Street Art In Valpo (Valparaiso, Chile)

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Street Art In Valpo.

“I laugh at the way some people think graffiti is all selfish tagging and vandalism. Thoughtful street art is like good fiction – it speaks out on behalf of everyone, for us all to see.” Carla H Krueger

This picturesque port city of Valparaiso or Valpo as it is called to locals attracts artists from all over the world who proudly come to leave their mark on its walls.

The city has become internationally known as an open canvas for the creative urban artists.

You can visit Valparaíso and discover plenty of magnificent art on your own. But, for those low on time, and high on interest, I recommend taking the street art tour with Al Ramirez.

Al is a graffiti artist.

Graffiti has gained recognition from the art world more and more as a legitimate form of art.


While tags are probably the most popular forms of stylized writing, graffiti art is much more than that.

It can mean a colorful mural with a message or a black and white stencil piece. In each case, graffiti art makes a statement.

The tour includes all kinds of street art.

“We are not Hippies, We are Happies” might just be the most popular piece of street art in all of Valparaíso. It was painted by Art + Believe, an English creative duo based in Brighton, UK and is located on one of Valparaíso’s most central streets. You may have to fight your way through the crowds to get a picture as it’s always packed with photo-happy tourists.

The most famous Valpo born artists is INTI. INTI’s murals are massive, his work literally demanding attention. It’s impossible to walk by one his monumental paintings without taking notice. He’s become quite the legend among street artists in Chile and has left his mark in almost every corner of the globe.

I learned on the tour that Pablo Neruda (Valparaiso’s most famous resident) invited artists to get creative in his city.

Consider it the social media of the day – as politicians now tweet their latest opinions to the masses, the street artists would spread their political messages via art.

Under the Pinochet dictatorship, street art in Chile emerged as a form of protest. It is still a form of protest today.

Street art is about communication, whether it is a beautiful mural, or fancy bubble letters.

I read everything. I’m a huge fan of walls that tell a story. (or stairs)

Thanks Al for a great day. http://www.ValpoStreetArt.com

Fly safe,
JAZ

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them – Graffiti Art In Bogota Colombia

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them – Graffiti Art In Bogota, Colombia

“Graffiti is not about clean lines, pretty colors and beautiful blends. Graffiti is my life’s turbulence exploded on a wall.” Mint Serf

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Graffiti started in Bogotá in the seventies with different futbol fans proclaiming their loyalty. It was a time of drug cartels, poverty and a repressed military society.The graffiti was a way of protesting  and not so much about art.  In the nineties it became more artistic. As in other countries, it was started by art students near the Universities.

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In Bogotá like everywhere else, graffiti and graffiti art was a crime. In 2011 Diego Felipe Becerra was spray-painting his signature  Felix the Cat image on the walls of an underpass when he was killed by police.

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Public outrage and protests led to the city’s change in attitude toward street art as well as the arrest of the officers. Certain walls became legal for graffiti.

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The city began hiring street artists for public murals.

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Many walls were designated for artistic expression and beautiful murals were painted – usually with political or social messages.

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Looking over the photos there is definitely much more of this in Bogotá then in other countries I have been to.

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The street art scene in Bogotá is not so much a street gallery as it is art in the streets. There are many less paid for walls and much more self-expression than in some other cities.

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The paint is expensive so they use cheaper paint that is not long-lasting. .  The art is constantly changing. There are wall wars with people painting over each other’s pieces.

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DJ Lu was one of the earlier street artists and his stencils all had serious political messages. He uses common branding as a way of getting his message across quickly. (pineapple grenades, mosquitos ,guns )

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Rodez paints with his sons (both college graduates) and sometimes gets help from other street artists. They often teach in Buenos Aires.

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Animal Poder Crew is a street art collective started by Stinkfish and has grown to include graffiti artists and writers from all over the world.

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Toxicomono started as a punk rock band and grew into a street art group.

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The increase in street art also produces an increase in tagging or vandalism. It’s hard to tell street artists where they can and cannot paint. It doesn’t go with the nature of street art. It s harder to tell people who are angry or just have something to say that they can’t write their messages on walls either.

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Then there was Justin Bieber. After a concert in Bogotá, he went with a police escort to write on city walls that were off-limits for graffiti. Overnight, hundreds of new artworks appeared on the underpass. When approached by police the artists said, “Why don’t you protect us like you did Justin Bieber?”

Thanks Luiz Lamprea for your knowledge and love of street art.

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Fly safe,

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JAZ