I have been meaning to write about this incredible street art tour I went on in Lisbon. The tour we were on was 3 hours long and many didn’t survive the full tour but me and my partner did and were so much wiser for doing so.
There was so much to say but here are some of the key parts.
The viewing angle can make all the difference
Our guide showed us different examples where something was transformed into a whole new experience when stood in the right place. The one above is well loved and exists in many photos. However our guide talked about the importance of angle and viewpoint. When we moved to the carefully marked ground point, you could see the outline of the building in front obfuscating the other half of the street art.
Uniqueness is obviously key in street art and our conversation with the tour guide was fascinating as he asked if I preferred technique or message. Coming from Bristol, it was about the message but he pointed out one of my likely favourite artists now (Utopia).
Those things which look like brush strokes are not, they are unique ways to spray and it requires a lot of time and practice. So much so, its like a fingerprint.
Subtle statements about politics and religion
Although our guide valued technique over statement. He did show us another piece I had seen previously. The first time I had seen it, it was all about the amazing tile design in Portugal but our guide, pointed out something which looks like eyes, then the mouth. Almost like a devil faces (once you see them you can’t un-see them!). I was thinking where is he going with this, then he pointed out the small church it faced and stoked up the long running issues with Catholicism in Portugal. He left with the point to me, you don’t need to make statements so explicit for them to have an effect.
Highlighting the missed
Once last thing which I didn’t really see previously was other street artists highlighting other work. For example the panda can be seen across Portugal in different styles but its not about the panda. The panda likes something and is drawing attention to something important or great.
The panda likes the gay fishes which symbolises one of Lisbon’s first gay clubs and has been there for decades but is easily missed.
After this street art tour, I’m going to be a lot more choosy about which ones I pay for in the future!