30 January 2011

Brazilian Street Art and Graffiti

As many of you know, Carlie and I have plenty of opportunities to ride the buses here in São Paulo. Fortunately, such travel is free for women over 60 years of age and for men 65 and older. And we qualify on both accounts, although I must add that we get dubious looks every now and again; especially Carlie.

The buses are often really crowded, and when it rains, all traffic stops, sometimes for hours. And while I really don't enjoy such occasions, I do enjoy the opportunity that riding the bus gives me to take in some of São Paulo's street art and graffiti.

As is common in most large cities, there are many inhabitants here seeking an opportunity to express themselves by tagging a public building, bridge or fence. Even private property is often covered with such expressions of individuality. And while I have trouble reading the artists' messages here, that was often the case in Houston, too.

What follows are a few samples of what I define as both the street art and the graffiti between where Carlie and I live, and where we work in downtown São Paulo. I should add that some of these examples are from other parts of the city. The first group I classify as unadulterated graffiti, that can be found in most large cities. This is found mostly on abandoned buildings, and in "run down" parts of the city. As you can see, some messages have a religious tone to them.

This second group of street art is not graffiti, per se, but instead an effort on the part of business establishments to advertise their trade, be it selling automotive parts, computer motherboards and other electrical gadgets, tile manufacturers, nursery schools or bicycle sales. Some are pretty amateurish, while others are quite nifty!

As you can see, some of the art work is painted directly on the heavy metal (I'm not referring to music here) security doors that shut off the business establishments from the street at the end of each business day.

The following two tile murals were quite impressive.

As you can see, even the art works gets tagged at times.

The next group of street art can be found on public walls, and even in two of the tunnels through which our bus passes each day on the way to work. Some of the art work is strange, while other street art is whimsical and entertaining.

Check out the size of this wall painting! In the lower left, you will see a man sitting in the ground. Why? Who knows!

The artists at work!

If we have to have graffiti on the walls of the buildings, bridges and overpasses of our cites, I vote for some of the street art I get to see here every day in São Paulo!


Erika said...

Wow, very cool. A coffee table book about this would be fun.

Chelsea Pratt said...

Good idea, Erika! So much of it is just messy to me, but there are some that are amazing and I would much prefer looking at the paintings than rusty metal or dirty stucco. I guess everyone wants to make their mark on the world. One time, I decided I wanted to make mine and as a missionary, I drove my car off the edge of the road into some fresh snow. That was the extent of "my mark." We laughed about it, but it felt kinda good.

megan said...

What a great post, Dad! I am so glad you are taking the time to tell the story of your time there. I am such a proud daughter.

Dan and Dee said...

I love that you posted these photos! I have traveled some and have never seen such street art as this! Sometimes we take for granted the things around us. Thanks for sharing.

Lolo said...

Hi, I loved the blog, and I featured some of your pictures here: