I love graffiti. No… not “that” kind… I’ve never really understood the territoriality of marking tags (a graffiti writer’s initials or a special identifying mark) over and over on all sorts of public and private property…
Certainly not when they write on houses or hit my car a few years ago:
But I do love street art… those unexpected “joyitas”… artistic surprises that pop up like mushrooms in the forest. I love the unpredictability of their appearance—the double-take and “Wha? That wasn’t there yesterday!” I also love their ephemeralness (huh? Where’d it go? I know it was here…oh wait, that’s it, under that fresh coat of white paint). It’s about color and abstractness and creativity. The joy of turning a corner and discovering a new piece—and I’ve been known to yell “stop the car!” on many an occasion when I spot something new.
Santiago and Valparaíso are full of truly creative work, and I shoot it whenever I can. I had planned on doing a more in-depth post with a selection of shots from different areas, but checking through my photo files, I see too many to choose from (and far to many to publish at once), so I’ve changed my plans. I’ll be throwing up graf shots from time to time as a way of documenting them and alerting anyone interested about where to find them… a sort of graffiti tour, if you will.
I also want to mention that although Berlin has an international reputation for its graffiti, as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t hold a candle to what’s going on in Chile. Sure, there were tags everywhere—barely an untouched spot in the city—but it wasn’t art. It was primarily a collection of hastily posted “I was heres” repeated over and over again rather than thought out, well-planned pieces that actually take talent and time.
There are many areas of Santiago that are well known for their graf: Santa Isabel, Bellavista, and Quinta Normal, just to name a few… and we’ll get to them in time, but I want to start with a couple Santiago classics on the banks of the Río Mapocho. For anyone who hasn’t seen these pieces, they are viewable from the south side of the river looking northward… as in from Costanera looking toward Bellavista.
By the way… look closely… there’s really no bridge there!
For more on Chile’s Street Art, see: