Bogotá is PACKED with street art. You can’t go to a neighborhood without seeing graffiti – murals, tags, and stickers. Street art is EVERYWHERE!
The Justin Bieber graffiti scandal
While big artists from all over the world left their mark here, it was a pop star’s piece that caused a scandal:
Whereas no other than Justin Bieber was escorted by police to leave his mark, two years earlier, 16-year-old Diego Felipe Becerra was shot dead by cops while painting a wall. Understandably, the graffiti community was outraged and organized a protest in form of a 24h graffiti fest where they – obviously – covered the Biebs’ Canadian flag with marijuana instead of a maple leave inside.
Now back to more important things:
Why is Bogotá such a hub for street artists?
Because here, you’ll only be fined if you’re caught instead of jail, as it is common in other countries – so it’s sort of legal. Also, if you get the owner’s permission to paint his/her wall, you’re good to go!
If you still have to spray illegally, a guide of Bogotá’s free graffiti tour claimed you can get out of paying a fine by pretending you don’t speak Spanish or that you’re “a famous foreigner with a website.”
Women & street art
Many women street artists are featured on Bogotá’s walls, but still not much because many are afraid of being assaulted by men, especially at night.
Graffiti & politics
Graffiti in Bogotá is also very political, and artists express their opinion about the country’s corrupt government through art.
How to best explore street art in Bogotá
If you just want to look at graffiti, walk around the Candelaria neighborhood especially, or drive along freeways where huge amazing pieces add lots of colors to the gray streets.
If you want to learn more about artists, styles, politics, and see some great pieces of local and international artists, etc., I can recommend the free daily graffiti tour at 10 a.m and 2 p.m. Disclaimer: I’m not in any way affiliated with them.