Street Art of Bogota: A Photo Essay

In many cities, ugly scribbles of graffiti are a sign of decay and neglect. This isn’t true in Bogota, where dozens of colorful “street artists” are repainting the city in creative ways:

The street artists of Bogota all have serious day jobs. They are college professors, graphic designers and authors. They don’t alway work under the cover of night- many have permission by the owners to use a building as their canvas.  Some of their designs are political, some are funny and some are just beautiful:

Many of the graffiti artists in Bogota are well known for their distinct style and subject matter, such as Pez, who always paints big smiling bird-type creatures:

My favorite:

If you are in Bogota and want to learn more about the rich street art culture, I recommend the Bogota Graffiti Tour, which is in English and run on donations. It’s the best way to truly delve into the art which makes the city so pretty.

40 thoughts on “Street Art of Bogota: A Photo Essay”

  1. Glad to see someone else appreciates the street art of Bogota! I, like you, had no expectations going to Colombia, other than to watch out for drug smugglers and kidnappers. But to my surprise I absolutely loved that country! The street art of Bogota is worth coming back for by itself. I’ll just have to remember to bring a much nicer camera the next time! Great stuff – keep going!

  2. Steph: This is a wonderful presentation, but in my humble opinion, too simplified, and too much of it misses how much intensity, tension, and even controversy surrounds the creation of the graffiti in Bogotá. For instance the murder of Diego Felipe Becerra in 2012 for the graffiti he created that often blatantly illustrated police and government corruption. The police even tried to lie, claiming that Becerra attempted to hijack a bus on la Carrera 7, which he did not. He was only 16 and didn’t even have a criminal record. Second, it IS Prohibited by the Government and Police, however tolerated, within limits. If one is continually caught they might have to pay a fine (often rumored as a bribe) and/or spend time in a detention facility. Second many political artists like DJ Lu or Juegasiempre (always playing) – the artists whom many in your comments cite as producing work like Banksy, lives a double life, where he vigilantly guards his actual identity as a Professor Architecture at a university in Chapinero. Many of his works, like that of the group known as Toxicomano include blatant accusations against what is seen as the corrupt interests of the government and those in power in the country – at the expense of the people. There is great tension between these two contested territories staked in the name of justice, popular voice, and/or the nation.

  3. Those are simply beautiful. Even though some of them aren’t my taste artistically, you can tell that there’s some serious artistic talent there.

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