The Garden of the Three Chimneys: Barcelona’s graffiti temple23 February 2022
Finding graffiti in Barcelona is surprisingly easy. In fact, there is graffiti in every neighbourhood, even the most exclusive ones! Discovering PEZ‘s little fish or the signatures of other Barcelona artists doesn’t require much effort, just an eye-opener. But I wanted to discover graffiti artists at work and it was thanks to a post by the artist Natalia Molinero on Instagram that I spotted that she was often at Jardin de las Tres Xemeneies. I quickly realised that this place was a must-see spot for graffiti in Barcelona and that it was right in the city centre! So I went there on a sunny Saturday to see what it was all about!
A concrete garden full of flashy graffiti!
Leaving the El Raval district, I head for the Garden of the Three Chimneys. It’s easy to find your way around, as they stand at over 72 metres high! To avoid taking the Avenida del Paral-lel, which is not the most pleasant in Barcelona, I head into the small streets of the Poble Sec district, whose roller shutters and parking doors are almost all covered in paint!
As we approach the Garden, the shutters give way to much flashier structured blazes! As you can imagine, when you see a lot of graffiti, you see a lot of styles! Everything here is explosive!
In fact I have no idea why the place is called “Garden”! The three chimneys are the remains of the old power station La Canadenca, a jewel of the Spanish industry. We arrive on a completely concrete esplanade whose slope delights skateboarders. The huge area allows everyone to show their talent and a sort of Blockhaus is said to be used as a stage for concerts. You have the feeling of being in no man’s land when in fact you are in the heart of Barcelona! The atmosphere is eclectic, even chaotic and obviously not a single wall is without graffiti!
It’s hard to concentrate on one wall in particular because the cacophony of colours and the density of the graffiti are so obvious. After a good breath, I decide to walk along wall after wall, taking care to avoid crazy skaters and dancers of all kinds. I quickly recognise some of PEZ‘s graffiti, and get lost in the hundreds of Blazes that cover all the styles of graffiti: block buster, bubble, old, wild,… Some frescoes that must have been magnificent are covered by others and there are even Street Artists who think they are Picasso!
My greatest pleasure was to stumble upon Natalia Molinero painting a large wall with her funny “characters”! She calls them visitors, they are laughing, mocking, sometimes a little damaged and can also be completely creepy! A slightly crazy comic book universe that makes you smile.
After a short discussion with the artist who confirms that there is another spot in the direction of the port, I take a last look around this playground and watch with perplexity these three chimneys rising into the sky. The colours blurred in my head and I had the impression of being immersed in another world which resembles the Bronx more than the idea of Barcelona!
The other temple of Graffiti in Barcelona: The Gardens of Walter Benjamin
A few hundred metres from the Three Chimneys Garden, another garden! This time it’s real gardens… Even if they were under construction on the day of my visit, we are far from the concrete atmosphere we experienced a few minutes before! Here again we understand that graffiti is king in Barcelona! Less Blaze and Tags oriented, we find more structured works by graffiti artists who have mostly adopted the highly Instagrammable square format. The atmosphere is softer and I have a little crush on this portrait by the artist Sonet.
We find all the codes that make this place an excellent graffiti spot for Barcelona, from political graffiti with Felipe Pincel‘s work “Palestina Libre“, a little Kawaï manga side with the Cat Lady by the Argentinian graffiti artist Mako Fufu, a futuristic rat by the graffiti artist and tattoo artist Zoen, and many others… up to Natalia Molinero‘s visitors, of course!
Just like on the side of the three chimneys, we find crews of young graffiti artists making Blazes. Here, no more raw Block Letter but ultra-worked Blazes. Their writings are much more researched and the relief work, the dripping or the shine transpire concentration! I must admit that I am much more sensitive to this type of graffiti 😉
There’s no question that graffiti is king in Barcelona!
Honestly, few big cities can boast of having such playgrounds! Of course we have Spot 13 in Paris, but it is unfortunately ephemeral! Whereas here these two spots seem to be safe and completely integrated in the mentalities. If you are passionate about graffiti, go there as soon as possible! And to complete your stay in Barcelona, don’t hesitate to go to Poblenou before it’s too late. Beautiful murals await you. Even if this district is in complete mutation, it will still be able to offer you real jewels.
I’ll leave you with the little Live that I made during my visit to the Jardin des Trois Cheminées, which will give you an even better idea of this giant playground.
Of course I’ll be putting on my trainers as soon as possible to set off on new Street Art adventures!
See you soon