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The walls in Brazil are completely alive with street art. From the winding murals of Santa Teresa in Rio, to the hyper-glyphs and psychedelic pandas of Sao Paulo’s backstreets, you can sometimes hardly turn a corner without seeing a piece of finely crafted visual madness.
The current mayor of Sao Paulo banned advertising above a certain size, leaving a city stripped of the visual and mental pollution of corporate wares, and free to explore itself through “guerilla tiling”, countless styles of graffiti, and art fly-posting across every available wall. Here are some of our discoveries of the graffiti from Sao Paulo and Rio, which are just a fraction of the photos we took, themselves barely a glimpse of what’s out there…
In Sao Paulo, there’s one place in particular called Beco de Batman that has a particularly high concentration of brilliant art. The amount of excellent graffiti crammed into the small network of alleyways is mind blowing. It’s situated in the Villa Madalena area of the city, which is also filled with trendy boutiques, cafes and restaurants. It’s where we stayed while we were in Sao Paulo. As well as Beco do Batman, there’s also a lot of graffiti around the whole of Villa Madalena. Beco de Aprendiz is a colourful alleyway like Beco de Batman, and Cumbuci is another hotspot for street art in Sao Paulo, most famously for the work of Os Gêmeos, two twin brothers whose work I’ve also seen in Berlin. Other popular artists to look out for in Sao Paulo are Speto, Dask2, Tumulus, Ninguém Dorme, Profeta, Vado do Cachimbo, and Pato.
There is street art of all types in Sao Paulo, but there’s also a style that’s particular to the city called Pichação. This looks a little like hieroglyphics and the artists compete to paint in the most inaccessible and high places. They have to free climb and abseil to get to them, which makes it a pretty hair-raising art. We saw lots of it dotted around the city.
We’ve seen this cosmic panda elsewhere in South America, but can’t find out who the artist as: anyone know?
Thanks to our couchsurfing host, JanJan we now know the artist’s name is Marina Zumi, an Argentinian artists who lives in Såo Paulo. You can follow Marina Zumi on Instagram.
Street art in Sao Paulo
Other art-related posts
While in Mexico City, we explored the lives of two of our favourite artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
Kochi in Kerala is like a living museum of gorgeous architecture and faded beauty.
Barcelona is filled with amazing art museums. Our favourite is the Picasso Museum. We list more in our Barcelona travel guide.
And of course London is also a wonderful place to explore the arts. We live in Peckham which is a particularly arty area. Read our guide to Peckham here.