A/W17 Fashion Inspo

The warm weather of summer is just on the horizon and many of us are focused on what we’ll be wearing to keep cool. But there are those who have gone beyond that and determined the fashion trends for Autumn/Winter’17.

Chunky knits, wide-leg pants, off-the-shoulder garments, double denim, leather, metallics and the sexy slip dress were just some of the strong, wearable trends to come from SA Fashion Week (SAFW) held in Joburg recently.
I break down these top trends and suggest how best you wear them.

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Brand: Afrikanswiss

1. Double Denim: This has been trending for a while and is not going anywhere. The key here is to pair similar shades of denim to avoid a major fashion faux pas. Afrikanswiss presented a number of denim-on-denim looks which included low crotch denim pants, dungarees, shirts and jackets that can be worn as separates or layered. Wear it as a daytime street-style look with sneakers or pair it with heels or pumps for a sophisticated look.

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Brand: Atelier Dajee

2. Metallics: Metallic hues that look like they are straight out of a sci-fi movie are hot for summer and the winter months. The attention-grabbing fabric in metal or gold are available in skirts, sneakers, jackets or as a dress, such as this metallic dress by Atelier Dajee. In summer pair it with equally shiny accessories for a playful disco look or tone it down in winter by pairing it with with wool, denim or chiffon.

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Brand: Clive Rundle

3. The Cold- Shoulder: Just because it’s cold it won’t mean that you will have to cover every inch of skin. There is something elegant about bare shoulders for both summer and the colder winter months. Clive Rundle’s layered cape dress is perfect for showing a little skin while still keeping warm. Whether in tops, tees or dresses, just about anyone can pull off the off-the-shoulder look. Dainty necklaces that rest on the collarbone will finish this sexy look.

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Brand: Colleen Eitzen

4. Slip Dress: The slip dress trend is picking up speed. Classic and seductive, this dress that almost resembles an underslip is versatile depending on your mood. Colleen Eitzen v-neck dress comes in soft lines that will rest on your feminine curves. The fabrics are often flimsy for winter, so you might want to wear the dress with an ankle-length coat or bomber jacket for a casual look.

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Brand: Esnoko

5. Colour: Even the dark and cold of winter calls for splashes of colour to brighten up a day. From saturated earth colours to pastel hues, such as this Esnoko double-breasted coat and pants, don’t be afraid to pair clashing colours.

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Brand: Heart and Heritage

6. Chunky knits: Forget the cardigan and skinny scarves. Cosy, chunky knits will be winter’s must-have accessories. This luxurious scarf by  Heart and Heritage can be worn with just about anything, from a suit to a sweater dress.

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Brand:  Mieke

7. Wide-legged pants: Vintage wide-leg trousers, especially high-waisted pants are classic and elegant. The wider silhouettes come in Culottes, which are just below the knee, or at ankle length, such as these pants by Mieke . Styling these pants can be tricky so keep it simple with a tucked shirt that will accentuate your figure or a crop top for an edgy look. Heels look better with long, wide-legged pants, while flats can be worn with those at below-the-knee length.

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Brand: Vintage Zionist

8. Leather: One can never go wrong with a tailored leather or faux leather garment. This Vintage Zionist jumpsuit is both rebellious and chic. Paired with flats and a beanie, this look is party ready and will work as daytime chic.

All images are by SA Fashion Week: http://www.safashionweek.co.za/

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on October 7 2016. 

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat: @Nontando58. 

 

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Biko tote bag trending in SA

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The 12th of Septmber 39 years since South African anti-apartheid activist Stephen (Steve) Bantu Biko died in police custody in a prison cell in Pretoria. He was founder of the Black Consciousness Movement and questions about the circumstances of his death remain.

During his lifetime, Biko’s writings and activism aimed at empowering black people and he captured the hearts of many here at home and throughout the world. His ideologies are still relevant today and live on in many mediums, including fashion apparel such as T-shirts and various art forms.

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Siki Msuseni, founder and owner of Pigments by Siki.

Trending in fashion circles is the “Who Killed Biko?” tote bag by stylist and blogger Siki Msuseni . We chatted to the 25-year-old owner of the collaborative platform for creatives in the fashion industry, Pigments Studio, about her statement bags.

What does Steve Biko mean to you?

Steve Biko is the perfect example of a brave, great leader. He was not apologetic of what he stood for… he was a valuable asset in dismantling apartheid. Even though apartheid ended 17 years after his death, he remains one of the forerunners who fought against inequality.

