Eduardo Kobra’s street art

In the late 80’s the Brazilian graffiti scene began to draw acclaim. It was in 1987 that Os Gemeos drew their first lines, and in the same year another artist from São Paulo started as well, Eduardo Kobra. While the Os Gemeos twins are already famous in the world, Kobra is only now beginning to make his international name.

Kobra likes to call himself a street artist, he is more like a muralist, but he really don’t care for labels. His works are gigantic and can take a whole wall or building. He combines original mural painting (inspired by artists like the Mexican painters and designs of the North American Eric Grohe) with the characteristics of good design and skilled neo-realistic painting. After countless paintings spread all over São Paulo and other cities in Brazil, Kobra is now taking over the world. His latest job was a mural in Chalk Farm, in the Roundhouse, where once there was a Bansky painting. Any other street artist would have felt the pressure of replacing a work from such an infamous artist, but Kobra only felt that there was a thing he had to do, a job.

“I didn’t feel any pressure at all, but, sure it’s amazing to see the works of this artist. Bansky’s works are smart, people love it, he is stamped on everything. My mural was designed in the same place where was his work, that was priced at 2 million pounds, but someone destroyed, unfortunately”, Kobra explained.

For this wall (pictured above), Kobra chose to do something completely different from its predecessor. The mural contains no provocation and serves an educational purpose, telling a bit about the history of Camden. “No one gave any instructions of what to do, but I tried to appreciate the history of the place, The Roundhouse is very beautiful and has much to tell, the site was created to move and maintain locomotives until it was turned into a live music venue. I worked within this context”, he adds. See the train detail here:

The Chalk Farm mural, created this May, has opened several windows for Kobra and put his name in the headlines of the art news. But this is a path that was being built years ago, with the Louvre museum in Paris displaying one of his works in 2009, with other Brazilian artists.

“For a while I have received requests like that. I don’t have total control of it, but most of them are for galleries and collectors of street art. Today I try to paint only what gives me pleasure, I try to work with my language, my world, and there’s a universe of possibilities. Sometimes I’m painting in a major event, such as the international arts fair taking place in China in October, sometimes in public spaces, as the mural that I’m finishing now in Lyon, France.”

These are two pieces from São Paulo:

On Avenida Morumbi:

On Avenida Oscar Americano:

His success is impressive and Kobra is booked until the end of the year with invitations from all over the world. His next paintings will take place in Italy and Portugal, and in August he has plans to return to London.
“The wall in Roundhouse opened some doors in London for me, I will paint other places in the city soon. In August I will do some work in Miami and in October the Wall in China! Besides that, there are some pretty nice things in Brazil; next month I will inaugurate a work in the Complexo do Alemão, a favela, in Rio de Janeiro”.

by Olivia Mendonça

You can view more of Eduardo Kobra’s work at eduardokobra.zip.net

To find out more about street art in São Paulo see our feature article São Paulo: the world’s street art capital.

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