Street art has been
recently gaining ground in cities across Romania. Extremely accessible though it
may seem, street art is actually visible to the very few, that is to those who
can notice it in their routine journeys. That is how an initiative promoting
street art has emerged, encouraging people to take a walk around the city, and
that is what we shall be focusing on today, exploring a resourceful and colorful
Our guest is the
organizer of one of the alternative tours around the city, Valentin Dobrin. He
told us such an idea crossed his mind in 2018, after a city break in Berlin,
since Berlin is a hot sport of street art in Europe, but also around the world.
took part in alternative tour there, I liked the idea a lot and, when I came
back home, I wondered whether we too had something similar, as I knew that in
recent years street art has been literally booming, with a growing number of
murals being seen everywhere. I found out there were two such tours, yet they
were tailored for the people who visited the city. I came up with the idea of
creating a tour myself, which could be accessible to Bucharesters, and not only
to tourists. And that's how it all started ."
I am a Bucharester
myself, and as soon as I learned that, I wondered whether I really knew what
the city had in store for me, of whether other people knew that. I had my
doubts, and my doubts were confirmed by our guest, Valentin Dobrin, who told us
that usually, people don't know what they pass by.
of them know only two or three such spots. They know a little bit about local
artists, they also know some of them, yet a great part of what I show had been
unbeknownst to them, and in the long run they are flabbergasted, saying they
had passed by this or that spot a hundred times before but they never imagined
such a beauty existed behind this or that block of flats. The tour is available
in the city center of Bucharest. We depart from Revolution Square, we take a
walk along Victoria Road for a little while, then we head towards Grivita Road
and from there, we take to Romana Square. It takes us about three and a half
hours to complete it."
The community of street
artists has begun to grow, just as Valentin Dobrin told us.
the artists, they hail from various milieus. Some of the kids who once did
Graffittis have grown into street artists, passing from Graffitti to street art
is something quite natural. In much the same way as some of the artists used to
be comics artist, for instance, or as illustrators end up drawing murals. Latterly,
the community has been growing, I believe we're speaking about an organic and
very beautiful progress of street art in Bucharest. Street art does not only
mean mural art, street art interventions can take the form of a sticker, decals
that are stuck on pillars, traffic signs or paste-ups, or a drawing that the
artist had done at home beforehand and pasted on the street, in a hurry, but
there are other kinds as well."
We're on the borderline
separating the legal from the illegal, since official consents are always
obtained for large-scale street interventions, but for the smaller ones, their
authors simply skip the official phase. We
Street art works do have a wide range of themes they explore.
are extremely varied. They can be social, they can be political, it al depends
on the experience and the feelings of each and every artist. Street art of any
kind, starting off from Graffittis, murals stickers and pasteups. There are
artists who even make ceramic figurines, also in public areas, they are not
quite visible, it is impossible to spot them unless somebody shows you where
they are. Also, I am trying to puzzle people out, providing an answer to the
eternal question, is it art or is it vandalism. Many people take the former for
the latter, many people cannot tell Graffitti from street art and then I try to
make things clear to that end as well. A Graffitti is something written on a
wall, or a drawing somebody made for advertising purposes. All they are interested
in is for their names to be somewhere on the wall so that the others may see
it. As for street art, it begs to differ, it is also an inscription or a drawing,
yet it has a message, according to the onlookers. When a drawing triggers a
reaction from the onlooker, from my point of view, that is street art."
We all want to take a
walk around beautiful spots, so here's the invitation Valentin Dobrin has
launched for us.
"Provided some of the restrictions are no longer in place, the tours are held
on Sundays, beginning 11 am, having the Revolution Square as the departure
point. For further details on that, anyone can visit alternative-bucharest.com,
and, as a rule, the tours are available as long as we have beautiful weather."
(Translation by Eugen Nasta)