Valparaiso Street Art: Travel Chile
The Culture of Street Art
Valparaiso, or “Valpo” as the Chileans affectionately call it, truly is the “Jewel of the Pacific.” This ocean port city is a vibrant place filled with artists, brightly colored houses and beautifully intricate street art. It is also the home of the famous Nobel Prize Winning poet, Pablo Neruda. Tourists can visit the late poet’s preserved house, La Sebastiana, on one of the many tours that the city has to offer.
Neruda himself was always in love with the disorganized, but wildly beautiful city he called home, a sentiment which he explores in his ode to the city. “Valparaíso, what an absurdity you are, how crazy: a crazy port. What a head of disheveled hills, that you never finished combing. Never did you have time to dress yourself, and always you were surprised by life.”
Valparaiso’s local government as well as the local owners of cafes, restaurants, and shops promote the culture of street art in the city. As a result, the city is covered not only with art from unknown graffiti artists, but also by world famous artists such as Inti, who was born in Valparaiso.
Although the entire city is covered with street art, the major tours usually cover the cerros (hills) of Carcel, Miraflores, Alegre, Pateon, Concepcíon and Bellavista as well as Templeman Street on Cerro Alegre. Another large tourist destination is El Museo a Cielo Abierto or the “open-air museum” in the neighborhood of Bellavista. In 1969 the open museum project was launched with the goal of bringing culture and art to a popular part of the city by bringing it prominent graffiti, mural and mosaic artists. The project however was abandoned in 1973 under the dictatorship of Pinochet and did not resume until after the dictatorship ended in 1990. In 1992 the art community rallied around the project bringing more than 70 artists into the space, including Francisco Méndez, Eduardo Perez, Maria Martner, Roberto Matta and Nemesio Antúnez. Well known graffiti artists such as Pure Evil, Inti, Aislap, Dana Pink, and the graffiti crew Un Kolor Distinto can also be found there.
For lovers of art, Valparaiso is a must see!
Doors of Valparaiso
Inti: Chile's Most Famous Graffiti Artist
Although there are many talented and influential street artists from Chile, Inti is the most famous is by far. He has traveled to cities around the world to create large scale murals in his distinctive style which draws upon his own cultural heritage and upon the latin american experience. His artistic alias is taken from the Quechua word meaning ‘the sun’ or the ‘sun god.’ The majority of Inti’s work features characters who draw heavily upon the themes and symbolism of life, death, ancient religion and Catholicism within the context of Latin American and Chilean History. Inti’s work is also profoundly political. He discusses the interactions between Latin America’s often violent and conflicting cultural histories. Many of his pieces feature political revolutionaries and the seek to highlight the unlikely maintenance of Latin America’s cultural vibrancy in the face of the leveling power of western globalized capitalism, while still addressing Chile’s economic disparity and poverty as well as their recent rocky political history.