So, we’ve already told you that Budapest has some amazing painted firewalls and we’ve also shown you were could you find them. But there is one secret left that we want to share with you. You should know that there is an association behind the idea of the Colorful City and there are some great people behind the idea of the association itself. That is why we would like to introduce you the Színes Város (Colorful City) association and Péter Flór, the Secretary-General of the Színes Város.
The Színes Város is the first association in Hungary which colours public spaces. The civil based project has formed itself to be a movement from the very beginning, because colouring up public spaces in a legal way was unknown before 2008, the time they launched the initiative of Colourful City Project. The basic idea of it is built on Victor Vasarely’s Colourful City concept, published in 1983, which bottom line is for art to set foot on the streets, people should not only see fine art pieces in galleries but also in public spaces.
So which areas are chosen to be painted? The neglected arteries of the city with large pedestrian traffic. The main purpose of Színes Város association is to colour them up with contemporary or/and functional pieces of art and make them kinder and nicer for the local community.
The guide line of this association is to use recycled materials and follow sustainability when the artifacts are being created. They also want to change the distorted view on graffiti, by wall paintings with real artistic value, which reflect on everyday issues and technical possibilities. With its colours and meanings, painted walls cheer up the cityscape. So, only a look at their amazing work is needed to understand that they managed their goal: living in a more lively and colourful city!
We really love theirs works, these amazing firewalls in our city. So after we realized that they are the people behind our favourite firewalls of the city, we decided to get known them, because we wanted to know what kind of men start a project like this. This is how we met Péter Flór.
To work in a mission like yours, I’m pretty sure that you guys have to be really committed to the city, so I was wondering what kind of relationship you have with Budapest?
My relationship is a bit complicated, because I lived in Budakalász with my family. But since I started my studies, I am in love with Pest. You know, I spent 8 years of my elementary school in the fifth district and I had my first kiss here. My highschool was in the thirteenth district, I went to the eighth district and I’ve been living in Pest for six years now, so I prefer Pest.
Ok, then – as a fan of Pest – how would you recommend it to people from abroad?
Well, it depends on where they come from. Pest has so many faces, I won’t tell the same to all of the tourist from different nations. I am living in the seventh district, so this is ’my place’. I really enjoy walking in it; I like the atmosphere of the rush hour of the Károly körút, the Klauzál tér, the historic houses and signs of the Art Nouveau architecture, all the synagogues here and the gastro culture of the district (with everything in it from the street food to other nations specialties).
It is a great catalog of lots of things that are worth to see in this area of Pest, it sounds to be more than a ’party district’, where it’s famous for.
That is right, now it is the „party district”, but it has not always been. I can remember what this neighborhood looked like some years ago, before the whole hype has begun, when an average person would not walk through the Király Street after sunset. It has changed a lot in the last 5-10 years, and the whole change was overhand, it started with Szimpla. People started to discover the potential here, in buildings that were abandoned, that seemed to be useless. This process brought money and more people here. The more popular the district became, the safer.
You mean this change in the neighborhood started with the appearance of the ruin bars, and it was all the initiative of the population itself, no govermental/institutional idea. Isn’t it similar to your project?
I guess it is. We would like to form the face of Budapest, and we would like to add something to it. But it isn’t a piece of cake. You know Hungarian society is a conservative one, it is often asked to us how these ’graffities’ could get along with the amazing historical look of our city. And I have to be honest, I am one-sided in this question, because I definitely think these two different looks are working together. There are some people that like our work and there are others that prefer the empty firewalls instead of these painted ones. But our goal is not to impress everyone, we don’t want to make everyone like these paintings. I think the right question is not about the reason for existence of these pieces of art, but it is about how the ruin bars could get along with the Art Nouveau buildings of its neighborhood. Our painted walls would like to make people interpret their living environment, their city. Our goal is to make them bethought.
Well I think that you are really close to this aim, you add a lot to the image of Budapest. What do you think, do you reach that goal?
No, I absolutely don’t think so. I guess that there is strata that we have already reached, and there are more and more people who know our work, but we haven’t reached the critical mass. But I find that we have the necessary zip and the right form, so if we can continue this movement in the next few years, our work is going to be known and accepted.