ANDYVISION - watch me try to be creative. live.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

El toro sangrado

Something I just saw and dug:

If you've ever been to the Spanish countryside you've seen these guys everywhere. They're really quite striking against the landscape.

Back in 1956 the Spanish sherry company Osborne commissioned an advertising agency to develop outdoor promotions for their Veterano brand of brandy. Artist Manuel Prieto sketched the silhouette bull design on a scrap of paper, and soon the 14-meter cut-outs were being erected all along highways across the country--first as wood and then later metal. Eventually over 500 stood as giant sentinels from Cádiz to Barcelona.

After a crackdown on roadside advertising because of a law passed in 1988, Osborne shrewdly decided to simply remove all text from their billboards, leaving the pure black bulls standing amidst vast fields of wheat and sunflowers all over the countryside. They had already been widely popular from their creation, and since their repainting they've become even more--the most recognizable symbol of the Spanish nation. The design is an iconic point of pride for Spaniards and also appears on just about every tourist souvenir you can imagine.

So that's the story behind it all. I thought the graffiti was a pretty interesting commentary too (anti-bullfighting? anti-adveritising? anarchist? art?). And hey, you just learned something.

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