We spent exactly 2 weeks in Bogota; most our photos from that time are street art pictures. Not that Bogota doesn’t offer any other sights (see link at the end of this post!), but street art is one of our passions and Bogota has so much to show. In this post, I am only concentrating on the wonderful street art pieces we found in and around Candelaria. This is Bogota’s historic centre, and where most backpackers stay as well.
Bogota’s Candelaria, the historic district, is full of wonderful and quirky street art pieces, small and large. In this gallery we show some of the best. This is the work of a French street artist and was only finished a few weeks before our arrival. It’s all painted with rollers and brushes.
A couple of weeks ago I published my first post of Bogota street art , in which I concentrated on murals found outside the historic centre. For both posts I had to be a little selective, showing only the very best, because I simply have too many photos to squeeze into two posts…
Street Art Walking Tour in Bogota
One day we joined a street art walking tour with Bogota Graffiti . These are tours for tips with an experienced guide, often local street artists themselves. You see, street art rarely pays or, if the artist gets paid, it’s often very little. Unless, of course, they are one of the world-renowned street art elite. But most of them are just happy to find a public canvas to express their latest ideas. The paint they use doesn’t come cheap either…
So joining this tour is a good way to support street artists, and to have each work explained by an insider of the scene. Our guide, Carlos, wasn’t a street artist but was studying visual design and seemed to be very much in touch with what was going on in his city. He certainly knew a lot about the history of individual pieces, their artists, how collaborations came to be, and so forth.
Bogota street art tour: a cat adorns this business front, with a homeless person sleeping right next to it.
Unfortunately, the tour has such a fast pace that you won’t always find the time and space to snap the best pictures of individual murals and, at the same time, follow your guide’s commentary.
These explanations were often very detailed; covering technique, background of the artist, persons shown in images, their place in history, and current political context. It can be all a bit much to take in if you haven’t read up on Colombia’s recent past beforehand. Even then, you might be lost because many characters are of local importance. Carlos certainly didn’t hide his own political views on Colombia’s politicians, police forces, corruption, and industrial magnates.
I certainly learned a lot during the tour – and forgot a lot of it straight afterwards! Or better: I learned a lot, but it was so much information in such a short time that I fear I would mix up too many of the facts. Still, I have tried to give you some information in the individual image descriptions.
So enjoy the photos from our walking tour:
Please click thumbnails below for a larger photo with description.
Bogota street art tour: this almost permanent building fence provides a great canvas for street artists. (I don’t know the former function of the building behind, but it’s unusual architecture for Bogota, almost in the brutalist style of communist countries.)
Bogota street art tour: a close-up photo of one of the aerosol-painted spirals on the building fence. Aren’t they amazing? The technique used is to press the nozzle of the can against the wall, the resulting spray gives the effect. Repeat this numerous times in a circle shape.
Bogota street art tour: this is a portrait of the current mayor of Bogota, a man hated by many street artists. That’s why he’s being shown here with little devil’s horns and ‘Spoiled Big Child’ written next to his face…
Bogota street art tour: wings to freedom by ‘Tambor Guerrero’, a musician and street artist from Bogota.
Bogota street art tour: a shop front we didn’t stop at, but I liked it.
Bogota street art tour: a black drummer by ‘Tambor Guerrero’, a musician and street artist from Bogota.
Bogota street art tour: a wall of faces – only a partial shot because there was a group of people blocking the rest.
Bogota street art tour: part of a long, mostly monochrome, wall; a collaboration of several well-known Bogota street artists. To the right a large self-portrait by the street artist ‘Toxicómano’.
Bogota street art tour: part of a long, mostly monochrome, wall; a collaboration of several well-known Bogota street artists. This section is about the destruction of the earth for profits.
Bogota street art tour: a monochrome stencil art piece by DJ Lu. Unfortunately I can’t remember the story behind this piece.
