Valparaíso Street Art

Valparaiso Street Art
Artist: Ella & Pitr

“Valparaíso, how absurd you are…
You haven’t combed your hair,
You’ve never had time to get dressed,
Life has always surprised you.”
-Pablo Neruda

So, I have never been one for quoting others when writing. Part of me thinks it is a little cheesy (I realize I quoted someone on Wednesday, but nevermind!), but when it comes to Valparaíso, the artists, poets and writers describe it best. Pablo Nerudo, a Chilean poet-diplomat and one of Valparaíso’s most famous residents, was deeply captivated by the city’s vibrancy and color, a trait that also stolen my heart.

I found the street art inspiring with both its social and political commentary as well as its defined structure as an art. We independently explored the street art but also took a tour with a group called Valpo Street Art. It was an amazing tour and I wish, when I had explored Bushwick in Brooklyn, there had been such a tour. Anyways, our street art guide, Rodrigo, introduced us to the many different styles of street art, ranging from Neo-Cubism to Throw-Ups to Wild Style. Prior to this tour, I was ignorant to the culture behind the art. Below I am going to share some of what we learned from our guide, Rodrigo, so please understand that this is my take on Rodrigo’s tour, so you may disagree or find different meaning, and that is okay – this is why I love art so much. Everyone can find different meaning in the same piece.

Valparaiso Street Art
Artist: Najart

This style of street art is still used with a traditional spray can but you use a particular cap to create the small distinct lines that almost look sharpie-like. Rodrigo shared his experience with this style, explaining that there is a very delicate balance of applying the right amount of pressure to create those lines without creating a blob (for lack of a better term) or having the can explode. He joked, that his can exploded. The stairwell where you can find this piece is currently a practice ground for graffiti artists and controlled by the Los Borrachos, a crew that is generally between the age of 16-20 years old.

Graffiti artists are broken up into “crews.” One of the main graffiti crews in Valparaíso are 056 (the area code of Chile).

Valparaiso Street Art
Artist: Un Kolor Distinto

This piece’s commentary is mostly lost on non-Chileans and non-spanish speakers. Apparently, many Chileans use animal characteristics to describe people, (he is as stubborn as a horse etc…) and this is very prevalent within Chilean spanish. This piece is addressing and teasing this tendency and pays homage to LUKAS’S Bestiario del Reyno de Chile. This piece very much diverts from Un Kolor Distinto’ style but illustrates their love for Chilean culture and respect for their fellow artist.

Valparaiso Street Art

This artist specializes in creating faces. STINKFISH prefers to find a local to use them as a model for the piece. STINKFISH usually takes a photo of this local and then later uses it for their street art.

Valparaiso Street Art
Artist: Okuda x Dasic

As a fan of Seurat’s pointillism, I was immediately drawn to this piece. As much as it seems mainstream to say this, my favorite street art pieces incorporate historic art styles and this piece definitely covers impressionism, albeit a little edgier. I also realize that saying I like this piece within the styles of street art is like saying, “my favorite Chinese food is orange chicken,” but hey, I never claimed to be alternative.

Valparaiso Street Art
Artist: Jekse (Un Kolor Distinto)

Street art is very defined with its boundaries of where you can paint, respect for tenured artists and what you can potentially paint over. This piece is an example of respect for the artist. Typically, a piece will last on the streets for three to five years, if you are a well known and respected artist. This piece has been there a little over five years. This piece brilliantly incorporates the architecture of the building into the head piece of the figure.

Valparaiso Street Art

Visiting Valparaíso was such a privilege. I do not know what I was expecting, but the city exceeded my expectations. From the Valparaíso street art, to the people, to the fun night life, this is not a city to miss. Most of the art is on Cerro Concepíon and Cerro Alegre. These are parts of the city that are protected by UNSECO and therefore, beautiful and colorful.

If you want to see more on my love for street art, check out these posts here!


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LocationLOCATION: Valparaíso

    • Right?!? It is such beautiful art, and I was happy to be able to share a little bit from what I learned from the artists themselves.

    • Thank you Jane! I went to your blog this morning and wish I could read Italian! It is such a beautiful language. I am so jealous of European educations that really enforce the importance of language.

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