When I decided to pop down to Lagos in Portugal, I wasn’t thinking about looking for street art in Lagos, or for any specific purpose really. In fact, it was a pretty random decision influenced somewhat by the fact that I just wanted to go somewhere beachy in the Algarve, Julika’s rather intriguing post about how she loved Lagos, and that it was an easy direct bus ride away from Lisbon (4 hours by EVA bus).
Which are good enough reasons, really. I’ve decided to go to places based on nothing more than a ‘feeling’ or liking the name of the place.
Mostly, I figured a beach town would mostly be a nice way to chill out from the buzz of busy Lisbon city. So as we were walking (uphill, as you do in Portugal) to find the cliff-top coastal walk, imagine my surprise when I chance upon this beauty of a piece out of nowhere:
At the junction of Avenida dos Descombrimentos and Rua Bombeiros Voluntarios Da Lagos – It’s right opposite a fire station, and if you’re walking towards the cliff walks area from the old town, you’re quite likely to pass this awesome piece of artwork
And I KNEW it was a Roa piece immediately when I saw it. The style (which I first saw in London – how cool is it that some of my first street art encounters in London and Lagos are both Roa!) is pretty distinct – the sketchy monochrome animals… but could it really be? I did a little bit of a Google search that night and found out that Lagos, while better known as a party beach town or hangout for older British tourists, actually has a thriving street art scene!
A lot of it is due to the good folk of LAC, which stands for Laboratório de Actividades Criativas and they run a yearly residency programme called ARTURb, (short for Artistas Unidos Em Residência or United Artists in Residence) which invites a small international group of street artists to come together in Lagos to create and exhibit their works – I visited the exhibition, more on that at the bottom of this post.
But if you’re in Lagos and taking a break from the beach, I highly recommend you take a walk around the city and look out for the artworks these artists have left behind, a more permanent legacy of their time here. Very cool stuff indeed – it’s a nice way to explore the city, though prepare to do a fair bit of walking. Cycling might not be a bad idea as well so you cover more ground more quickly.
These are my pix and a little more detail on where to find these works – they’re mostly found in clusters which I’ve grouped for you by location, so you can see bunches of works by area if you’d rather not do too much walking at once. Also included is the very useful and detailed map by the LAC folk for those using google maps to point themselves in the right direction.
RUA LANCAROTE DE FREITAS
You’re right in the centre of the old town area. Most probably you’ll spot the giant fish work which is close to the town centre, and once you do, just follow the road straight up from there to check out the other works.
Meeting the God by Bezt (2013), a Polish street artist who’s half of a crew called Etam Cru. The alley was pretty narrow here so this is the best shot that I managed. StreetArtNews.net has an awesome shot though, as well as a really cute animated gif which shows that the fish wasn’t always a fish!
A collaboration by Portuguese street artists Add Fuel and SAMINA (2013) – the work in progress shots are pretty cool. I love how it kinda mimics the Azulejos (typical Portuguese tiles found on walls).
MAR (2012) is another Portuguese street artist – Just above the Add Fuel and SAMINA work, here’s a close up. I saw his works in Lisbon as well, the swirls and eyes are pretty distinct looking!
If you’re thinking this looks similar in style to the dead flamingo, you are spot on. It’s the 2nd Roa piece of 2 mating snails painted in 2013! I kinda like the garden setting of the snails.
HUNT by Wes21 and Onur, street artists from Switzerland. It’s a fun piece with an odd menagerie of hunting animals and the odd cursor and facebook like button. Some behind the scenes shots from Onur here
RUA DE ATALAIA / RUA INFANTE DE SAGRES
Just about 5 minutes walk away from Rua Lancarote da Freita above, you’ll see a mix of older and brand new works around here. Funny story is that these were some of the first works that we saw that day. The LAC map wasn’t updated with the 2014 works when we were walking around, so we only saw the 2014 works by Borondo and Sepe at Rua Infante de Sagres after we’d spent an entire afternoon walking, and then found ourselves back at where we started! Funny how we could have seen those works earlier if we’d only walked about 50m more down the road!
C215 is a French street artist who does a lot of portraits but also likes to use stencils, hence getting called the ‘French Banksy’ by lots of people. I like the way he uses colour to complement his portraits. He has a bunch of works in Lagos from 2012, mostly on the electrical boxes, so you really have to look out for them because they’re quite small compared to all the others! I thought at first the quote was part of his work, but it looks like just another happy mash-up. This is actually located near Rua Marreiros Netta, just off Rua de Atalaia
On Rua de Atalaia, you’ll probably see this work by Pantonio and Sainer first from 2012. Pantonio is a Portuguese street artist who does these awesome black & blue illustrations – his works have also appeared in Lisbon and Porto!
