Girls and Graffiti in Medellin, Colombia

Graffiti in Medellin

One of the really cool things I learned about while Couchsurfing in Medellin is that the application of paint on public spaces (graffiti) is not illegal. Graffiti in Medellin has lead to an explosion of colorful art, but I think when you are allowed to do it, you have more competition that promotes prettier art rather than straight up vandalism. You don’t want to have your crap next to an amazing mural now do you?

Medellin Graffiti

Niña Gato – so cute!

We were invited to check out this on the fly graffiti competition that has arisen from the streets of Medellin – Falange (in this case 2.0). All artists provide a bucket of a specific color of paint (in this case, purple) to paint of a wide public area to give the invited local graffiti artists an area to do their work. If you saw my set on the Balcones Burner Bash, you know this is totally my thing.

I had no clue what to expect but I was blown away by what I saw.

One of the really awesome things I noticed right away is the amount of ladies working it. Like, I’ve never seen so many chick graff artists in one location in my life. I would say most were girls – and it felt good. Our CS host graciously introduced us to the awesome Niña Gato while she was working on one of her very cute, girlie masterpieces.

So check it out:

Graffiti in Medellin

Nina Gato

Medellin Graffiti

Graffiti in Medellin

Medellin Graffiti

Medellin Graff Art

Medellin Graffiti Art

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MedellinGraffiti-4

MedellinGraffiti-10

35 Responses to “Girls and Graffiti in Medellin, Colombia”

  1. T-roy December 19, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    Great little write up here and didn’t know purple meant that it was cool to paint here. Would love to do a story on this more in detail if you got any contacts here in medellin still for it.

    • Erica December 20, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

      @Troy: I don’t know if it is purple all the time but they do paint over wide spaces for the art competition.

  2. Kim December 19, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    How very cool! You guys see the best stuff.

    • Erica December 20, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

      @Kim: Awww thanks! I’m glad we’ve had the opportunities for sure.

  3. Leslie (Downtown Traveler) December 19, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    LOVE this post! So cool seeing the artists at work– Nina Gato’s kitty designs are adorable. Glad you are loving Medellin. We were not impressed when we visited in 2009, staying in the Candelaria (?) neighborhood, but I guess we just didn’t know where to go. The area we were in seemed like a run-down, overpriced backpacker ghetto. Looks like you are in the midst of a thriving arts scene!

  4. Leslie (Downtown Traveler) December 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Oh, duh… I just realized I got my cities crossed. We loved Medellin and disliked Bogota, home of the Candelaria backpacker ‘hood. I didn’t see much street art in Medellin, though– will have to venture back and take a look :)

    • Erica December 20, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

      @Leslie: Yeah, we walked by the backpacker spot in Bogota and I was NOT impressed. Good thing we were staying with a friend!

  5. Amanda December 19, 2011 at 11:48 pm #

    Awesome post! The street art is so colorful!

    • Erica December 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

      @Amanda: Yeah, the colors definitely caught my eye. Color me impressed!

  6. Ashley December 20, 2011 at 2:26 am #

    Legalizing graffiti – brilliant! If only more cities would catch on to this…seems like some are starting to. I love the cats. They’re pretty damn adorable.

    • Erica December 20, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

      @Ashley: That is what I thought! Seriously, they are going to do it anyway – why not have it pretty?

  7. Emily in Chile December 20, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    I’m generally in awe of artists since that kind of creativity is not my thing, but graffiti especially amazes me. I just can’t figure out how they can take the unwieldy cans of spray paint – which I can barely use to just spray paint something flat – and create such art. What a cool event!

    • Erica December 24, 2011 at 3:07 am #

      @Emily: Yeah, I wanted to try it pretty badly but seeing as I’m a hobby collector I have to put my own foot down sometimes lol.

  8. dtravelsround December 21, 2011 at 1:13 am #

    So cool! I would love to do this. Although my art kills are pretty limited to swirliegigs and whatsits. These chics kick ass.

    • Erica December 24, 2011 at 3:08 am #

      @D: You can do graffiti art with swirlies! No harm in that! I plan on making something REALLY girlie one day with hearts and sunshine. And a smiling hamburger.

  9. Andrea December 21, 2011 at 5:56 am #

    That’s fantastic! Did not know it wasn’t illegal – love the art =)

    • Erica December 24, 2011 at 3:09 am #

      @Andrea: Isn’t that so cool? They don’t give skateboarders hell either. There are bigger fish to fry!

  10. mugs December 21, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    WOW! great post. Medellin reminds me of Barcelona 7 years ago, when the whople city was a huge “wall of fame”. No nasty tags or vandalism but great graphs in all forms, styles and countries of origin… I guess we’ll have to make an effort to put up a graph & leave a little memory for the peeps!

    There’s also a place in Chile famous for its graffiti. what was it called again…? hmmm…

    • Erica December 24, 2011 at 3:09 am #

      @mugs: Yeah, Shaun is looking into that for sure. Not sure what I think about traveling around with a stencil and paint though. Not sure about the Chile thing. I can try and find out.

  11. Tour DsGn December 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    Women at Medellin are still very fearful, and the ones that are painting thinks that they are “out of the space”…Good resume about the festival, and the main reason because most of them were girls, it´s because was a tribute to graffiti girls, but reality shows us that ther are only festival members, cause at the streets, girls never appears!

    • Erica December 24, 2011 at 3:19 am #

      @Tour: Thank you! I really would love to see more girls taking chances and getting into the more public spaces.

  12. eruption December 22, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

    ya should see my sis graff

    • Erica December 24, 2011 at 3:21 am #

      @eruption: Post a link, I would love to see!

  13. Ayngelina December 26, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    I loved graffiti in Colombia, so interesting and really a mirror to the culture.

    • Erica December 29, 2011 at 1:10 am #

      @Ayngelina: For sure! I do love how vibrant everything is here.

  14. Stephanie - The Travel Chica December 26, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    I loved the graffiti in Bogota. Cool that you saw the artists in action.

    • Erica December 30, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

      @Stephanie: Saw a bit in Bogota and liked what I saw.

  15. Camels & Chocolate January 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    I am so NOT a cat person, and yet I find that cat graffiti ridiculously adorable.

    • Erica January 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

      @C&C: Dogs rule, cats drool! But how to you turn down a picture of a kitty with a mustache?

  16. Abi January 5, 2012 at 5:41 am #

    Love street art but never caught anyone making it happen! This is great!

    • Erica January 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

      @Abi: Thank you! We were lucky enough to be in on the beat. 😛

  17. Nomadic Samuel January 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Awesome shots!

    • Erica January 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

      @Sam: Thank you! I really enjoy things like these,

  18. Traveling Ted January 7, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said by making it legal graffiti becomes more art than vandalism. When people can take their time and make some pretty they are not going to have to clandestinely hurry like in the case of vandals. A creative way to deal with a common urban problem.

    • Erica January 7, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

      @Ted: It was one of the first things I noticed as I got into the city – how much better the art was there than other places. It is interesting though, it becomes less associated with crime and creates a decent community around it. I’m not saying everyone is peachy but when you have a group of people wanting to make good art, it definitely keeps people out of trouble.

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