How did the idea for the tote bags come about?

The idea came from my observations that in our (past) school curriculum there was not a lot of information available about South African history. However, a lot of issues that were swept under the rug are coming to the surface 22 years later in post-apartheid South Africa.

I wanted to start a dialogue with ordinary South Africans through these bags. They are a form of activism without saying much. I approached graphic designer Xolani Dani with a brief to create the artwork for the bags which displays a portrait of Steve Biko crying on one side and on the other side the words, “Who killed Biko?”

I am trying to discredit the myth that for one to talk about matters concerning our politics, one needs to be well read and well spoken. The bags are a way of encouraging ordinary South Africans to start a dialogue, to engage and to open up meaningful conversations with each other around political issues.

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Describe the customer/person you had in mind when you designed the bags.This one is for the brave young people of South Africa, the ones who have been brave enough to stand up against the inequality still experienced in today’s South Africa. It’s for a youth that acknowledges the past mistakes of our parents but chooses to move forward in unity. I designed the bags for the young person who associates with the Black Consciousness Movement that Biko created.

What message, if any, are you hoping to carry through with the bags?I don’t necessarily have a message but want to open a much bigger dialogue where everyone’s opinion about how Steve Biko died are valued. I want this to be a piece of public art that you carry, that will get people talking and looking deeper into our history. I am aware that I may be opening some raw and unhealed wounds, but these are important and necessary conversations we should be having.

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If Biko was alive today, what would you say to him?

“I have so many things I would say to him. I would thank him for being a vessel of black pride. He encouraged us to be proud of our black skin and said we have something great to offer to the world”

What would you tell the younger generation about Biko? I would tell them that conformity is a bad disease that can drown you.

“Be like Biko – be brave and challenge the norm.  Always question everything they teach you at school… be revolutionary in your approach to life”

 

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Your favourite Steve Biko quote? 

“Black man, you are on your own”

South African concept art and fashion photographer Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Fashion photography is one of the most sought-after professions but it is also one of the hardest to break into. For every photographer who makes it through the door of the glamorous industry, many others are in line, still knocking on the door. Only a few gain recognition in the various media, which ranges from street photography and portraiture to documentary and glamour photography. South African concept art and fashion photographer Jordan-Lee Garbutt has captured the industry with his latest exhibition, titled The Power of Sound, being showcased at Cape Town’s Mullers Gallery this month.
I chat to him about t his trade and his current work.

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How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to doing it for a living? After my studies, I dived head first into assisting. Assisting is the best way to gain experience, learn your craft from top professionals, and see what works in real life. Discovering how to work with people and photo shoot dynamics can only be learnt in the field.

 

“Putting in the hours of learning your craft, researching your subject matter and approaches, all adds up in the end. I assisted for three years before starting to build my portfolio. I created photo shoots that displayed my ideas, my vision and what I believed in.”

How do you get the person, place or thing that is in front of the camera just the way you want? Conceptualising and planning, 99 percent of the time, every detail of my shoots are planned. I work with stylists, make-up artists and other talented people to help create my “visions”.

It takes a team to create the end result. Collaborating is the only way to move forward, you can only do so much on your own, and other viewpoints, perspectives and talents will transform your idea into something more powerful.

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Which photographers influenced you on your career path? American fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon’s career initiated a change in the way I created images and how I looked at choosing to make a living from photography. He managed to balance his commercial work with his personal work and blended campaigns and exhibitions perfectly. That is something I aspire to replicate.

“Gregory Crewdson’s Beneath the Roses changed the way I wanted to create. It revealed the high-end planning and concepts with lighting that resonated with the way I create and how I wanted to create”

What motivates you to continue taking pictures? It really comes from inside. I knew from the first week of exploring photography that this is what wanted to do with the rest of my life.I love what I do, I feel my best when I’m creating. My biggest drive now is trying to initiate a change in people, change their perspectives and open their minds to a new way of thinking. Breaking down social, economic and personal barriers.

Tell us about your photography process? My creative process and inspiration varies but I have a general guide that I like to follow. Everything I create, I think in layers. Starting off with the base concept, everything else is added to that. I see the world in a certain light. I prefer dark tones and playing in the shadows. White, bright and “fresh” images have never resonated with me. I like the mystical, the surreal, and our innermost thoughts.

 

I’m at the stage where I cannot take images just for the beauty. I have to add an underlying meaning. It has to be thought-provoking.

