During the bike tour that I did in São Paulo a few weeks ago, I was introduced by the guide Lincoln Paiva for the lovely Manuela Colombo, who runs the Conexão Cultural blog and also promotes a street-art tour, in partnership with the hostel Ô de Casa, at the creative neighborhood of Vila Madalena in São Paulo. Manuela is someone really interested to promote culture and make connections between art lovers. She kindly helped me to interview and film the brazilian artist Eduardo kobra. (soon the video/interview here)
As also an street-art lover I invited her to write a guest post and talk about her tour and the artists that use to paint at Vila Madalena. In fact she did more than it, she tell us the history of the neighborhood and also propose for the readers a route for those want to make the tour by themselves.
We joined our photos (with the most fresh street-art at Vila Madalena) and here is the article, a taste of the colorful and vibrant graffiti in São Paulo, mostly made by brazilian artists, but also with a wall that I found by the Parisian graffiti writer Horfee.
By Manuela Colombo:
Conexão Cultural is a blog that brings daily news about art and culture in the city of São Paulo and other places in the world. We built a network with several correspondents from other cities in Brazil, as well as other countries. Our purpose is connecting people with their cities, through culture, art, music and cuisine and helping to develop new ways of people’s interaction with art and public spaces.
The blog is part of a major cultural enterprise, which is broad and includes cultural curatorship, performance of events and cultural tours in the city of São Paulo.
Today Conexão tells us some interesting things about urban arts in Vila Madalena and proposes a route in the neighborhood.
Vila Madalena is a neighborhood that inspires everyone. Not only because of its graffiti alleys, artists’ studios and urban and contemporary art galleries, but for being a neighborhood that welcomes creativity with “open arms”.
Once named as Sítio do Rio Verde (“Green River Ranch”), nowadays the neighborhood is highly valued. People here say that the ranch used to belong to a Portuguese named Gonzalo (and one of his daughters was called “Madalena”), and that explains the origin of its name. The region began to grow thanks to the construction of Cemitério São Paulo (in the 20’s).
Even with its expansion, living in the neighborhood would still cost little in the 70′s, and students from the public University of São Paulo moved there and helped to build its current artsy/bohemian profile (including in terms of urban art). In the 80′s, it was here where one of the first street art groups of the city was created, which named Tupinãodá. They were responsible for the creation of the famous Beco do Batman. Today, while walking in the neighborhood, you literally “stumble” in art all the time and there is a sense of community all around (something not so common in São Paulo).
Here we propose a cultural route (which can be done on foot or by bike) going through some interesting points in Vila Madalena. Leaving from Vila Madalena’s subway, take the Madalena street, where you can see walls painted by artists Alex Senna, Chivitz and Minhau (the latter was exhibiting at the 2013 Graffiti Biennial, in São Paulo). Upon arriving in Harmonia street, turn left to get into the A7MA Gallery (around number 95), which is the result of the union of artists from “Coletivo 132″ with the group Fullhouse. Several of the artists who are in A7MA have walls at Beco do Batman (next hot point to be visited), as is the case of Roberto Bieto, Enivo and Marina Zumi. Follow the route to Beco do Batman, one of the best spots for street art in “Sampa”, which is much disputed between street artists, and presents works of undeniable quality. What you see today is a result of many changes over the years (not the same works that existed in the 80’s).
One of the highlights is the work of artist Niggaz (very prestigious among graffiti artists), who died in 2003, victim of a drowning (he was the first graffiti artist with a lower social background that came to Vila Madalena). A meeting point for bikers near the Batman’ Alley is the bar and gallery TagJuice. Get off at Luiz Murat street, then turn into the corner of Belmiro Braga street. Get into the basketball court (where you can appreciate the art of Kobra, Pato, Mundano and many others artists). Then, get in the Beco do Aprendiz, another open-air museum. The project is a result from the support of the NGO Aprendiz, which some years ago initiated its revitalization. This place used to be abandoned and a meeting point for drug users. Some highlights of this alley are: work of John Howard, Ndrua and Vitché. The last revitalization of the alley was curated by the artist Pato, who selected artists from different regions of São Paulo to renew the walls of the alley, it’s beautiful! There are many other routes to enjoy art in the neighborhood, but after all this stop to get some rest, eat and drink something (in one of the many cafes, restaurants and bars of the neighborhood), and make a new plan for another day.
For more research on São Paulo’s street art history, we recommend the thesis “Iconografias da metrópole: grafiteiros e pixadores representando o contemporâneo” (Portuguese).
For more informations about the street art tour in Vila Madalena, click here.