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

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The Houses Of Pablo Neruda

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“Poetry came in search of me.” Pablo Neruda

The Chilean Nobel Laureate poet Pablo Neruda may be one of the greatest poets in the Spanish language. His poetry is hard to translate and there is only a small amount in English. It is difficult for me and also for many Chileans to disassociate his words from his intense political views and/or personal failings.


He wrote exquisite poems about love and human nature. Neruda has three houses—one on San Cristobal Hill in Santiago, another in Valparaiso and the third is in Isla Negra. I visited two of them. To decorate his houses he has scoured antique shops and junkyards for all kinds of objects. He has many collections. Each object reminds him of an anecdote. You can not photograph inside.

Riding the funicular to the top of Parque Metropolitano is the classic tourist activity in Santiago.

When we got to the bottom again, it deposited us a block away from La Chascona, the house the poet bought in 1951 for his then-secret lover, Matilde Urrutia.

La Chascona (the name refers to the wild tangle of Matilde’s hair, a recurring element in his poems) is a house filled with objects – not for their value or beauty, but as an expression of the person who assembled them. It was destroyed in a military coup after his death and has been rebuilt and restored. For a Communist, he is quite the shopper.


Isla Negra (Black Island) is neither black nor an island. It is an elegant beach resort forty kilometers south of Valparaíso. No one knows where the name comes from; Neruda speculates about black rocks vaguely shaped like an island which he sees from his terrace.

Thirty years ago, long before Isla Negra became fashionable, Neruda bought—with the royalties from his books—six thousand square meters of beachfront, which included a tiny stone house at the top of a steep slope.

“Then the house started growing, like the people, like the trees.” His collections of bottles, nautical things and odd objects grew as well.


l love these collections and I love this house with its magic light and expansive views.


It is at Isla Negra where Pablo Neruda and his third wife, Matilde have established their most permanent residence.


His most iconic works were written here. It is where he was happiest entertaining a constant stream of visitors with Chilean wine and food. The names of his dead friends are carved in the beam above the bar so he can always have a drink with them. There are seventeen names.

When he died, which was during the Pinochet reign of terror,  Neruda was given a pauper’s grave. Chile didn’t officially embrace its most famous writer until democracy was restored in 1990. Then he and Matilda were buried outside facing the sea according to his wishes.

“Bury me at Isla Negra, in front of the sea I know, in front of every wrinkled place, of rocks and waves that my lost eyes, will never see again.”

Fly safe,
JAZ