Since arriving in Brazil on September 2nd, I have spent the last two months fascinated by Brazilian street art. From Curitiba, Paraná to Armação do Pantano do Sul and Lagoa da Conceição on the island of Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, southern Brazil is covered in expressive, public art. Whether you are a distinguished artist with your commissioned murals on the news or a community art group or just an everyday person with a few can of spray paint, your art is appreciated here.
Curitiba, the capitol city of Paraná, is known for its vibrant historical district, which features the work of notable street artists and amatures alike. Street artists have transformed gray high rises into their personal canvases. The metal doors that pull down over storefronts depict sith lords, sea turtles, and smoking French women to boot. What Curitiba lacks in sunshine, it makes up for with color flying off every inch of the city.
In the next capitol south, downtown Florianópolis favors sprawling chameleons along overpasses; albeit, these colorful critters crawl all over the island. Meanwhile, the island favors stylized birds anywhere there is concrete (see vi.). If you pay close attention, you might even spot the boy pulling his mouth into a wide smile. Look for him across the street from Beijú Tapiocas and Caipirinhas in Lagoa da Conceição or at the power plant near the Rio Taveras Terminal. While I appreciate the chameleons, birds, and smiling boys, eyes are my favorite Floripa motif.
Wherever you are on the island, you are never far from a pair of curious eyes peering out from the concrete, each with a story to share. One of my favorite quotes comes from the Swiss-German painter, Paul Klee: “One eye sees, the other feels.” As Klee insinuates, perception is powerful. Florianópolis’ street artists play with perception by obscuring faces or fusing human form in unexpected ways to reveal many eyes looking out at you. When you visit the island, turn your head upside down and sideways. Observe carefully with both of your eyes – see and feel.
The Art Below is as Follows:
i. A blue and white mosaic in the 19 de Dezembro Square in Curitiba, which was one of many public works erected in 1953 to commemorate the centenary of Parana State political emancipation (December 19, 1853). The mosaic was designed by Poty Lazzarotto. The other side of the mosaic features a granite panel in high relief by sculptor Erbo Stenzel. This two-sided wall accompanies a large granite statue of a naked man and woman, which were also designed by Erbo Stenzel in conjunction with Umberto Cozzo. (Curitiba, Paraná)
ii. A chameleon mural on the outside of Projeto Lontra’s community recycling center. (Armação do Pantano do Sul, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina)
iii. Street art along the road from Lagoa da Conceição to Barra da Lagoa. (Lagoa da Conceição, Florianopolis, Santa Catarina)
iv. One of many eye motifs near the bridge that extends over the lagoon in Lagoa da Conceição. (Florianópolis, Santa Catarina)
v. A mosaic peace dove near Terminal Rio Taveras on the southern part of the island. A community organization out of Lagoa da Conceição is responsible for similar mosaic art on telephone poles and buildings throughout the island. (Florianópolis, Santa Catarina)
vi. One of countless animals done in this style on Floripa. Although the artist favors songbirds, they also experiment with owls, fish, and pandas. (Florianópolis, Santa Catarina)
vii. Picasso-esque faces on the outside of a skate park in downtown Lagoa da Conceição. (Florianópolis, Santa Catarina)
viii. The lively bus stop in front of my host family’s bar – Edson Bar – in Armação do Pantano do Sul. (Florianópolis, Santa Catarina)
ix. A mural just across the footbridge from the small island off the coast of Armação do Pantano do Sul. This mural, which is located on the Armação Fisherman’s Association, features an artisanal fishing boat. (Florianópolis, Santa Catarina)
x. The side of a clothing store in downtown Lagoa da Conceição. This is not an unusual side street here on the island. (Florianópolis, Santa Catarina)