As a (very) amateur photographer with a too-cool-for-words camera, one of my favorite pastimes is tracking down, and photographing, graffiti and street art. The habit started in Senegal, where even the interiors of some university buildings were subject to spray-painted political slogans, and continued during my years in Morocco, where straight-up graffiti was less common but local-government-sanctioned murals reign supreme. On recent trips to Syria and Chile, I’ve enjoyed finding unique and sometimes downright strange pieces.
I wish that I had read this great series by Mexican GV Author Issa Villareal before traveling to Chile; if so, I would’ve known the significance of this beautiful piece of organized street art I captured on Ave. Tucapel Jimenez in Santiago:
In general, Chilean street art was pretty fantastical, encompassing huge spaces and playing off the local architecture and colors. The Bellavista neighborhood in Santiago in particular had some incredible examples, including this one:
Of course, I don’t miss opportunities to photograph beautiful street art in my own country. Though the only times I’ve come across Banksy’s work has been late at night, sans camera, I’ve certainly spotted other beauts, like this mural in San Francisco, that I’m sure was done with some sort of official sanction:
Another favorite, from Central Square in Cambridge:
Graffiti and street art, no matter where you find it, and though it varies widely in style, has certain commonalities: It is usually fly-by-night and unsanctioned by local governments (with few exceptions). And its ties to hip hop are visible all over the world…