Saturday, December 29, 2012
New Art Lovers...Sao Paulo!
This is Sao Paulo, Brazil. This is one of the largest cities in the world, and the largest in the Americas. This place is sprawling, covering far more land than Los Angeles and harboring far more people than New York City. It's huge. It's massive. It has all the perks and problems of a large city. Well, almost all.
This is the Open Air Museum of Urban Art. It's an underpass.
I'm not kidding. It's an official museum. Brazil once had a problem with graffiti, just like many other cities around the world. But, at one point, you have to make a decision as to which battles are worth fighting, and in Sao Paulo, they decided that this one was not worth it. Since graffiti has been embraced as art in this city, things have changed. Now, an underpass is a museum. And that's not all.
This is the Museum of Art in Sao Paulo. Like many other galleries and museums in town, they have some graffiti art on display. As a matter of fact, Sao Paulo is one of the most noteworthy places that you can visit to see graffiti art on display all over the place.
This is Batman's Alley. That's the most common name for it. It's also known as Beco do Batman. This is an entire street or alley devoted to graffiti art. It all started in the 80's when someone painted Batman on one of the walls of this tiny alley near Cemeterio Sao Paulo. In the decades that have followed, the entire alley has been covered in some dynamic and beautiful graffiti art. It is an open gallery, so it changes a lot. Any two visits can mean completely different works.
You never know what you'll find. How does it work? Are there rules? Well, as with any other artistic community, this one has some of it's own rules. Technically, you are supposed to ask the artist of a painting before painting over it. Does it work? I don't know, but the art is beautiful and ever evolving.
In Sao Paulo you will find graffiti art everywhere, and it suits them well. Brazil has long since been known for it's bright and vibrant materials, clothes, art, food, and everything. Graffiti art fits right in. It's a feast for the eyes wherever you go.
They even import it from out of the country to put on display.
The variety of styles, artists and locations are endless. It makes Sao Paulo one of the most colorful and artistic cities in the world.
This is a far cry from the things that you normally read about in Sao Paulo. Normally, the most often written about thing in the city is the traffic.
This city is known for traffic jams over 100 miles long.
The perk to sitting in traffic is that the street vendors, which were just recently given their licenses back, will come to you. You can buy virtually anything you need, from a snack or drink, to clothes and jewelry from the comfort of your car. This is all if you have the patience and the time to bother to drive in the world's worst traffic.
Or you can go on the fly. There are over 200 heliports in Sao Paulo, because some of the city's wealthier citizens have had enough traffic. They just fly right over it. Does that sound extreme? Maybe, but since there is an extremely high standard of living in this city, it fits right in. It's an amazing town. I've read that you should try and make friends online or get a really good contact before you go there. It is a primarily Portuguese speaking country. The city of Sao Paulo has some of the largest groups of ethnic Japanese and Italians in the world outside of their native countries. It's the biggest and the richest and the hardest to drive in. That may make it sound like an undesirable destination, but it's not. It also has some of the best ethnic food, shopping, and oh yeah, the art.
You won't want to miss it.