I had always wondered why European homeowners allowed graffiti to cover their facades and doorways and how they seemed to simply accept these turf attacks as a reality of their changing urban landscape.
Last week, while working in Barcelona, I got my answer. A colleague of mine, Rosa told me that back in the day the government would not tax homeowners until the fronts of their buildings were completed. So seeing the financial advantages of “vandalized” spray-painted storefronts and homes, owners started to leave the art and take the tax break. It’s a tradition that has lasted for years.
I took these photos in the Raval section of the city — where the art can be anonymous — and extraordinary.