Thursday doors – 23 June 2022

Doors 187 – Porto doors (Part 1)

A little part of me was rather hoping that Porto (or Oporto in Portuguese), meant door, as Porte in French and Porta in Italian do, however it means ‘harbour’. In a way though, I guess that a harbour is a type of doorway into a city/town, so I will run with the analogy because it works for Thursday doors.

At the very start of June my daughter and I went to Porto in the north of Portugal, for a mini-break, and what an amazing city it is. Over the three full days we walked miles and miles up and down steep hills but without a plan, and we were rewarded with making some incredible discoveries. The other thing about not having a plan is that stopping to take photographs of doors is completely legitimate, and my daughter was most accommodating in this respect.

This is the first of several Porto door posts, which I will be sharing over the coming weeks when time permits. Forgive me if I become a bit of a Porto door bore. I hope you enjoy this first selection:

Small church door, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Small church door, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Fish Fish and door below, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Fish Fish and door below, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Red door on the waterfront, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Red door on the waterfront, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Not a door, but a very beautiful doorway, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Not a door, but a very beautiful doorway, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Red panelled door, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Red panelled door, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Green double door, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Green double door, Porto, Portugal, June 2022

These doors are just a taster of what is to come, and I am very much looking forward to sharing them with you. Have a fabulous weekend wherever you are.

If you have made it this far, you probably like doors, and you really ought to take a look at the No Facilities blog by Dan Anton who has taken over the hosting of Thursday Doors  from Norm 2.0 blog. Links to more doorscursions can be found in the comments section of Dan Anton’s Thursday Doors post.

by Scooj

4513. Porto (5)

I enjoy enormously seeing street art when I am visiting other parts of the UK or other countries, but I am conflicted when it comes to writing about what I see, because invariably I know nothing about the artists. This magnificent mural by Tamara Alves is a case in point.

Tamara Alves, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Tamara Alves, Porto, Portugal, June 2022

I’m not quite sure what area of Porto we were in when we saw this, but the image is a striking one with a beautiful woman wrapped in an embrace of arms and hands. Tamara Alves is a massively talented artist from Lisbon, and you can read more about her on her very nice website. This was one of several large murals we saw in Porto.

4512. Porto (4)

Porto is a city spanning the north and south banks of the River Douro, across which there are six remarkable bridges, each with its own unique design and purpose. Perhaps the most impressive and iconic bridge is the Luis I Bridge, designed by Theophile Seyrig, a student of Gustave Eiffel, which has a lower and upper level. The upper level is now a metro and pedestrian route and offers some of the finest views of Porto from its span. Heading north on the bridge, this impressive mural by Frederico Draw looms large on the left-hand side of the bridge.

Frederico Draw, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Frederico Draw, Porto, Portugal, June 2022

I know nothing of the artist, and a quick Google search took me to his Facebook page which contained little information. As my primary focus is on Bristol street art, I will leave it to the ‘resource investigators’ among you to find out more. The piece itself is a wonderfully blended portrait, making full use of the derelict wall as a backdrop, and is certainly eye-catching from quite some distance. I love the little shrine at the bottom left of the wall too. A cracking piece by a cracking bridge in a cracking city.

4511. Porto (3)

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.

Oaktree, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Oaktree, Porto, Portugal, June 2022

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, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Oaktree, Porto, Portugal, June 2022

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.

Oaktree, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Oaktree, Porto, Portugal, June 2022

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.

Oaktree, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Oaktree, Porto, Portugal, June 2022

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.

Oaktree, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Oaktree, Porto, Portugal, June 2022

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.

4510. Porto (2)

Although I am well aware of the incredibly innovative work of Vhils, I have only ever seen one of his works before and that, rather weirdly, is in Exeter, which I wrote about a few years ago. Vhils has a rather interesting technique, which is to chip away at a rendered wall and ‘etch’ a portrait into the wall, providing enormous texture and depth. Some of his pieces almost look like something printed off using a dot matrix printer (remember those?).

Vhils, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Vhils, Porto, Portugal, June 2022

My daughter and I stumbled across this piece quite by accident while strolling along the north bank of the River Douro. At first inspection, I thought that the piece was in some way damaged on the left-hand side, but then realised it was meant to look like a tree blending with a portrait. I always wonder whether this method of ‘sculpting’ does any damage to the building, but I guess it isn’t really my concern. I believe it was created in April 2016, and has barely changed at all since then.

4509. Porto (1)

It is unlikely, but it might have escaped your attention that I recently went on a short break to Porto, Portugal, with my daughter, and we had the most incredible time. No pressure, no worries and the freedom to wander round a city with absolutely no agenda or plan. This is the way to see incredible things and make great discoveries.

Like many great cities in Europe, Porto has a graffiti and street art scene, which although still quite young, is most impressive nonetheless. This is the first of several posts of street art from the trip.

Bordallo II, Porto, Portugal, June 2022
Bordallo II, Porto, Portugal, June 2022

Of course, anyone who follows street art will have seen work by Bordallo II on digital media, but to come across a piece (completely by accident – it was my daughter who spotted it down a back street) and see it is the flesh is quite something else. Bordallo II, a Portuguese artist, creates his work from scraps of waste material which he attaches to a wall and paints to create extraordinary ‘installation sculptures’ of animals.

This piece on  the south side of the Douro river depicts a rabbit in two halves, the left-hand side is dull and depressing, the right-hand side is colourful, vibrant and optimistic. The piece demonstrates the incredible skill of the artist to create something from nothing and generate different emotions from the viewer within the same work. One less artist on the bucket list.