Back in March I kept seeing these little pictures all over Barcelona. Pasted to poles, walls, and other surfaces were images made to look similar to an instagram page. In each case the subject in the picture was a combination of two people or things with similar names. The same symbol was drawn on their faces – upside down scissors within three parallel vertical lines.
So far I haven’t been able to find any information about the artist. I suspect that the clue to his/her identity is at the top left of each graffiti piece but I can not decipher it.
below: “Franco (Battiato)” Franco Battiato is a musician whereas Franco also refers to Francisco Franco Bahamonde (1892-1975) who was the general who led the Nationalist forces to victory in the Spanish Civil War in 1939. He was then dictator of that country until his death in 1975. In the image below we see a smiling musician’s face on the body of a military leader.
below: Couscous Clan (Cuscus Clan) is vegan friendly, 100% halal, and wears a tagine pot on its head. A mix of the American Klu Klux Klan and the mideastern food staple; Juxtoposition of white supremacy with “brown” food and Islamic ideas. Is that a bible or the Koran that he’s reading?
below: “Bjorn-Bjork” tennis playing singer. Björn Borg (b. 1956) Swedish tennis star swings his racquet at the ball. Björk (aka Björk Guðmundsdóttir b. 1965) Icelandic music star. The face and headdress in this image is taken from the cover of her album “Homogenic” which was released in 1997.
below: “Heidi Lamarr” Classic movie buffs will recognize the name (and face) of screen legend Hedi Lamarr (1914-2000). Here, she is paired with Heidi, the main character in two children’s novel published in the 1880s by Swiss author Johanna Spyri. Since then, Heidi, the most famous Swiss girl, has been retold and adapted numerous times. The image of a girl on a swing used here comes from Isao Takahata’s anime series “Heidi the Girl of the Alps,” 1974.
below: “Hello Brell” mash-up of Hello Kitty, the fictional anthropomorphized white cat created by Yuko Shimizu and ???. There is a music score with hearts in the background which might provide a clue but for now it remains a mystery.
below: “Knight Rider” on his horse looks like he’s delivery for UberEats or some other food delivery service. Knight Rider was a TV series in the 1980s starring David Hasselhoff. Now he’s a knight of the realm? But of which realm?
below: Juan Salvador Jeviota becomes a guitar rocking bird. It’s probably a seagull as in ‘Juan Salvador Gaviota’, the sea gull that stars in the Spanish translation of ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ authored by Richard Bach back in 1970. The cats are fans! As to the reference to Jeviota, or what the second part of the idea might be, I am striking out again.
below: “Lemmy Riefenstahl” with a camera in his hand. The face here is masculine but the background blue and purple portrait is female; the mashup here is with Helene Bertha Amalie “Leni” Riefenstahl and Ian Fraser Kilmister (aka Lemmy, 1945-2015). Leni was a German film director, photographer and actress best known for her role in producing Nazi propaganda. Lemmy was a musician with rock band Motörhead.
below: “#operacionfreequini #talegoquini” Talego Quini was an album by Spanish musical group Parquesvr released in 2019. Quini (1949-2018) was a football player (and that’s his picture). In March 1981 he was kidnapped and held for 25 days before being rescued. His full name was Enrique Castro González.
below: “Pimp Ball” with pinball paddles – so obviously this is a combination of the pinball game and ??? Not just any pimp I’m sure but alas I don’t have the answer.
below: Robin in tha Hood, LA Hollywood
below: “Selfneca – say cheese!” Is the face that of Seneca or Seneca the Younger, both of whom were Roman philosophers and Stoics who believed that we waste most of our time. That’s just a guess but I rather like the idea of selfies and a waste of time in one photo.
below: “D’Urruti” The face of Buenaventura Durruti (1896-1936), a Spanish anarchist during the Spanish Civil War has been added to the body of Argentinian football player Maximiliano Urruti. A play on the surname (D)Urruti.
Photos taken March 2023