After eight long weeks of sunshine, the infamous English summer has arrived in Bristol. It happened on the opening weekend of the 10th edition of Upfest, the largest street art and graffiti festival in Europe. Hundreds of street artists and thousands of street art hunters gathered in Bristol hoping to stay dry, although the atmosphere of this world famous Bristol street art festival is so chilled and ‘bristolian’ that, in the end, we didn’t mind the water.
When people asked me “Why Bristol?” my reply was always the same: “street art”.
The quiet hiss of the can as someone sprayed, and the shrill metal clacking as they shook it are the most distinctive sounds in Bristol, a city known more for the graffiti on its streets than for the paintings inside its museums.
It goes without saying that I picked Lisbon as my summer destination for its street art scene. Lisbon City Council has pioneered an active role for public art in its drive for urban renewal, so it’s no wonder that the Portuguese capital is more colorful and artsy than other European towns. As usual, graffiti hunting allowed me to discover some of the most creative outskirts in Lisbon and get to know the town beyond its touristy city center, confirming that ‘street art tourism’ might be the best way to explore a destination, or at least it works for me.