Street art piece
Street Art Museum Amsterdam
Btoy is one of the first women who stepped out onto the streets of Barcelonawith detailed multi-layered stencil art that playswith colour, light and shadow to create moody and powerful portraits. Born in Barcelona, Btoy is the child of social activists and refugees fleeing the dictatorial regime in Uruguay lasting from 1973-85. As a self-taught artist, she came to graffiti while completing a photography degree (and after abandoning studies in law), first playing with paste-ups on the streets of Barcelona in the early 2000’s. At that time, before it became the mass tourism hotspot it is today, a welcoming culture and low cost of living in Barcelona created fertile ground for those experimenting with graffiti, underground music, theater and art subcultures. It was in this setting that Btoy began to vigorously investigate feminism, stereotyped gender roles and identities, and to express her own identity through her work, choosing the streets as her medium for their freedom from convention, their hidden moods, memories, and stories.
Good / Legible
The work is characterised by Btoy's usual figurative realism in depicting the faces of famous people. The gaze, as in the case of many portraits, is the clouding element of the rest of the composition and the centrifugation of the viewer's gaze is also suggested by the red and yellow lines of the background. The taste for detail can be seen in the richness and precision of the elements of the artist's headgear.
The play depicts Gloria Swanson, an American film actress and producer, Golden Globe winner and three-time Oscar nominee. In the 1920s she shone as one of the leading stars of silent films, collaborating with such luminaries as Rudolph Valentino, Cecil B. DeMille, and Erich Von Von Kaufmann. DeMille and Erich Von Stroheim, and was one of the most glamorous and controversial actresses for her extravagant luxuries and turbulent love life; over the course of her life she had six marriages and several highly publicised romances. Btoy chooses this character as a symbol of emancipation and feminist rebellion in a period, the 1920s, dense with patriarchal restrictions.