Three cities in three countries. Sao Paulo, Valparaiso, and Bogota. All have something in common – street art.
Now I’m not an expert on this subject. I don’t even know the difference between graffiti, mural, street art, and urban art. But I like free and I like art so there’s that.
And when the morning came, I put on my shoes and started walking.
Open musuem #1 | Sao Paulo, Brazil
The neighborhood called Villa Madalena in Pinheiros is home to many art galleries and artsy restaurants. In this neighborhood I found Beco do Batman (Batman’s alley) where there is a long stretch of graffiti on display.
The good thing about Beco do Batman is that I didn’t have to wander all over the city because there is a good concentration of artwork in a single alley. Though that also means watchers are also concentrated here.
Tip: No need for a guide. Just go to Villa Madalena and ask for Beco do Batman.
Typical time spent: 40-90 minutes
Open museum #2 | Valparaiso, Chile
Valparaiso is a colorful city. Houses are painted with bright colors and walls are covered with art. But what I think is unique about Valpo is that it is hilly. There are at least eight hills (a.k.a. cerros) and they are not easy on the legs hence I only saw few murals.
But the hills aren’t all that bad actually. Makes the city look interesting especially with the colorful houses. Some murals can even be seen only from somewhere high because of the elevation.
The bad thing, taggers or those unpretty graffiti were a lot in this city.
I know I’m tired of taking these steps everywhere but they’re so cute!
Tip: Take the free walking tour. It’s a city tour that already includes graffiti.
Typical time spent: 60-120 minutes
Open museum #3 | Bogota, Colombia
I love this capital city’s sweater weather but what I didn’t know was that I was going to love the street art just as much!
My art sighting was concentrated on the historical district of La Candaleria (though there are murals elsewhere too). It’s a bit of a walk but thankfully it’s mostly flat.
In this area (maybe even the city) street art is really part of the community. Establishments and residents seek out artists to dress their walls, doors, or whatever. Oh and the artists really do make a name for themselves, appearing on magazines, comics, and games. It’s still not straight out legal but it’s just a matter of city permit.
Sometimes it’s an unassuming rose on a gun.
Sometimes it’s a sculpture up there so look up!
Sometimes it’s hand painted.
Sometimes it’s made of small objects.
Sometimes it’s a potato with wings.
Sometimes it’s a poster glued on the wall that will never come off.
Sometimes it’s political.
But mostly it’s beautiful.
Tip: Take the free graffiti tour. They take you to the good ones and explain it well too.
Typical time spent: 90-150 minutes