Visitors to Rijeka can't fail to have noticed the explosion of street art adding colour and different perspectives to the urban environment of the Croatian city. In 2018, artists Lonac (Croatia), Isaac Cordal (Spain), Sebas Velasco (Spain) and Pejac (Spain) all contributed painted or sculpture works to the walls, windows and ledges around Rijeka at the invitation of Rijeka 2020 Capital of Culture organisers. Adding to this expression in 2019 has been another Spanish artist, Francisco de Pájaro, who was in residence there for a two-week period beginning on June 27.
Francisco de Pájar makes sculptures from discarded items, the trash that businesses and individuals throw away, plus other detritus left on city streets. Using worn mattresses, empty boxes and food containers, old furniture and bin bags, he creates playful creations which find the beauty in the everyday items we throw away. His ongoing series of street art interventions is titled 'Art is Trash', a provocative title deliberately chosen by the artist.
Francisco de Pájar's 'Art is Trash' series started life out of necessity. In 2009, de Pájar's hometown of Barcelona, like much of Europe, was in the grip of the economic crisis. Galleries were not interested in showing any of de Pájar's work and so, he took to the streets. Since that time, trash has become his sole medium of artistic expression.
'I think it's perfectly natural for my art to end up in landfills,' the artist told sections of his audience while in Rijeka, explaining the temporary nature of his works. 'This nullifies my ego, which sets me apart from other artists.'
De Pájar has breathed new life into discarded items on Rijeka's streets, turning them into short-lived artworks which, as you can see from these photos, invite people to interact with them. If you can catch them while they're still around, you can find Francisco de Pájar's creations in Rijeka beneath the Trsat staircase in Školjić, at the bottom of Žrtava Fašizma street, near the Nikola Tesla primary school, in Tito Square (at Konto) and by the Rječina River (on the Andrija Kačić Miošić walkway).
Photos of artworks include some taken by Port of Diversity volunteer Ivana Babić.