Art in unexpected places

2012 has been the year that I got in to street art in a big way in Brussels. This came about because my sister C and I both took up the “picture a day” challenge. If you’re an urban expat who needs a boost, especially if you’re suffering from culture shock, I would have to recommend this project as a way to find a new appreciation for your surroundings.

What started as an actual challenge (what-to-snap-today-that-could-out-do-my-sister-who-is-far-more-creative-than-I-am) became a whole new way of looking at my surroundings. And finding something interesting in a city I normally feel, at best, apathetic towards has been a tonic. In the spring I began to notice little pixelated creatures on street corners and later read about their creator, SpaceInvader, who was mounting an exhibition here in Brussels. Yes, my name is Remedial Wife and I am an invader addict. Finding these little creatures unexpectedly as I move around the city has become a huge source of pleasure that lifts my whole day.

But Brussels is a pretty creative city and there is a lot to see out and about on the streets. This is perhaps best personified by the annual Nuit Blanche which sees performance and installation art out on the streets en masse. Artists in Belgium benefit from a special tax status that makes it much easier to live as a creative here than in other parts of Europe. This is one of the reasons why there has been such outrage since the announcements of the 2013 budgets, more precisely the theatre budgets. Wallonia, for example, will cut spending by 45%.

In any case, those of you in Brussels should keep your eyes open for the works by Bonom, Solo Cink, Pencil Man and all the other artists brightening the streets of the city. Could street art be one of the reasons Brussels has been ranked no 22 in terms of quality of life…although we’ll overlook for the moment that it ranked only 42nd in terms of infrastructure shall we….

Happy 2013 everyone. Hope it brings interesting assignments, new friends and plenty of adventure!

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