Graffiti is one of the most democratic and yet politically divisive art forms in the world. In the early 2000s, Barcelona was one of the most exciting places in the world to be if you were a street artist. The city overflowed with talented street artists and a strong tradition of culture, and attracted internationally renowned artists like Banksy, Space Invaders, London Police or Os Gemeos to come and create art on the city walls. From 2000 – 2004, Barcelona enjoyed a Golden Age of street art and muralism, which spawned the careers of many famous Spanish artists. In the beginning of 2006, the local government began to enforce strict laws and penalise artists for illustrating their urban environments. Today, Spain is in the midst of a deep economic crisis and unemployment is at the highest rate of all history. Cultural spending across the board has been slashed, and yet the local Barcelona Government spends 2 million euros a year on cleaning up the city from street art. At the same time, the Government allows global brands to drape some of the city’s most historic buildings with 50 metre advertising billboards. In other cities like Lisbon, Berlin, New York, Toronto or Rio De Janeiro, street art is not only encouraged, but it is one of the things that attracts people to these vibrant cities. This documentary looks at the development and highlights of street art in Barcelona and asks whether the present day draconian laws are part of a wider global problem that sees governments increasingly making decisions about its citizen’s urban environments without asking them what they want. Directed from the personal viewpoint of well known Barcelonian artist, Aleix Gordo Hostau this film features artists such as Pez, Dixon, Olivia, Dr.Case, Sixe, Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada, Kram as well as policy makers, politicians and advertising brand managers who use the aesthetics of street art to push their global brands on to a society which can’t afford to buy them. The film looks at the specific scene of Barcelona but also questions the broader global implications about the hypocrisy which allows global brands to use advertising to pollute the visual environment, but which penalizes genuine artistic expression. Are we living in a world in which online global brands have greater power over the government than the citizens who vote them in? Have we become so disengaged and disempowered about from what our urban environments should look like or is there a way of changing things?
Aleix Gordo Hostau started drawing as a child and never stopped. His career began in the publishing world, has since developed his experience in fields like advertising illustration, fashion, comics, graphic design or muralism. He has worked for advertising agencies, fashion brands and exhibited his work in countries like Holland, Portugal, Brazil, Austria, Italy, India and USA. He has created artworks for Pepe Jeans London, Vans, Panini or Montana Colors. His style is strongly influenced by everyday street art. Today Aleix focuses his career as an illustrator, muralist and street artist.
Director / Co Producer:
Gustavo López Lacalle and is a filmmaker based in Barcelona (Spain). Gustavo has a degree in journalism and was naturally drawn to documentary film as a way to capture and document his world vision. He completed an International Documentary Cinema Master and severals courses in editing, photography and video. Gustavo met Aleix Gordo Hostau in 1995, after he’d finished his second documentary as director ”24 hours, 24 pages”. Together they collaborated on various audiovisual projects and created Goho Estudio.
Melanie Horkan is a producer who works across drama and documentary productions in Europe, Canada and Australia. Her most recent credit was as Associate Producer with Polar Star Films on Google and the World Brain, which premiered at Sundance 2013 and The Defector – Escape from North Korea, IDFA 2012, Hot Docs 2013 and Adelaide Documentary Film Festival 2013.
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