Graffiti in Medellin
Photography, South America, Travel

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

MedellinGraffiti-13

MedellinGraffiti-4

MedellinGraffiti-10

35 thoughts on “Girls and Graffiti in Medellin, Colombia”

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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 🙂

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

    1. @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.

  6. 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…

    1. @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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

    1. @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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