Chile has long been a centre for radical propaganda painting. As early as 1940 leading Mexican and Chilean artists, including David Alfaro Siqueiros, Fernando Marcos and Gregorio de la Fuente, were painting murals in Chile. Today, Latin American street art is as innovative as any in the world, and Chile plays a leading part.
Since the end of Pinochet’s dictatorship in 1990, Chile has made up for lost time. The contemporary artists and graffiteros shown on these pages have their roots in Latin American propagandistic murals, but look forward. Artists such as Bomber West, Charqui Punk, Dana Pink, Elodio, Inti, Piguan, Pussyz Soul Food, Ritalin Crew, Vazko and Yisa are informed by Latin American, European and North American art and music, but have their own Chilean slant.
Their carefully planned visual and verbal jokes, strategies and techniques are derived from an array of sources: Picasso, Surrealism, Pop, São Paulo’s Os Gêmoes, Vitche and Herbert, Brazilian pichaçao lettering, Peruvian photorealism, Argentine stencils, Bolivian hats and masks, US subway graffiti, hip hop, punk, Barcelona’s street art, Japanese animation, pornography, Gilbert & George, Brit art, Bansky. The resulting mixture is anarchic, accessible art.
All parts of Chile are covered, from Arica to Punta Arenas, with special focus on Santiago and Valparaíso, both key centres of Latin American street art. Distinctive cities such as Iquique, Chillán, Concepción and Puerto Montt, and areas of the country rarely seen, are featured.
The book includes an introduction to the history and flavour of Chilean street art; a glossary of graffiti terms; manifestos; and translations of all the graffiti shown.