While there is a full spectrum of street art and graffiti in Porto, from high-end worldies to tags and burners, there seems to be a particular acceptance of using street art to decorate utility boxes in many parts of the old city. An artist who has taken full advantage of this is Oaktree, who paints delightful scenes with brushes either directly onto the surface or as wheatpastes.
There is something beautiful and nurturing about Oaktree’s designs that fit the spaces expertly and add a touch of colour to the streets, enhancing the visual amenity of the utility boxes in a way that is commensurate with Porto’s highly decorative streets.
Oaktree’s pieces contain characters going about their everyday business or joined in an embrace and whatever they are doing there is a feeling of care, love and kindness that pervades each piece.
I was a little surprised when I got back hoe just how many Oaktree pieces I had photographed, and rather than post each one separately, I thought it would be a good idea to post this mini-gallery instead.
How great it would be if all local authorities around the world were as enlightened as Porto’s, and permitted or even encouraged the decoration of utility boxes, which, let’s face it, are among the ugliest structures known to man.
The final piece in this collection is a large wheatpaste, and perhaps my favourite of all the Oaktree pieces I saw, with its simple, rather dreamy design. If you are lucky enough to visit Porto, be sure to search out these little gems.