Sainer is a Polish street artist, the other half of Etam Cru with Bezt, just that his piece was painted in 2012. This frog face is just a little bit creepy.
Walk further up the Rua Infante de Sagres where you’ll come to a junction near the old fort walls of Lagos, and you should spot this huge piece by Spanish street artist Borondo (2014) there. It was a very new piece when we were there, perhaps just a few weeks old, so really cool to be some of the first people to see it :)
What Goes Around Comes Around by Sepe (2014) from Poland is a massive piece just around the corner. The detail is quite amazing – definitely a piece you need to see up close to appreciate.
Jubilation at seeing most of the works on the map! This was the last piece we saw before we bought some beers and headed to the beach to rest our aching feet
RUA DOM VASCO DE GAMA / LAC BUILDING
If you’re walking towards the bus station or near the Marina or train station, there are a bunch of older, smaller works that you can find here. You can also take this opportunity to visit the LAC Building at Rua Convento Senora da Gloria – be warned that it’s up a slope, so be prepared for a little climbing!
I don’t know who did this, but it kinda cracks me up. At the bridge leading to the Marina area
More on C215’s work – this one at the junction of Avenida dos Descombrimentos and Rua da Capelinha – look for the electrical box!
At the junction of Rua Antonio Crisogno dos Santos and Rua Nova de Aldeia, just before a slopey area. You’re likely to pass this if you’re headed up to LAC
This artwork also by C215 is in the same alleyway as the one above, on an electrical box just opposite
The largest C215 work can be found on the wall bordering the LAC building at Rua Convento Senora da Gloria
Borondo has another unusual work in a little spot just around the corner from and opposite the LAC building. I like the position of the tree and how the face just takes shape in the roots and wall
AVENIDA DES DESCOMBRIMENTOS
This long road stretches from the Marina all the way down to the cliffs, so you’re likely to see some of these works as you enter the city or walk along the river. I particularly love the Aryz work which was done in April 2014 and is super majestic. The other works near the circus came from the inaugural batch of artists here in 2011, so they might be looking a little worse for wear, but definitely cool to see they’ve lasted so long!
Tempus Fugit by Spanish street artist Aryz (2014) – This massive piece along Avenida dos Descombrimentos opposite the Marina area is hard to miss if you’re walking away from the old city. Something about his colour palette is very appealing, like the drowning horse in the Lisbon artwork. This faces a carpark and is just super impressive to behold.
The key man looking thing on the left is by Jorge Perreira and the rather dilapidated looking I Have a Dream is by maismenos who does a lot of typographical/quote based works. Both are Portuguese artists
This very detailed swirly piece by Portuguese street artist Paulo Arraiano (2011) – this was one of the pieces that caught my eye as we came in on the bus ride
A combination of works by Jorge Perreira, Paulo Arraiano and Brazilian artist Antonio Bokel
More of Bokel and Perreira
Map by LAC
Ver ARTURb – Artistas Unidos em Residência num mapa maior
Check out their little building at Rua Convento Senora da Gloria, which used to be a prison back in the day, and these days is an ever-evolving gallery of these artists works, past and present. The current batch of artists in 2014 include Borondo (Spain), Sepe (Poland), Mario Belem (Portugal), Dome (Germany) and Pipsqueak (Netherlands) and they had a pretty awesome exhibition showing when we were there. Check out their Facebook page for more details and updates on new works popping up around Lagos.
A work by Borondo called Corrupt, the floor is a red carpet that extends to the entrance. Pretty cool idea
Borondo also use the smoke from a candle to create this design on the roof of the ceiling!
These black and gold pieces by German artist Dome are very eye catching and have very distinct style!
Pipsqueak aka Pipsqueak was here is a rather irreverent artist who had a lot of his works plastered throughout the buildling. This one makes use of the slats and covers the whole corridor. My wide angle lens was not wide enough to capture the entire drawing which included the hands and feet!
More Borondo and experimentations with fire – that’s Y trying to get a video of the fire burning around here head
This mural was a collaboration between Pipsqueak and Mario Belem
Lots of artworks in the courtyard outside, with some Pipsqueak to the right, and in the bushes…
Villains under the Fig Tree by Pipsqueak – such a fun surprise to peek under the tree and see these little raccoons there!
An inner courtyard covered with more works
I definitely need to go back to Lagos and Portugal again some day for more street art! Check out my street art guide to Lisbon, or see the rest of my street art guides which includes cities in Singapore, Asia, Europe and America.
For more posts about Portugal, see my trip recap or check out nearby Tavira as well.