Art is Everywhere – Portugal

Walking the streets in Porto,  Portugal on a beautiful June morning it seems as though every surface has served, at some point in history, as a canvas for painters, ceramic artists and story tellers. Vibrance and colour are simply everywhere.  This is in large part due to the ages old practice of using hand painted, ceramic tiles as exterior covering for their buildings.

Tile adorn the store fronts and facades in Old Porto, Portugal
Tiles adorn the store fronts and facades in Porto, Portugal

The Portuguese initially adopted ceramic tiles for the exterior of their buildings because they offer inexpensive and effective insulation.  The colour is really the icing on top of functionality.  Many of the tiles are hand painted in unique floral or geometric patterns, and are almost always in bright hues.

IMG_6339

IMG_6228

IMG_6140

Despite an astronomical economic crisis that has left many buildings abandoned and dilapidated, with broken windows and collapsed ceilings, these colourful tiles reflect  the optimistic nature of the Portuguese people.  Part of my trip was spent participating in a Habitat for Humanity build in Braga, located about 40 minutes drive north of Porto.

Braga is a beautiful village, with remarkable residents, who, like the rest of the country, are working hard to restore their livelihood.  My days there were spent on the worksite and the evenings visiting traditional restaurants and listening to live music while sipping port at one of the many sidewalk cafes.

IMG_6279

This tiled mural, that reflects the towns folklore and history, hangs on the exterior of church in Barcelo.

IMG_6342

Modern sceptre in the harbour in Viana do Castelo. Portugal

IMG_6335

Sometimes it’s just the little things, like these window boxes, overflowing with flowers and stung with paper decorations celebrating a recent religious procession.

IMG_6331

And even where there are no tiles, there is art.  I spotted this striking stencilled art on a side street in Viana do Castelo. I’m looking forward to dedicating some serious studio time to creating some Portuguese inspired prints in the meanwhile, if you’d like to bring a little bright into your everyday, check out this colourful collection.

Obrigada Portugal!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s