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Which images would you say have been the most significant in your career? My latest exhibition, entitled “The Power of Sound, has had the most impact. From all the press to being on Top Billing. It has grown my brand, but what I have loved about the project is the way it affects people when they see the images and poems.

Collaborating with poet Mo Libretto transformed the project into something more. The words and visuals complement each other perfectly, proving how important a collaboration is.I

After that, I have two projects lined up. The first celebrates the diversity of South Africa through the 11 official languages and our diverse flora. It’s going to take me all over the country, showcasing our beautiful country and people in a way that has never been done before.

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How would you say social media is changing the photography industry? There are two sides to this. It’s made photography and creating a lot more accessible to everybody. People who wouldn’t normally have any interest in photography or visual artistic expression now give it a go. It can just be a creative outlet, or it can help people gain knowledge.

The other side is that it has made everything a popularity contest and it has given people the platform to either spread love or hate.
The amount of “trolling” and bad mouthing has grown exponentially. But everyone is at their own stage of development and skill set, and everyone has their own taste of what is good.

“We should all be helping each other and not put others down to elevate yourself”

Connect with Jordan-Lee at http://www.jordanleegarbutt.com. 

This piece was first published in the Cape Argus on September 7 2016. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat: @Nontando58 

Racing…It’s A Rush

ca Nontando Mposo_J&B Met_7490.jpgThat time I slayed in Jacques LaGrange Couture at the J&B Met earlier this year.  Picture by Henk Kruger .

A lot of you know that I love a beautiful day at the races. It’s an opportunity to dress up, a chance to mingle with the who’s-who’s of South Africa while sipping on ice cold champagne and nibbling on good gourmet food…Oh! and now and again one will spot a horse or two racing on the plush grass.

Basically that sums up a horse racing event for most people. We have several must-attend horse racing events in the country. In Cape Town, my favourites include the L’Omarins Queens Plate, The J&B Met now refered to as The Met. And Durban has the Durban July. All mentioned events are attended by the South African elite crowd who dress up in designer clothes to pose and be photographed by both the media and the public.

As you know the horse racing industry is a multi-million rands business. The horses that get to compete are treated like gold, worth a lot of money and train like athletes. As a Lifestyle Features Writer for Independent Media I was fortunate enough to learn a lot about the process that goes into preparing a horse to race…from conception to the race track. It’s quite an interesting and lucrative industry that is small and still needs to do some ground work in getting young people to be interested enough to invest into it.

Enters myself and a handful of carefully selected influencers who have been chosen to be Brand Ambassadors for the sports racing brand  “Racing it’s a Rush”  in the Western Cape.

In a nutshell, “Racing it’s a Rush” promotes the glamorous and lifestyle side of the sport. The group of ambassadors include fashionistas and bloggers like myself, photographers…basically the cool kids of Cape Town you should know. I am very excited about being part of this as it’s a bigger opportunity of learning about all things horse racing while having fun as well. For the next months we will be visiting stud farms and attending horse racing related events so follow our journey as we explore what the industry has to offer…hopefully you will learn a few things as well in the process.

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Power Team: Lauren Campbell, Lucian Albertyn, ME;-) and Sibu Mpanza. Picture by Chase Liebenberg.

For our first assignment we visited the beautiful Woodhill Racing Estate in Paarl. Here horses are schooled at approximately two  years of age. Training includes breaking in, starting gates and getting the horse fit to race, as well as maintaining a race career strategy.

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The horses were happy to pose for selfies and pics. Picture by Chase Liebenberg.

The highlight of the morning was watching Malan du Toit, a self-trained “horse whisperer” at work. His work with horses has earned him respect nationwide, and he is frequently called in to help troubled horses.

Using his rare talent, he teaches racing horses how to load and saddle up into the gates at the start of a race, and to respond to a rider’s instructions. This interaction is fascinating to watch.

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Malan’s  training steps include establishing a relationship of trust with a horse and getting the animal to accept him as its teacher. With gentle direction and training, he then goes about changing a horse’s problem trait until it is ready to race.

“The art is to train the horse gradually through the levels so that eventually it’s accepting the rider. We do the training over a period of a month or two, depending on the horse, as each horse is an individual like us human beings;

The longer the training, the better the horse becomes,” says Malan

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With fellow ambassador Lee Fraser enjoying a cup of tea

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Jade Robertson and I indulging in a selfie….how gorgeous!

 

Our journey continues.

Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat for all the behind the scenes action: Nontando58

Connect with “Racing. It’s a Rush” on Instagram @racingitsarush.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portraying the joy of African children

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My favourite painting by South African contemporary artist Nelson Makamo is that of a young boy sporting a short afro and red glasses.
The expression on his face is pure joy… I can almost feel the warm laughter bubbling in his belly. Looking at the artwork brings back childhood memories of playing for hours without a care in the world. I have the image saved in my phone and I look at it each time I need a quick pick-me-up. It always makes me smile.

I tell Makamo this when I meet him at a Cape Town hotel for the interview and he smiles knowingly.
“When you think it, a lot of art that comes out of the continent, some would describe it as sombre or dark. However, come winter or summer it doesn’t matter, we always have the sun… that is the thing about Africa,” he says.

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“It’s the beauty of how Africans smile through everything and that is how I look at my subjects and from a child’s perspective as well. It doesn’t matter where you go in the continent, when you find children playing there are similarities that take you back to your own childhood,” he says.

Makamo’s large-scale portraits of children display various features and personalities of quirkiness. Each lined sketch drawn in charcoal, watercolour or pen and ink is distinct and is often done in black and white with pops of colour.

At 34, the Joburg artist is one of South Africa’s celebrated talents. His paintings are worth thousands of rands with one of his drawings, So full of youth – not yet abused selling for R250 000 at a recent Stephan Welz & Co auction – a record for the artist at auction.

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“As an adult there are a lot of things that we do that we pretty much fence ourselves around from, that we don’t feel or see certain things anymore. That free thinking and openness to learning we can only see it through the eyes of a child,” says Makamo.

Born in theLimpopo town of Nylstroom, now Modimolle, Makamo moved to Joburg to join the Artist Proof Studio in January 2003. There he studied on a bursary for three years and worked for another two as sales representative and curator of the gallery. He has since held solo exhibitions here at home and in France, Italy, the US, the Netherlands and Scotland.

His childhood was like any normal child raised in a small town environment, he says. Sundays were for church, weekdays were for school and his free time was spent reading Marvel comics such as Spider- Man and Iron Man… which planted the roots for his artistic talent.

“My stepdad pretty much made me the man that I am today. Being the only child in most cases there is this preconception that you are spoiled, but I never experienced that. During school holidays my parents would send me to my cousins so I sort of grew up with a lot of cousins around me,” he says.

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“My love for art started early and was mostly influenced by cartoons. We collected a lot of Marvel comics at home… that is actually how it all started,” says Makamo.

He sold his first drawing in high school for R125.
“Most of my drawings then were about comics. I drew characters such as the Ninja Turtles and Batman and would show them to my peers.

Being an artist was not my first choice. In Grade 10 I decided that I wanted to be a chemical engineer, so after matric I briefly studied Engineering at the Vaal University of Technology.

“Three months into it I was like, “I don’t think I see myself as an engineer, this is not something that I want to pursue’.

“Looking at the communities we are raised in, one often doesn’t think that you can turn your Godgiven talent into a career. Some people even went as far as saying I should become a cartoonist , you get all sorts of advice,” says Makamo.

 

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The beginning of his career was no walk in the park, he says.
“The first three years after graduating were not easy for both myself and my parents. They were always concerned about how I was going to make a living with art. It also didn’t help that there was little information on South African artists… there was no fully documented history of art that one could study. The focus is mostly on old masters, such as Pablo Picasso and Michelangelo.

“Digging deeper I discovered SA artists such as Gerard Sekoto and Dumile Feni, who belonged to a township movement of black artists. They became pretty much my influencers”

“Through their art you got to understand our country and where our cultures come from. This sort of gave me the confidence to say that I can make a living out of this. Most of them didn’t have proper materials to draw with so they used cheaper mediums such as charcoal and oil soft pastels.”

Makamo never leaves home without his camera and his “bible”, a small sketch book in which he scribbles things and sketches people who catch his eye.

“I always say that I am a storyteller because I live and see things from a third-person point of view. I draw mostly from memory, but sometimes I see a scene and I have to capture it quickly in my ’bible” or I use my camera.

“In my work I try to capture emotions in a language that the person next to me gets without me having to explain. It’s interesting if you think about it, how we are all connected.

“There are a lot of things that bring people together and a lot of those things you can only see through the eyes of a child,” says Makamo

“Children are the most forgiving beings. It is always heart-breaking when you travel or when you google African children, the images that they give you does not represent who we are, only that of poor and starving children.. it’s actually so disturbing when you think about it.

“I took it way too personal, that is why I started basing my work around it. It’s a way of saying, there is another version of an African child that I can give you.”

