Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Street Art: Santiago, Chile

Earthquakes have toppled much of Santiago's historic, Spanish colonial architecture. Also, approximately 30% of the population is under the age of 20. For me, these two things lead to an unexpected conclusion: 

The most prevalent visual expression of the culture of Santiago, Chile, is street art.

I asked a native Santiagina how she felt about "all of this," my arm gesturing vaguely towards the painted walls. Body language goes a long way when you don't share a first language. She said for the most part, she liked it - her friend immediately interrupting to ask if she would like it on her walls. The response was, well, maybe not, but it is good in places "like this." I looked around and noted that we were in a very beat up, industrial-looking neighborhood.

Kind of like this.

I have a soft spot for street art... 

And honestly I'm not sure why. Quick tags (like above) don't really do it for me, but maybe that's because the time commitment is minimal and it's not exactly a well-developed vision. But sometimes craft and imagination come together to create something that is pretty darn neat to look at.

Maybe it's the fact that you're just walking down the street, living your mundane little life, when BAM! Art, in your face.

The floating eyeballs don't do much for me, but check out that dude!

I took something like 100 photos in Santiago of various tags and pieces, and have picked 30-some to share with you based on (what I think is) superior execution, an interesting style, extra playfulness, or if the overall photo tells a bit of the Santiago street art story.

For what it's worth, some things I see when I look at this stuff:
  • Use of line, outline
  • Color: how the colors relate to each other as well as the number of different colors
  • Letters: different "fonts," if you will
  • Shading (seems hard to pull off, given the media!)
  • Complexity vs. simplicity

And now, the photos

Little old men in newsboy caps are so cute!

Love the drips and little touches of black & light green

Reminds me of my first love, drawing with pencil, and the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series

Stay classy, Santiago

I was thrilled to see this guy on a trailer next to the Museum of Contemporary Art, as well. Love the energy.

How would you know it's me if I didn't include a picture of John?

Classic storefront graffiti 

Give The Little Prince a can of spray paint...

This is about 1/4 of a very large piece that wouldn't all fit in the photo

My favorite section. Love the lines in the face and that the little people look so different from the tree

"Punk is not dead" - el Elephante
Not sure if the dogs outnumber the tags or vice versa

Bubblegum pink is always the right choice

Downright exuberant

Spray can wielding koala bear? Um, duh

 Let us "be free!!!" and nothing else matters - José de San Martín