is nothing short of awe-inspiring. There are, I’m sure, hundreds of would-be-artists claiming recognition for some of the city’s most famed pieces, but if you were to stop beside one and ask a number of passing locals if they knew the name of the artisan behind it, you would most likely hear just one answer: El Niño de las Pinturas (The Child of The Paintings). This guy is a proper legend. And I mean PROPER. For years he has been smearing previously dull-white walls with his unmistakable signature across the whole of Granada. Some of his pieces have featured in art magazines, documentaries and are now even considered a tourist attraction by the Granada Tourism Board, who will only be too happy to point art-ardent tourists in the right direction.

“Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place. Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place.” 

Banksy, Wall and Piece

The best part is, he remains a mystery. Well, perhaps not entirely, as I’m sure there are plenty of locals who would instantly recognise him in the street, but  amongst us ‘giris’, the man’s face is as recognisable as a long lost aunt’s after two car crashes and several facelifts. A friend of mine was adamant that she knew the luminary’s identity, but after a terribly awkward yet hilarious (for me) conversation in a pub, the alleged master-painter (no, ‘painter’, not ‘bater’) turned out to be a full-time ice-cream vendor. Whoever he is, he’s supposed to be really nice anyway; another friend was lucky enough to have part of her garden wall painted by him, though the piece, sadly, has remained unfinished for years. Anyhow, I considered it not only a resident’s unmitigated duty, but a wholly gratifying experience to wander Granada’s streets and capture a selection of the legendary artist’s most stunning efforts. Scroll away…

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 Granada: Home Is Where The Art Is

 

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