Take the Graffiti tour of São Paulo
Graffiti tourism brings the bright colours out of the grey of São Paulo, and we tell you what do do and where to go
There’s nothing new about the fact that the street art of São Paulo has been drawing attention from the international gaze. Hometown to graffiti artists such as osgemeos, Tinho and Speto, new stars stake their claim on the walls of the city every day and are becoming recognised and sought after by art galleries and museums the world over.
São Paulo’s streets boast a rich diversity in relation to the technique, lines and colours of its graffiti, something which stands out to the eyes of any visiting tourist. And it was in considering this that tourism agencies have already specialised in tours dedicated to the city’s street art.
Take for example Soul Sampa, an agency responsible for organising a walking tour which explores the streets of Vila Madalena. “The route’s never the same given that street art is so ephemeral, meaning the route changes a great deal depending on where the most relevant pieces of graffiti art are”, explains Thiago Cyrino, co-founder of Soul Sampa.
But JungleDrums has also prepared some graffiti routes through the city of São Paulo for those who appreciate street art. And, beyond Vida Madalea, our tour also takes you through the neighbourhoods of Cambuci and Centro.
Cambuci is a mandatory stop for all who appreciate graffiti. The neighbourhood is the hub for talented urban artists São Paulo, such as osgemeos, Finok and Nunca. The circuit’s principal streets are Lavapés and Justo Azambuja, replete with work by the crews VLOK and ANX, with the highlights being osgemeos, Finok and Coyo
Despite being located in a central region of the city, Cambuci is a peaceful district and there’s no problem in walking around the streets on foot. Start the route in Largo do Cambuci and carry on to Rua Luis Gama. Note on the right-hand side the two-storey high building with really old works by Victhé, osgemeos, Flip and the American Jonone.
Carry straight on and turn right down Rua Cesário Ramalho, then soon on the left down Rua dos Alpes, where the beautiful work by artist Vitché and graffiti artist Jana Joana is located. Continue along Rua dos Alpes and then, on the corner of Rua Silveira da Mota, check out the work by Chileans Cekis and Grim, who painted with distorted perspective a houses, figures of people and pink coloured clouds. On this very same wall, going round the corner is another work by Vitché and Jana Joana.
Follow Rua Silveira da Mota, then turn right into Rua Luis Gama. Keep your eyes peeled for writing by osgemeos, Coyo, Xabu, Finok, Amigo and Ise. Carry on along Luis Gama, turn left on Rua Dom Romualdo de Seixas and you’ll see a house, painted by Fiok, with his fun green characters.
Continue on the tour and turn left at Rua Vieira Ravasco. Head towards Rua Justo Azambuja, where immediately in front there is a work by Finok, Ise and Coyo. Keep going until the corner of Rua Silveira da Mota, where in an enormous structure, is the classic giant yellow character produced by the duo osgemeos, together with lettering by Ise, Coyo and Wozy, from Greece.
Go down Justo Azambuja and, on the corner of Lavapés, look at the mural of the famous characters by osgemeos with Gueto, Finok, Coyo, Nina, Ise and Nunca. On Lavapés itself, heading away from the piece, there are cats by the artist Minhau with a figure by Chivitz.
Pinheiros/Vila Madalena districts (Clínicas Station)
Vila Madalena has always had a strong artistic vein. Walking through the streets, it’s possible to come across paintings by John Howard (the legendary North American, over 70 years old, and one of the art pioneers in Brasil), and other foreigners that generate art tourism in the capital São Paulo.
The main attractions are located in so-called ‘Batman’s Alley’ and Vila Madalena. The latter is undergoing renovation which begun at the start of the year and is due to finish in December, providing visitors with the enormous opportunity to see artists painting in the area.
We start this route leaving from Clínicas metro station. Head in the direction of Rua Cardeal Arcoverde, go down the street, and you’ll begin to notice some throw ups – works completed rapidly and with few colours, generally illegally – by osgemeos, Finok and Xabu.
Continue on down and just after Rua Capote Valente, on the large steps of Rua Cristiano Viana, you’ll observe yet more throw-ups: classics by osgemeos, Vicio, Ise, Xabu and Não. Carry on along Cardeal Arcoverde and then take a left on Rua João Moura, and at no.997 you’ll find Choque Cultural, the famous gallery of São Paulo street art.
Following Cardeal Arcoverde, turn right into Rua Henrique Schaumann and continue to Avenida Paulo VI, where the Instituto Goethe’s huge collective work can be found, with work by Highraff, Tchais, Prozak, Dev and Não, amongst others. This mural also became known for its tribute to graffiti artist Niggaz, who died in 2003. Take a moment to inspect Niggaz’s work- preserved from the previous panel – a figure swimming in clouds.
Head long Rua Henrique Schaumann and go down Rua Luis Murat. Turn right into Rua Harmonia and continue walking until you get to Rua Medeiros de Albuquerque, which together with Rua Gonçalo Afonso constitutes the famous Beco do Batman (Batman’s Alley).
Take in works by Pato, Titi Freak, Chivitz, Boleta, Ciro, Dask, Espeto and Prozak. If you like, stop by Tag and Juice on Rua Gonçalo Afonso, no.99, which in addition to a very attractive piece by Prozak on the shop’s front window, could also be a good place to wise up on urban culture in São Paulo.
Leave Beco do Batman in the direction of Rua Aspicuelta and, on the steps, examine the famous heads by John Howard. Continue on and go down Rua Girassol, turn into Luis Murat, and carry on to Rua Belmiro Braga. Between the Beco and Vila Madalena be sure to check out the square. There you can find an enormous piece of work with a whale, by the artist Speto. Walk along the narrow road and admire works by Dev, John Howard, Ninguém Dorme and Boleta.
Carry on to the end of the alleyway, which has works by Ciro, Titi Freak, RodrigoBranco and Yeks. Leave the alley taking Padre João Gonçalves and continue into Rua Fidalga. Number 98 is the well-known Espaço + Soma, well-known for its work with street art.
Some of the highlights are the end of Rua Consolação, with a wall with a piece by Pato and Ciro, followed by Claudio Ethos, Onesto and the VLOK and ANX crews.
At the start of the exit heading towards Elevado Costa e Silva, also known as the Ligação Leste-Oeste (the East-West Link), is full of throw-ups by osgemeos, Finok, Toys, Ise, Coyo, by the German graffiti artist Peter and Americans Yes2, Miss17 and Cope2.
At the Jaceguai flyover, next to Avenida 23 de Maio, there are the enormous works by Nina Pandolfo, osgemeos, Nunca, Zéfix and Finok.
And for those big fans of osgemeos, it’s well worth heading to Vale do Anhangabaú, to see one of the pair’s beautiful giant pieces, created earlier this year. And finally, of course if you happen to be in the city this September, don’t forget to visit MuBE to check out the city’s first International Biennial of Graffiti Fine Art.
By Vivian Lobato
The tour lasts around four hours, taking you through the alleys, galleries and streets of Vila Madalena, and at the end there’s the chance to try out the techniques of graffiti in the atelier of the artist Ya!. The tour alone costs R$55 (£21), and R$75 (£28) with the hands on part at the end, and they are only run with bookings of groups of between 3-10 people, from Tuesdays till Saturdays starting either at 10.30am or at 2pm. Bookings can be made through the website www.soulsampa.com or by phone on +55 11 7893-7668.
Other agencies which run graffiti tours in São Paulo are SP Bureau (spbureau.com), Receptivo Brasil (receptivobrasil.com.br) and Go in São Paulo (goinsaopaulo.com.br).