“Luce! Luce!” I shout, staring down at my feet while in Valencia’s Plaza del Ayuntamiento. My amiga Heather has already jetted across the street, looking back at me confused as I whip my camera out to snap shots of the ground.
“It’s Luce!” I say as I run to meet her, pointing out stickers scattered all along the marble sidewalks. Heather quickly catches on. After all, she’s no stranger to my over-the-top enthusiasm for Valencia street art.
Only about six months ago, I dragged her all over the city so that I could do research on its top artists for an article I wrote for Off Track Planet. In doing so, I became a semi-expert on spotting urban masterpieces in Spain’s third largest city, developing an eye for favorites like Hyuro, Julieta and of course Escif (whose art I even happened upon in the streets of San Francisco). Now, wandering around Valencia I feel like I’m on a secret scavenger hunt to find nuggets of genius street art expression hiding in the most unexpected places.
And on this most recent trip, I did just that, discovering a jackpot of work by the artist Luce. He breaks urban art molds by going rather untraditional; from stickers splashed across city sidewalks to wood installations pegged to exposed building beams.
He also takes an unconventional and, in my opinion, refreshing approach to tagging. Instead of lazily scrawled letters littering every imaginable town corner, he opts for a simple monochrome block font. Always strategically placed, his name just seems to fit in. The big bold script compliments its surroundings instead of tainting them.
After many return visits, Valencia has become a sort of playground for me, filled with more than just sunny terrazas, flower-boxed balconies, and paella-serving restaurants. The city breathes art, which evolves, changes and gets swapped out with new surprises as quickly as the seasons. I can’t wait to find out what I’ll discover on my next visit.