Urban Play Focus 02: Madrid’s SpY

Today’s preview of an Urban Play artist brings Madrid’s SpY into the light.

The thing I’ve always liked about SpY is the width and breadth of his work and media. From anchoring glow sticks into the pavement to turn a traffic arrow into a firing spaceship (above), to simply attaching a Pac-Man shape onto a bus stop to turn it into a video game scene, SpY is particularly skilled at slipping urban easter eggs into the daily adventures of Madrid’s residents.

As the excellent street art writer Javier Abarca says of his work, “SpY’s interventions do not jump out at you, they wait until you come across them. They are not a monologue, but rather the result of a dialogue between the artist and the surroundings, between the passer by and the piece.”

On the more aggressive end of the spectrum, SpY has a great love for physically re-working the road barriers and hoardings around Madrid to spell his collective’s name. The re-design of the object, where its final state is identically functional to that of its origin, yet contains a great deal more significance and personality, is always a favourite urban intervention technique for me.

Again, as Abarca puts it:

“This work is a way of giving us back an object like the hoarding, whose ubiquity had made it virtually invisible, and, with this, it opens another small window on a certain activation of the consciousness, on a slightly sharper perception of the surroundings. Which is necessary in a city that silently contemplates how fountains, benches and, in general, the possibilities of using the public space disappear, among other outrages.”

From the aggressive to the sublime slight hits as below, it’s been a pleasure to work with SpY and get to know him in the process. You can enjoy more of his work at his website here.

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