So its over, the dissertation is complete, bound and handed in.. Look, See, Proof!
So I just wanted to take a min to say thank you.
In Particular to the artists I featured in my dissertation: Threen, Camus, Know1, RIP, Pesse, Arms, Snot, Diek, Zenone, and those who’s work I happily took pictures of all over Stoke-on-Trent for the past year almost!
So whats next?
With the help of my dissertation supervisor, Andy Zieleniec, I have won a student fellowship in sociology. This is funded by Santander and basically means I have the opportunity to travel to Chile in September to look at street art and graffiti in Valpariso. I have selected Chile because of urban street art’s links with Chile’s political history. Street art in Chile has a rich and interesting history, in the 1960’s Chile was painted with political murals heavily influenced by Mexican muralists and then later Cuba’s propaganda and film posters (Palmer, 2008). The communist ‘Ramona Parra’(BRP) and socialist ‘Elmo Catalan’ brigades quickly and efficiently completed simplistic murals before and after the 1970 elections. However, from 1973 and under Pinochet’s military rule many murals, including the Open Sky Museum in Valparaiso, were erased. The murder of freethinkers during this time drove many artists underground, but art did not stop (ibid). The Chacon Brigade produced premade protest art, unfurling it in the street and attaching it to buildings. But, It was in 1979 that the first organised art took on the dictatorship; firstly with CADA (Colectivo Acciones de Arte), then the BRP later making the Chilean star (traditional symbol of the political right) their own (Palmer, 2008). When the dictatorship ended in 1990 many artists returned to Chile, although not all continue to paint in such a politically motivated way (ibid). The political street art movement left a legacy in Chile of street expression, whether through posters, stickers, poetry, film or music; it is a place where life is lived and recorded in the city streets.
Although the capital of Chile, Santiago, is full of fascinating urban art that I am eager to see, the city I have selected to visit is Valparaíso. Valparaíso is historically important for its port. Prior to the construction of the Panama Canal in the early 1900’s it was the first stop for ships coming around Cape Horn. This led to an ever fluctuating population of locals, migrants and travellers (Planet, 2014). The city rises from the sea into a steep rise up the hillside ensuring the city’s pedestrians use stairways. These are often painted, such as the piano stairs pictured below.
The layout of the city offers public space in abundance, migration and traveling artists ensures the space is full of character, culture and colour. Chile’s artists talk about how between the late 1990’s until the mid-2000’s Valparaiso did not have much order, artists travelled from Santiago to paint anywhere and anything. In recent years this freedom has narrowed, artists usually gain permission, which due to the accepting culture towards street art is usually freely given (Mardones, 2013). Valparaiso as a city interests me because of this accepting nature. Its political past and maritime history is also aspects of Valparaiso that intrigue me, so I would like to see how important these aspects of city life are now in street art.
What I’ll do when I’m there..
Once in Chile I plan on walking the streets and taking pictures or short videos of the street art that I find. Valparaiso has many different walking tours on offer, so I will start my stay attending at least one of these. This should help me gather my bearings as I seek out the different sites of street art. Where I can (language ability permitting) I will chat to locals about the city’s art. Each day I will write up a blog piece to document my experience, sharing some pictures and narrating the sounds, smells & feelings evoked during the days walk. By the end of my stay in Valparaiso, and possibly Santiago, I hope to be able to produce a detailed look at Chile and Latin American Urban Street Art through pictures, film and a reflective account.
Beyond Chile, I have an offer of an MA in Criminal Justice and Criminology at Keele and I have also applied for an M Res Social Research Methods in Sociology, also at Keele. Then I need to make a decision! The course structure is very dfferent for each so the consideration for each course goes beyond what would I like to do, and rests more on what is possible with 4 children to support. However, I am hoping to be accepted and start the Mres in Sociology this October.
I will continue bloggin about sociology, graffiti, street art, the city, culture jamming, consumerism and other related topics. Ofcourse I will be documenting my travels to Chile on here and other related events or observations. Thse of you who are not new to my blog may realise tha it is now on wordpress. The last blog on Blogger was linked to my university account so I have created this one and transfered all of the posts over to it. Thankyou for sticking with me and new readers welcome!
Thanks for reading, I look forward to any comments or oservations in the future or on old posts.
Bandholz, E. (2012, May 11). Street art and graffiti in Chile. Retrieved Jan 5, 2014, from Bandholz.com: http://www.bandholz.com/2012/05/street-art-graffiti-photos-chile/
Eskenazi, G. (2012, Nov 7). Artsy Urban Graffiti: The Streets Of Valparaiso, Chile . Retrieved Jan 5, 2014, from Huffpost Arts & Culture: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gerald-eskenazi/artsy-urban-graffiti-the-streets-of-valparaiso-chile_b_1661544.html
Jo, T. &. (2012). Will the real Grafficity please stand up. Retrieved Jan 5, 2014, from TW and Jo’s Excellent Adventure: http://twandjo.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/will-the-real-grafficity-please-stand-up/valpo-piano-stairs/
Kelp. (2010, Feb 17). NEW FEATURE: Street Art in Chile by Kelp. Retrieved Jan 05, 2014, from Mutate Britain: http://mutatebritain.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/new-feature-street-art-in-chile-by-kelp/
Mardones, A. (Director). (2013). Global Street Art – Valparaiso, Chile – Art in the Streets [Motion Picture].
Palmer, R. (2008). Street Art Chile. Eight Books Ltd.
Planet, L. (2014). Valparaiso- History. Retrieved Jan 5, 2014, from Lonley Planet: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/chile/valparaiso/history