When some people ask me about my background, it’s almost as if they expect me to give them a poor background and take away the talent. I would be doing myself and the beautiful culture that I was raised in an injustice.  That is why I portray most of my subjects with glasses, as a way of saying they are geniuses, he explains

“Why do you look beyond us, judge us and have your own conclusion about us without sitting down and having a one-on one-conversation with us?

“The support I have from South Africans, regardless of who buys my work or not, is very inspiring and it is what drives me… makes me stand taller. It is as if people were waiting for someone to wipe away the stereotypes,” Makamo says. 

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l Find the artist Nelson Makamo on Instagram -@nelsonmakamo

This piece was first published in the Cape Argus on August 8 2016. 

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat: @Nontando58. 

 

The Levi’s classic trucker jacket

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How cool is my customized Levi’s trucker jacket?!

Jeans are one of the most worn pieces of clothing in the world and have become an essential part of many people’s wardrobes. From ripped up styles to clingy skinnies, we have our favourite styles.

The story of the first blue jeans began in 1873 in San Francisco, California with two immigrants Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis. On May 20, Levi Strauss & Co. celebrated the anniversary of the their first blue jeans.

I spoke to Nuholt Huisamen, the managing director of Levi Strauss South Africa about the brand and their Levi’s® 501® jean.

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Tell us about the early years of the blue jean? Levi Strauss & Co. made the first blue
jean on May 20, 1873. It was on that day that Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis obtained a US patent on the process of putting rivets in men’s work pants for the very first time.

Were denim pants called jeans then? They were called “waist overalls” or “overalls” because the early pants were designed to literally be worn “over” your street clothes. After 1900, people began to wear them like regular pants and in 1960, fans adopted the name “jeans”.

Tell us about the trademark leather patch and the number 501? In 1886 the two horse brand leather patch was first used on the waist overalls. Its purpose was to demonstrate the strength of the pants and reinforce our status as the originator of patent rivetted clothing. We knew that the patent would go into the public domain around 1890 and decided to reinforce our message of originality and strength graphically.

The c1890 lot numbers were first assigned to the products being manufactured and the
now famous 501 is used to designate the famous copper-rivetted waist overalls.

What role have your jeans played in fashion from the early 1900s to now? Since its invention, the Levi’s® 501® jean has taken on a life of its own, from a utilitarian garment for coal miners, cowboys and industrial workers, all the way to the creative workers who continue to wear it today.

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Your audience has changed from then to now, can you describe the 501 consumers
of today and how the jeans have evolved for today’s generation? 

“The jean still appeals to a wide cross-section of consumers. It is worn by men and women of all ages who favour a classic straight leg jean and appreciate its originality.”

Last year we also introduced the 501®CT (Customised and Tapered) because 501® jean wearers have been customising their jeans for decades, most commonly tailoring the legs for a closer fit. So we thought: let’s do the work for them. We took the original and added a custom taper.

What is exciting about the Levi’s brand right now? Locally we are running the We are Original campaign and we put a call out to our fans to come and share their original Levi’s® style stories with us. We got such a great response and we have been featuring those beautiful and unique photos and stories as part of our social and digital campaign, celebrating how our consumers live in our jeans.

Globally, Levi’s is constantly innovating and the most recent announcement is the Levi’s Commuter™ x Jacquard by Google Trucker Jacket.

Available by next year, it is the first smart garment with Jacquard by Google technology woven in. The jacket allows users to stay connected with easy access to directions, information on nearby places, change their music, and answer calls just by touching the sleeve of their jacket.

Check out more here http://www. weareoriginal.co.za/in-studio/ or http://www. levistrauss.com

This piece was first published in the Cape Argus on June 14 2016. 

connect with me on Snapchat:Nontando58 or Instagram: Nontando58

 

Berlin, Barcelona top graffiti picks

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They say Berlin is one of the top “bombed” city in Europe so I was quite excited about my first visit to the city. It is indeed colourfull and graffiti of all sorts, ranging from stenciling to tagging is everywhere you look.  After four days in Berlin, taking in the rich history, doing touristy stuff and snapping up some graffiti and street art, I travelled to Barcelona. For me, Barcelona seemed to be more deserving of the  “graffiti Mecca” title. I saw some really cool works in Barcelona. You get to see more of the street art at night when the shops are closed and the doors are pulled down, most of the doors are painted with interesting art works. The pics include both cities, if you want to know which graffiti is from where please visit my IG feed ‘nontando58’  I have too many pics and not enough time to identify which is what;-)

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