I was really looking forward to seeing the street art in Sao Paulo and Rio. The Internet really got my hopes up, what with all the striking, colorful, bold pieces that are all up in it. Also, knowing that it was partially decriminalized three years ago, and that there’s a dark undercurrent called pichação that’s deliberately ugly and inspired by Nordic runes, I wanted to see the dynamic firsthand. I even contacted some experts for tips on where to go.
Lo and behold, there was a lot to see, and a lot of it was terrible. Most of it. The pichação covers some buildings, and the effect is disfiguring. I saw most of the interesting pieces through bus windows and quickly realized that any aspiration I had to be a great chronicler of Brazilian street art was not going to happen. I also realized that spending the short amount of time I had in cities of eleven and six million people guided towards graffiti would be wagging the dog. And the correlation between graffiti and disinvestment was very high.
However! Seeing beautiful art in unexpected places is still/always nice.