The Colors of Valpo

Throughout the world, you’ll see creativity stifled by dickbags that prefer slates of grey over artistic expressions of life. Valparaiso defies this phenomenon to the extreme, painting on nearly every available wall and playing music & dancing in the streets nearly every night of the week. While I’d love to dive into the colorful history of Valparaiso (trust me – I usually hate history), I’ll save that for another time. For now, enjoy this mostly visual summary of some graffiti and landscape.


Inti, a legend around these parts, painted the piece above. He paints his highly technical work with both hands without the use of any guides. Yup—he just dreams it up and throws it on a wall. Talk about coordination. He’s also crazy in the sack. You can see the same piece below along with the phenomenal view of the city & bay.


This piece was a group effort by three of the most respected graffiti artists in Valparaiso: Inti, Charquipunk, and La Robot de Madera. Charquipunk commonly features the hummingbird in his work, so you'll see it all over Valpo. In this interview he said, “For me the hummingbird is an incredible bird. It is so small yet moves so fast, and to do this it needs a very big heart. So in another way with you can say it’s a very kind creature.” Not sure that’s logical, but it feels right, so whatever.


Sometimes, I don’t know exactly why a piece resonates with me. I found this acid trip of a painting in Cerro Cárcel, an old prison turned into a park.


I think the tour guide said something about this piece representing the struggle of Valparaiso’s fishermen. The most important question remains unanswered: Why is the artist’s name “Tampon”?


On the opposite side of the alley from the previous piece is this work, which was recently improved by a local feminist group.


Putting aside the shitty tags, this is the caliber of work found commonly throughout Valparaiso.


Not that I ever take good photos, but my photos are especially bad when I’m in a hurry. Case-in-point: this photo.


Writing or tagging over pieces is considered awful, and whoever did so here is probably at the bottom of the ocean somewhere.


Can you imagine the entire side of a ~20 story building being covered in such amazing graffiti in Seattle?


Valparaiso is a collection of hills ("cerros" in Spanish), which essentially became the various neighborhoods of Valpo. People take pride in their respective hills.


Houses are always a different color from their neighbor's house so that they are easier to identify & give instructions for in Valpo's crazy, winding streets (see below).


I am now a master cartographer after visiting Valpo.


Some houses are a chaotic mess, open for all to see because of the hills. I enjoyed creeping on people's back yards because you can't normally see it unless you're at the house. 


The nights in Valparaiso are filled with live bands, drum circles, and more.


Every day.