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Valparaiso Day 1 – finding my feet

After arriving in one piece, all be it with terrible jet lag, I unpacked, called home, then decided to grab my camera and see if the fresh air would help my headache! I had seen some amazing street art on my way to the hotel and if I’m honest I was itching to go and take a better look.

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I didn’t have to walk very far to get a taste of what to expect over the next 10 days, there is colour everywhere you turn. In the end I walked around the immediate couple of blocks, for about three hours before jet lag got the better of me and I returned to the hotel.

There is an exciting assortment of styles here in valpo, the only certainty is that there will be something different around each and every corner. I have found the difference between here and the UK Staggering. I think this is for a few reasons.

Firstly, graffiti is not technically illegal here anymore, In fact, as it was used as a method of resistance during the dictatorship, graffiti, street art and murals are considered a right to those who inhabit the city space. There is a general rule to ask permission, however this is often granted and art welcomed to improve the property.

As artists have time to work graffiti has become art. There is a style that mirrors the type of graffiti found in the UK, with it’s origins in 80’s New York hip hop culture. However here that is one style of many. There is graffiti that is influenced by cubism, surrealism, the impressionists and photo realism. Many of the works here are influenced by the protest murals by Chilean workers under dictatorship, with thick black lines and colour blocking, evolving to include more detail and different styles.

Despite taking over 250 pictures in the first two hours alone, I have selected a few to preview here. These pictures are interesting to me as they all utilise the landscape as part of the overall image. The first is a surrealist piece of an eye with an animal leaning along the nose line, the edge of the animal ends were the render has come away from the wall, the incorporates the non perfect wall as part of the image rather than masking it.

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This second picture does something similar by utilising the plants growing out of the wall as body hair on a brightly coloured naked woman.

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This third piece is enormous! Slightly further up the road from the hotel lies an under water themed piece. This features the plants growing out of the wall as sea weed or coral. It is very effective !

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Other styles included a cubist painting that extends he lines of the window frames in to the piece. The artists here do not treat each wall as a blank canvas, painting completely over what was there before, many artists layer their art, finding ways to let past murals show through. Such as the giant woman laying on the road side, the print on her t-shirt was part of the panda mural painted before her. Back during the data collection for my dissertation, an artist told me the best canvas was a white rendered wall, ready for stencilling. Here the best wall is an interesting wall, which really could be any!

Take care, Nic 🙂

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