Street Art Tour in Valparaiso
Valparaiso’s skin is coated with colorful tattoos, some are beautiful art pieces and others look like drunken mistakes. This city is where art and the streets seamlessly converge in a casual unpretentious and unapologetic air as if the sea breeze blew it in and it stuck to the walls of buildings on all of its 45 hills.
One of the first things you notice in Valparaiso is the graffiti everywhere in the plan, the flat coastal part of the city. Beyond the rapidly scribbled tags and throw-ups by individuals repping their crews, there are murals and art pieces that make Valparaiso look less like a rebellious teenager, and more like a bohemian free spirit.
Recently, my brother was visiting from the US and I thought doing a street art tour in Valparaiso would be part of a proper introduction to the city. As we walked around Cerro Alegre, Concepcion and Carcel for about two hours, our guide Diego told us all about how graffiti and street art started, how they developed in Valparaiso and showed us some of the coolest murals in the city as well as some background information on the artists. We also had the pleasure of meeting one of them, Cuellimangui, who is regularly painting and selling his art pieces at the colorful Paseo Atkinson.
Street Art Tour in Valparaiso
There are a few different types of street art and graffiti. What is the difference? They are often intersecting terms, to oversimplify things graffiti is generally word based using spray paint and street art is image based, but they are not mutually exclusive. I think you can consider both an art form, although graffiti tends gets a bad rap.
There are a lot of different styles and materials uses, here are just a few examples that you’ll see in Valparaiso:
Below this realistic and cleverly drawn hand, there are two tags in green and yellow. These are the easiest, simplest, and fastest graffiti style, and is generally the individual’s or crew’s name.
At the bottom left-hand corner is a white throwup outlined in black SOAK. This required a bit more time and effort to make block or bubble letters and using multiple colors. Although it’s hard to pay attention to that when there is a woman giving birth…
Designs are cut into paper or cardboard and these images and messages are spray painted on any canvas.
Murals are generally larger pieces and can be illegal or commissioned. It can be a single image or scene or a series of loosely connected images or characters.
There are a few plazas and sections of walls with designs made from small pieces of colored tile, glass, or other material set in mortar.
We had a fun time exploring the hills, wandering through its narrow winding streets while seeing and learning more about the different types street art and its history. We recommend the tour for both tourist and locals. Although I have lived here for over 4 years and Francisco is from Valparaiso, we still found it really learned a lot of really interesting stories and gained more of an appreciation for the murals and art that define part of the city.
Valpo Street Art Tours
(Check out this video!)
Mobile: +56 9 5082 1813 | Office: +56 32 259 9565
They also do street art tours on bike, by vehicle, and workshops with local artists where you can get your hands dirty and paint. They do similar street art tours in Santiago too!