Street life in Olhão

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Dario Silva isn’t a name that I knew until recently.  I’ve been seeing his handiwork around Olhão, in the Eastern Algarve, for a number of years, mostly on old and unloved buildings.  A prolific street artist, in 2009 he was forced to stop using spray paint.  The toxic fumes in the paint were damaging his liver.  But you can’t keep a good artist down.  “The street is my addiction”, he said.

In recovery, he turned to painting with a brush and water-based paints.  It’s a much slower medium but it enables him to continue to paint. His work might once have been regarded as vandalism, but now the commissions are coming in and even the local council have embraced him.  Many think that Olhão is a finer place for his intervention.

Vivenda Victoria is his best known work, in the main street of Olhão

Vivenda Victoria is his best known work

It’s virtually impossible to pass through Olhão without seeing Vivenda Victoria, in it’s abandoned state.  It sits on the E125, at the hub of the town’s shopping area.  Other works of art have started to mushroom in the most unlikely places, but you have to seek them out.

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I had thought to include the street artworks in a Monday walk, but they straggle around some of the town’s less desirable parts, and that is surely the point.  At times I felt a little intrusive, wandering with my camera through the back streets of Olhão.

I had intended to link this post to Thursday’s Special, which this week is themed ‘Abstract’.  By definition abstract means divorced from reality.  My images are rather a reflection of sad reality, but I would urge you to visit Suzanne’s wonderful post.  It might set you thinking.

Do you have a favourite of these?  Mine is still the boy with sad eyes.

131 comments

  1. I love these murals, they have a softness to them. Maybe it’s because of the brush and water paints rather than spray paint. Now I want to visit Olhao just to wander around and feast my eyes.

    1. It’s a funny old place, Julie. Like much of the Algarve it’s a mix of hyper modern and run down back streets. (but I guess you can say that about a lot of places 🙂 ) It does have a bit of an interesting Arabic twist to it, too, so you might well like it. Thanks for the company 🙂

  2. Hello, Johanna. I see your point. This is indeed impressive graffiti with the same proportions of the one I posted of Amsterdam. It seems to also serve the purpose to bring life to a sterile neighborhood.
    This boy’s image is simply enticing.
    Thank you so much for leading me to you post. I truly liked it.
    Have a good day!
    Lucile

    1. I seem to have seen dozens of street art posts in the last few days, AG, so it’s certainly acquiring a higher profile. I’m no fan of the scrawled variety but it can sometimes stop you in your tracks. And I like my art to do that 🙂

  3. Thanks for taking the time to go graffiti hunting for us, ha! 😀 It’s all worth it for us and for you. 😉 If I die, I want it to be from doing what I love to do. No, wait. I take it back. I don’t want to die from blogging. Ahihihi

  4. Greetings from a fellow itchy footed world traveller in the South East coast! I’m so glad you steered me in the direction of this post Jo. What a fascinating place it must be wander around.Yet another one for the ‘ole bucket list! A little reminiscent of Banksy but a lot lot larger and more colourful.

  5. Does you magical presence conjure up magical food for your camera? Your supply of subject matter has to be inexhaustible becaus of magic!

    (As you can see, I’ve recovered into comment.)

  6. Jo that is astonishing! Can you imagine being so artistic that you could paint building and steeple sized murals?! Sorry to hear about his liver issues though.

    1. I believe I’ve mentioned my matchstick men drawing ability before, Sue? It doesn’t exist, so I am totally in awe of this guy. I think he’s fit again now and undertaking indoor commissions as well as street art. 🙂

      1. Yes I do remember that reference Jo. I’m a stick man drawing type myself. Glad to hear that he is getting commissions as well. Deservedly so.

  7. Incredible artwork this Jo. I remember seeing art/graffiti like this in LA and was amazed by some of it. Better than seeing all those horrible letters and weird symbols, if grafitti has to be done at all. I would say the boy too…but so sad 😦 I like the Native American … or, taking another look, more Aztec?

    1. I’m not usually too fussed with graffiti, Sherri, but it sometimes transcends scribbles. This guy has developed himself a career from it and deservedly so. I’m not at all sure about the significance of the Indians 😦

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