Capturing the Graffiti and Street Art of Porto, Portugal

John David Rowley


My wife and I left the United States in February of this year, looking for a more relaxed and peaceful lifestyle. After considering a number of European countries, weighing their individual pros and cons, we decided to take a closer look at Portugal.


The country is undergoing a transformation after having suffered years of economic hardship, exacerbated by the economic crash in the early 2010s. These days, having refused to implement the European Union’s austerity measures, Portugal is starting to revive and revitalize.


Tourism is booming, and with it, the much-needed money to inject into the economy. The country is now energized, and feels vibrant and exciting. Everything is possible again, an attitude and belief clearly apparent in people who live here.


After much exploration, we chose Porto as the city to start our new life. Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city; it’s on the northern Atlantic coast, about 300 km from Lisbon. The Portuguese are a proud, friendly and helpful folk, and the natives of Porto are no exception.


The best way to discover Porto is on foot, allowing you to explore its many nooks and crannies, from steep staircases and laundry-festooned alleyways to huge, tree-lined avenues with monumental buildings and many churches.


One thing you notice almost immediately is the graffiti. As with many southern European cities, graffiti is rampant. There is a lot of “tagging,” the modern equivalent of writing “Kilroy was here,” I suppose, but somehow not nearly as charming or attractive.


There are, however, a lot of graffiti on the walls and buildings here that are more artful and thoughtful, beautiful work with bright colors, and eye-catching designs.


The photos featured in this Highbrow Magazine article are all smart-phone pictures, snapped as we wend our way through this beautiful city. New graffiti pops up all the time, making the city an ever-changing canvas for the artist.








Photos: ©Copyright John David Rowley


Author/Photographer Bio:


John Rowley is an IT Architect born in the U.K. He grew up in The Netherlands and spent the last 20 years in Houston, Texas. He now lives with his wife Angela, who is a chef, in Porto, Portugal. They share a blog, which features Angela’s work and the odd musing from John:


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John David Rowley
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