Juan Carlos Argüello Garzo (1965-1995), better known by his tag “Muelle” (in English, “spring”) was a pioneer of the Madrid graffiti scene. Hailing from the city’s Campamento district, Muelle pursued his passions for punk music, poetry and art in the city between 1982 and 1993.
Muelle became a local hero. He provided colour to a city that was emerging into democracy, his creative blossoming exploring and participating in the newly available cultural and creative freedoms. His biggest public achievement took place in 1987, and by then he was already an urban star. He took part in ARCO 87 along with Galería Estiarte and in la Fiesta de Carnaval del Círculo de Bellas Artes de Madrid in 1992. Also, he was featured in the documentary Mi firma en las paredes (TVE, 1990).
Today, efforts are being made to protect one of his most emblematic signatures, his graffiti in Montera street in Madrid, dating from 1987. In 2010, a request was made to established it as a “Bien de Interés Cultural” (asset of cultural interest).
However, despite the support of this initiative by experts and citizens, legal hurdles stand in the way of its achievement; though the Comunidad of Madrid has stated the need to find a better means for its protection.
Translated by Carmen Cuadrado