Stencils are not too common in Barcelona, but local artist Ezbai has his fragmented portraits on many a block. The faces in his works seem to be caught in mid-expression, revealing their distinct personalities. Though many abuse the quick reproducibility that the stencil allows, Ezbai does not saturate the streets with repeated images but rather uses the technique to represent his subjects’ uniqueness with detail.
Perhaps you may have noticed a trend in my past few weeks of posting: many of the character-based graffiti I find in Barcelona depicts a man’s face. This baffles me. Character-based graffiti is pretty rare here to begin with; in the mid-2000s, the city government began to levy anti-graffiti policies that have deterred many painters from putting up quality work. What remains is lots of messy, scribbled tags, punctuated by the occasional poster pasted up by an out-of-towner. Out of few instances of image-based street art found here, men’s faces–rendered in different styles, with different expressions–dominate the subject matter. I’m not sure what to make of this, but, given the millennia-long tradition of women being the subjects of paintings, sonnets and songs, it’s kind of nice to see things from the other side.