Valparaiso is a bit like San Francisco if the 90’s had never ended – think undercuts, paste-ups, and alt-rock bands, with less of the startup douchebaggery. This gritty city by the bay is true to its bohemian roots. There are local events and art exhibits abound, plenty of spots to catch a cheap show, and street art just about everywhere. What more could you want, really?
Time in Valparaiso goes down faster than a street dog eats a completo. It is the kind of place you can stay for far too long without other plans to drag you away. I had given up everything to leave San Francisco, yet two weeks in the Chilean equivalent made it feel good to be home.
Are you planning a visit to Valparaiso? There are plenty of cool things to do around the city, but be sure to make time for Valparaiso street art. Here’s a brief history of street art in Valparaiso along with info about the best Valparaiso street art and where to find it.
Valparaiso Street Art
Under the Pinochet dictatorship, street art in Chile emerged as a form of protest. It could be done anonymously, so it was one of the safest ways to speak out during quite dangerous times. Decades later, street art is more popular than ever. Local and international artists have developed unique styles and tested them out all over Valpo. You’ll find everything from B.R.P, to fauvism, cubism, to wild style decorating the city walls without even having to look too hard.Almost every building, wall, and storefront is painted in Valpo, with one notable exception – the pitifully white Radio Portales building. Strangely, it’s also the most tagged building in Valparaiso. What keeps it so white? Paint jobs. Daily.
The rest of Valparaiso, on the other hand, has seemed to adopt the attitude that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Businesses and homeowners can either be the local tight ass and fall victim to ugly tags, or they can go ahead and share their wall with a muralist. This culture is what has made the city of Valparaiso into one enormous canvas for spray can art.
More information on where to find street art + street art tours in Valparaiso below!
Street Art Everywhere
Dig the street art in Valparaiso? Don’t forget to follow the artists on Instagram!
1. Man holding a fish bowl by Mr. L | 2. Chilean woman by Anis | 3. Animals by Un Kolor Distinto | 4. Neo-Cubism by Okuda | 5. Chiloe mural by Daniel Marceli | 6. Psychedelic Face by Shokolei and Un Kolor Distinto | 7. NA | 8. Site of the late Happies not Hippies Mural by Art Believe | 9. Unknown | 10. Bored woman by Ella and Pitr | 12. Animal band by Seimiek | 13. Faces by Un Kolor Distinto
Where to Find Street Art in Valparaiso:
It is certainly possible to explore the Valparaiso street art on your own. The neighborhoods of Cerro Concepción and Cerro Alegre are absolutely covered with street art. Some of the more famous murals are: The Beethoven Piano Stairs (Abtao 682), We are Happies, Not Hippies (Templeman 672) | UPDATE: This mural has been painted over as of February 2017, Tower on Fire (Dimalow 166), Animal Mural (atop Ascensor Concepcion). To get the best perspective on Valparaiso Street Art, check it out both in the higher and lower parts of town.
If you’d like a bit more context, Valpo Street Art Tours offers a daily GraFREEti tour, street art walking tours, and a workshop tour. Here are a few photos of the excellent art you can see in Valparaiso.
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