Lisbon

(( This section will soon be refurbished, please stay tuned ))

 

I found 2008's Lisbon graffiti more reflective compared to the spectacular graffiti in Granada. More chilled out.

What could this one be about? "The walls are the publisher of the poor" A fantastic idea to spray on a wall. And what a brilliant design. I've just googled it, thinking it might be a quote, and you won't believe this. I didn't find any quote, but this bit of graffiti is already on loads of websites. And one French website has included it in a booklet of graffiti photos taken in Lisbon & Oporto at the end of July '08. ''Témoignage fugace d'un art urbain riche'' they call it. Fleeting testimony of a rich urban art? Maybe I should have my own booklet printed!

Hey, I was in Lisbon in June! Was I lucky? Or am I being manipulated? Maybe I don't have my own existence. I might be an avatar in a video game. Some geeky no-life weirdo is using me to collect graffiti for him to win nerdy points

 

I like the simplicity here. But I can't simply look at see something like this and either appreciate it or write it off. I have to think what's behind it. Who went to the trouble of cutting out this stencil? Why this particular symbol? Why choose 'made in russia' in English? Why not Portuguese? Or Russian? Or why not take idea of the symbol & Russian & muck around with the characters and put something like Maдз iИ Яussia? Then again, these might be meaningless mass-produced ready-made stencils bought in some graffiti mega-store, aimed at a new generation of rich-kid would-be graffitiers who have everything handed to them on a plate. Too fat & pampered & lazy to make their own stencils. Maybe these kids don't actually spray. I can picture their bored asses sitting in their dad's Lexus while the chauffeur gets his hands dirty doing the actual biz. Hang on, I suddenly don't like this piece as much as I did

 

How enigmatic! Lips of wine? Simple, yet... Was it a reference to something that everyone in Lisbon would have known about? Was I missing something? Or would it have been as mysterious for the locals as it was for me? It could be the name of a local group. What kind of music would they play? It'd be a brave name for a rap group. Wait! Notice the faces drawn inside 'lábios'? Maybe a young lad (on the right, with his tongue out) proudly sprayed it for all to see. His nickname for his girlfriend (on the left): wine lips. Which wine? Which lips? Indeed

As graffiti goes, this must count amongst the classiest ever. Portugal is famous for its painted glazed tiles, but this takes the biscoito. Another enigmatic statement, leaving me with more questions. A woman saying 'I'm better now, thanks'. The 'a' at the end of 'obrigada' tells you it's a woman tiling this graffiti, otherwise it would be 'obrigado'. I imagine her being an old reclusive once-famous fado singer, leaving this message for her worried fans. Yes, that's it. And you heard it here first, folks

The daft frivolousness of this graffiti....

...contrasts with the seriousness of this stark one. Look at the handcuffs. Why is the girl's head bowed? Shiver time!

There is something Mayan and aboriginal about this. I love how it fits into the contours of the building. There's a symbiosis. The graffiti might have started out as a parasite. But now the wall needs the graffiti as much as the graffiti needs the wall

'Where is my God?' I was on holiday! I hadn't expected to be provoked into philosophical theological argument. Especially not scrawled on a wall. I've thought a lot about it since, and I still don't know the answer, and it keeeps me awake at night. Maybe if I go back to Lisbon I'll find an answer sprayed on the wall. Or at least a bit of guidance to point me in the right direction. But would I remember where this street was?

I like it when I can see a series developing. One piece of graffiti in one street. Then another piece in another street which obviously belongs with the first. I feel the same excitement I remember when I was a kid & first learnt to read. Picking my own books in the school library was then the doorway into my own world, one that I'd discovered all by myself, with no grown-ups involved. Apart from the writer. Oh, and the illustrator. The agent. Proof-reader. Publisher. Blurb writer. Dedicated marketing team. Benches full of lawyers. Reams of accountants......

Maybe Lisbon council is being hip, getting on down with the kids by using graffiti messages instead of advertising hoardings. Or is this the tram company trying to be hip. Cashing in on cool graffiti caché by decorating its trams? Or is the graffiti a homage to the cool trams? Which came first, the graffiti chicken or or the graffiti egg? I found the chicken in Barcelona

22 Feb '09 I've just ruined the magic of my speculation, by googling 'lisbon chill out tour'.  Yes, you guessed it...

http://lisbonchill-out.blogspot.com/

This looks a bit sinister. But I did see a few variations. Not revealing a wide range of emotions, that's true. I'm glad he's not smiling. I think that would somehow be even more sinister

As I turned around a dark corner one night, I stopped in my tracks. I thought it was a fellah actually pissing against the wall

I glanced at this wall for second and almost continued on my way. It just looked like a lot of mess. But something made me check it out. And I'm glad I did

Is this a self-destructive graffiti artist painting over himself? Ashamed of the effect his vandalism has on the city?

I promise you I did not place this bottle on the ground for a photo opportunity

 There is a bit more Lisbon graffiti on the Django-Fado page