I love street art as much I as hate graffiti. I admit, the lines are blurry. But this is how I distinguish between the two. If you’re going to take something ugly and dilapidated and transform it into a painting—fantastic; but if you’re going to spray a beautiful façade with a bunch of letters, then, I’m sorry, it’s vandalism.
There is no direct flight from New York to Sofia so I usually arrive on the afternoon of the next day. By now I’ve learned that as much as I long to collapse into bed and sleep for at least 20 hours, my best bet to fight off the jet lag is to go out and get some sun and fresh air. And so I dropped my suitcase at my mother’s apartment and headed out to take in my favorite sights in the center of town. I hadn’t made it even a block when I stumbled on something new and exciting. Street art in Sofia.
Throughout the years, I’ve become oblivious to the ugly, flyer-encrusted circuit boxes scattered throughout the city. So when I noticed the first one painted over in bright colors in a folk motif resembling a rug, I thought it was just someone’s ingenious joke.
When I found a second, and then a third, metal box painted brightly with different images, I realized this was an organized effort. I asked around but none of my friends knew anything about it: not even my friend who is a professor at the University for Architecture nor my friend who had recently graduated from the National Academy of Art. In the meantime, I kept encountering more and more of these amazing examples of street art in Sofia.
The Internet was more helpful in solving the mystery. It turns out The Association of Transformers and the Sofia Municipal Authorities have joined efforts and enlisted some of Bulgaria’s best young artists to paint the old metal boxes belonging to the municipality. Their works are bringing color, humor, and life to the streets. Often they provide a stark contrast to the graffiti covered building façades behind them.
Make art not graffiti!