Valparaiso A Colorful City
Valparaiso is a very unique coastal city located about 90 minutes from Santiago. Before the Panama Canal was built, it was one of the most important port cities in the region. Valparaiso’s tradition of art and color started during this time.
A Busy Port
Back when the port was buzzing with activity, Valparaiso became known as the place to get your ship painted. Since most people lived in houses built from ugly corrugated metal (a material easily obtained at the port), they would use the leftover ship paint to make things look nicer. Most of the time there wasn’t enough paint leftover to cover an entire house, so they often painted one wall or floor at a time. The result was a mish mash of colors that still exists today.
A Time Of Unrest
As the 20th Century progressed, Chile’s politics grew more complicated and spray painting or tagging in protest became popular in Valparaiso. Today, there is still plenty of graffiti, but another type of art has flourished in the city. On just about every building, wall, sidewalk or stair, there are murals. Some of these murals are quite simple, while others are enormous in both scale & detail. Valparaiso street art is complicated, unique and mesmerizing to look at.
Both the Valparaiso street art and tagging communities coexist in the city and have agreements not to alter each other’s work. If a tagger gets to a wall first, then an artist won’t come and paint a mural over it. It works the same way in reverse, however I did see a few examples of graffiti on otherwise beautiful pieces of art. Since most property owner’s in the city do not want graffiti, they gladly agree to provide supplies for the many artists to create their masterpieces. I was told these artists work for free in order to bolster their reputation.
Today I am presenting 45 examples of the amazing street art that I personally found while strolling through the streets of Valparaiso. I had initially intended to take a few photos to share, but as we walked through the streets of the city, I became inspired and couldn’t stop snapping. The amazing thing about Valparaiso street art is that it can be found just about everywhere. I hope you enjoy. If you like the photos then please share!