Graffiti and Street Art in Ibiza: A history that is seriously evolving!22 November 2022
Frankly, street art in Ibiza is not part of the island’s DNA. During my first holidays, you could just discover some “PEACE” logos tagged on the walls. We came to Ibiza for the preserved nature in the North of the island, its sumptuous fields of almond trees planted in an ochre earth, to admire a sunset to the rhythm of the drums in Cala Benirrás, to enjoy the charming little wild coves that the island has to offer. Meanwhile, in the south-east of the island, clubbers from all over the world flocked to the wildest nightclubs to the sound of international DJs. And in the South West, low cost tourism was slowly destroying the most beautiful bay of the island, San Antonio. A land full of contrasts and contradictions, where it is good to stroll and enjoy the mild climate. Nothing very artistic on the programme, but some abandoned and isolated places started to catch the eye of local and Barcelona graffiti artists. And then, 12 years ago, the Bloop Festival was born with the motto “Art is for everybody“, which would gradually colour the walls of Ibiza with XXL works by renowned artists. During my last visit to the island, I decided to take stock of the Street Art scene in Ibiza and I must admit that it is much more developed than I thought.
The Festival Club: an abandoned club as ephemeral as it is iconic!
The Festival Club is the first monumental club to be built in Ibiza in 1972! A huge amphitheatre interwoven with smaller amphitheatres. An oversized venue nestled in the heart of the Sant Josep de sa Talaia forest. A place where thousands of fanciful clubbers have feasted for two years. As grandiose as it was ephemeral, the Festival Club closed in 1974, directly affected by the oil crisis of 1973, which caused the island’s summer fauna to disappear. Due to a lack of funds, the place never reopened and became an ideal spot for illegal raves in the 80s and 90s… Graffiti artists started to use the place in the 90s.
Chaotic, like any abandoned place; all that remains of its splendour is the typography used for its name engraved in the stone, which immediately makes me think of Blake Edwards’ film The Party. The torn faces of a Barcelona graffiti artist make the place creepy and the chaos between Blazes, tags and strange works is at its peak!
Nevertheless, at the bend of a fallen wall, some nice surprises are to be discovered! Surprisingly I recognise a few signatures and begin to understand that the Festival Club has also become a playground for foreign artists visiting the island. The French artist Rise Up has created a magnificent lion and there are also the very fun characters of OX-Alien, an artist from Rotterdam.
The Festival Club is not representative of what street art is in Ibiza, but with its structured works, its clattering graffiti, its esoteric representations and other fantasies, it represents the wind of freedom that has been blowing across the island for many years. The place is easily accessible and the somewhat dirt road to get there is not dangerous at all. The icing on the cake is that you will certainly come face to face with a graffiti artist who is contributing to the monumental work that is now the Festival Club!
Cala d’en Serra : Street art in Ibiza with a breathtaking sea view!
From the sea to the mountains; passing from the South to the North of the island, the atmosphere changes completely! The Cala d’En Serra is an amazing place, a jewel of a micro beach wedged between cliffs with warm ochre rocks. Overlooking it are the remains of a hotel that never saw the light of day! And yet the architect behind this hotel was none other than the famous Josep Lluís Sert, who designed the Miró Foundation in Barcelona and the Maeght Foundation in Saint-Paul de Vence France. Known as an important modernist architect and disciple of Le Corbusier, Josep Lluís Sert began work on this hotel in 1970 with the aim of creating cubic rooms overlooking an azure horizon! But he was opposed to the fascism of Franco’s regime and Franco paid him back by blocking the construction of the hotel! The project was constantly postponed and finally abandoned in 1983 when he died. There are still two or even three floors of crumbling cubic structures. The place is in the process of self-destruction and the graffiti artists rush to it before it collapses on itself!
Some works have a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean Sea. But despite the idyllic setting, the atmosphere of the place is really very particular, even ghostly. Here, in the middle of the tags and graffiti, there are many faces. So many faces that one has the strange sensation of being scrutinised by the shadows of a dark past. The cinderblock floors are fragile underfoot and the silt accumulated on the ground floor does not dry out despite the dryness and the oppressive heat. An almost creepy atmosphere that could be chilling!
In this potentially dangerous place, we find Rubio‘s blond character, esoteric works and all sorts of blazes! The place is impressive because of its magical location in contrast to the state of health it is in. If you wish to venture there. I would strongly advise you not to drive down the dirt road; it has been gullied by the rain and is quite dangerous. Stop at the top and continue on foot with good shoes; and be very careful, walking around the floors is really dangerous!
With the Bloop Festival, Street Art in Ibiza changes gear and goes XXL!
The Bloop Festival was created in 2011, and even though I have been to Ibiza a number of times since then, I had no idea how many works were created on the island. Simply because they are located in spots that are overflowing with tourists, which is what I avoid when I go there. With its Mojo “Art is for everybody” the Bloop is committed to totally free, open, inclusive and uncensored art, proactive in the broadest sense. So I decided to take a closer look and went first to San Antonio; a bay really ravaged by “low cost” tourism and a city that is now quite sad because of the impact of Covid. The number of closed shops is impressive. I must admit that even if the Bloop has a website with some addresses of the works and an App, it is not always easy to find your way around!
As soon as I discover the first works, I notice the international dimension of the festival! The Spanish artist Okuda stands next to a nauseating car park with a work by the Belgian artist Bisser. You have already understood between the lines, the stroll in San Antonio is not necessarily a pleasure, the city seems abandoned and little maintained. But curiosity pushes me to continue… And this bad habit pays off because a little further on I come across a somewhat faded but charming work by Inti. The walk pays off and I see a succession of murals by international artists! I recognise at a glance the works of Waone Interesni Kazki, Ukrainian artist, and Phlegme, Welsh artist, which are a few metres from each other.
The more I wander through the streets of San Antonio, the more I find that the atmosphere resembles the area of Athens in which I went hunting for street art. In fact, the works of art do not impose themselves; they slip into an old-fashioned landscape without hurting the eye. Even the flashy “Make Your Voice Heard” by artist Ben Eine seems to have been there forever, frozen in time. So when I come across a work by INO, the Greek artist who has reshaped the image of street art in Athens, I am not surprised.
There is a strange atmosphere in this city; I look for works that I can’t find… censored, I am told! I find a micro part of a work ironed with white… Almost no tags… it seems that urban art is not so welcome! I learn after some research that the English artist David Speed was even arrested by the police and it is the owner of the Melbourne Street café in San Antonio who offered him to put his work on his premises legally!
So it seems that the Bloop festival is succeeding in adversity to build its open-air museum in a progressive way without making too much noise. As we continue to travel around the island, we find a work by INO in the town of Eivissa and numerous works by Spaik (see photo at the beginning of the article) on the clubbers’ beach, Playa d’en Bossa. The little extra would be if the Bloop team could provide urban art lovers with a small interactive map of the works still visible 😉
So beach or street art?
Honestly, if you like urban art, adventure and graffiti, Ibiza will offer you a side you didn’t even imagine… In addition to the magnificent beaches, the hippie or techno parties, the wild landscapes, Ibiza now offers a new tourist attraction. Of course the Bloop Festival is a big part of it, but places like the Festival Club or the Cala d’en Serra will seduce graffiti lovers! Honestly, these places do not remind me of any other. And Street Art in Ibiza is just as special as this very special island. I am impressed by this new identity of the island which knew how to challenge me until making an article of it!
I leave you with a video I made at the Cala d’en Serra, which if you decide to go there, will show you the state of the building and the danger involved!
I’m off to new Street Art adventures and of course, if you liked it, share it!
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