Bogota street art tour: another monochrome stencil art piece by DJ Lu, right opposite the Joker. This is a homage to the humble street vendor, who you can find everywhere in Colombia.
Bogota street art tour: go into the ‘Maison Francaise’ on Carrera 3, up from the Parque de los Periodistas. Their entrance foyer is open to the public, and is a great canvas for several well known street artists.
Cats street art wall in Candelaria: we couldn’t get this old guy to get out of our pictures, he just liked to pose. The interesting thing about this piece is that the back of a street sign was painted to match the cat face behind. Look very closely at the thumb on the right side of the old man: that’s pointing to the painted street sign behind.
Small street art stencil: I guess the message is clear. The violence in Colombia effected countless people, to the extent that many were disfigured or killed.
Street art Bogota: this native Indian was done by ‘Carlos Trilleras’, the same artist who painted the indigenous old Wayuu woman.
Street art Bogota: this beautiful colourful face (also by ‘Carlos Trilleras’) is in the nightlife section of Candelaria.
Street art Bogota: next to the colourful face is this facade of a pub and hostel.
Street art Bogota: I don’t know how often I have seen this very expressive face of an indigenous Wayuu woman (by ‘Carlos Trilleras’) on other blogs or social media sites. It must be one of Bogota’s most famous street art – although there are similarly good pieces all over the city.
Street art Bogota: at the moment  the market of Candelaria is being remodelled. In the meantime stalls are housed in containers which are colourfully decorated with spray-paint art.
We had visited Candelaria before and after our walking tour, when I took more photos. We passed (and stopped at) several of these individual murals during the tour but, for reasons mentioned above, I often took better pictures when I was on my own.
Enjoy our street art photos from Candelaria:
Please click thumbnails below for a larger photo with description.
Street art in Candelaria: a Chilean artist painted this hostel wall in exchange for a few free nights…
Street art in Candelaria: the man who made this mural is a Bogota professor in his 60s called Rodez, a strong and active advocate for public art.
Street art in Candelaria: I love this indigenous flute player – wearing the oh so typical rubber boots of a farmer.
Street art in Candelaria: you find many references to Colombia’s indigenous past.
Street art in Candelaria: stencil art combined with brush work to decorate the wall of a hostel.
Street art in Candelaria: I’ve tried so many times but I simply can’t decipher the writing. Does it say ‘MONEY’? What do you think?
Street art in Candelaria: certainly a commissioned work on a new apartment house.
Street art in Candelaria: the wall of a restaurant, left part.
Street art in Candelaria: the wall of a restaurant, right part.
Street art in Candelaria: this is a wall on which several national and international street artists left their mark.
Small street art piece in Candelaria: I don’t really get the message, but it’s certainly something green and environmental.
Street art in Candelaria: it’s relatively unusual to find murals with a foreign theme, like this very Asian influenced piece.
Street art piece in Candelaria: “Somos Memoria” – we are memory – the countless people who were driven off their land by terrorists and militia.
Street art in Candelaria: this stylised cat adorned a bricked-in window.
Small street art piece in Candelaria: these cute little dogs were pretty much life size on the corner of a house.
Street art wall in Candelaria: so very Colombian! You see men everywhere wearing these patterned straw hats.
Street art in Candelaria: I love this mural made from little paint dots. So much facial expression from a simple technique!
In closing: please don’t expect to find all of the urban art items shown in this gallery when you visit Bogota! Street art is an evolving medium, so smaller works or murals done by lesser known artists are frequently painted over. Also, many pieces adorn older buildings or perimeter walls around properties – all places that might get developed in the near future.
But I can assure you that you will find great street art and graffiti in Bogota – almost everywhere you look!
Links to some Bogota Street Artists:
The following links are in no particular order and not complete. I found these pages during my research…
Facebook Tambor Guerrero | Toxicómano | Trilleras | Instagram of APC
Don’t forget to read our post about other things to do and see in Bogota.
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