Anyone who has strolled a couple of blocks in Sao Paolo, has seen how graffiti has taken over the streets of Brazil. Over the past decade, street art has flourished in the country and artists are using the walls as their public gallery. “Os Gemeos” or “the twins” in Portuguese, are two brothers that have become famous for their artistic innovation. Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo started decorating the streets in 1987. They were widely influenced by American Hip Hop and started to incorporate it in their art. Later on, however, the twins turned to their roots for their artistic expression. Their style began to bring out Brazilian culture and even comment on Brazilian politics. Os Gemeos have also been invited to place their work on public areas through a legal process. Their bright, yellow characters have been shown at trains, schools, and galleries.
Caleb Neelon is another artist that has exposed his work through the wonderful Brazil. Neelon is actually from Massachusetts, Boston, but the vivacity of Sao Paolo graffiti attracted him to its streets. His art is characterized by its drastic colors and fantasy quality. Neelon has dedicated himself to murals and is also known as SONIK. He was introduced to street art when he visited Germany in 1990. Neelon was overwhelmed by the graffiti that adorned the wall of Berlin, and decided it was what he had to dedicate to.
Sao Paolo is also distinguished for its artist, Ricardo AKN. Born in 1979, and now a recognized illustrator, photographer, and painter, Ricardo’s work is everywhere. His color combination, geometric shapes and imaginary scenes create images that make any street come to life.
These are just a few of the artists that are roaming Brazil, spreading their art, and creating an artistically involved culture. Brazil has decided to take advantage of this movement and see its positive side. In March 2009, Graffiti in Rio de Janeiro was legalized. Likewise, there are streets all over the country where this way of art is entirely legal. Brazil is using graffiti as a mean to educate and communicate. Art is the best way to actually reach people. Furthermore, this art has also brought Brazilian culture together and defined it’s style. Clearly urban art is bringing benefits in South America and it is time to bring it to Ecuador. It is hard to find a wall in Quito that doesn’t have graffiti or that doesn’t show a hint that there was graffiti underneath. Artists use it to convey a poetic message or comment on Ecuadorian politics. It is time however, that we take this artistic expression to another level. If you ever pass by guapulo for example, and pay attention, you’ll notice that its walls are decorated not with graffiti but with a work of art. This street art conveys a message that will make anyone stop to ponder. Anyone that passes stops to ponder and this is the beauty of urban art. It is for everyone. This is why I invite you to participate in this undertaking and bring it to our country; because you’ll be surprised at how street art can move people.
Now I leave you with a few pieces of Ecuadorian street artists.
By Vera (Quito, Ecuador)
By Striker (Quito, Ecuador)
By Mensa (Quito, Ecuador)
By Mensa (Quito, Ecuador)