Friday, January 6, 2012

Toxicomano's Massive Mural

Irreverent, mysterious, defiant, playful, satirical - the Toxicomano group of grafiteros is turning the wall of a parking garage on 20th Street just off of Carrera 4 into what may be Bogotá's largest mural.

This face, stenciled on
walls across Bogotá, belongs
to a friend of the
Toxicomano guys. 
The group of four painters, all of whom work in art-related professions like photography and graphic design, didn't ask permission to paint the wall, but the neighbors don't appear to mind. Their signatures, like Toxicomano and Lesivo, are on buildings all over Bogota, where their work brightens up an otherwise drab cement cityscape. And they also make you think with their satire and generally leftist, anti-establishment, anti-capitalist commentaries.

Their names - Toxicomano and Lesivo, are defiant labels showing off their flouting of societal norms. 'Toxicomano' seems to mean something like 'toxic hand,' and 'Lesivo' something like 'lesion.' But they are nice guys. And if they flout the rules, they do so in a constructive way.

Bogotá has a lively graffiti culture, including lots of political graffiti, particularly in the National University.

The newly decorated block of Calle 20.

Painting meaningless letters beside the image of Jose, the Rapper of La Jimenez
One of the grafiteros told me this image was inspired by reports that in the poor Choco region, poor people still earn a few pesos by carrying the wealthy on their backs. 

Flying birds. 

'Exploitation ruins life.' 

Money, money, money, man. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours, which offers graffiti tours


Colin said...

I thought Toxicomano were anonymous. Guess not so much.

I'd go further than saying Bogota has "lively" graffiti culture. I'd say it has the best street art IN THE WORLD.

Great pics. Here are shots I took of La Candelaria murals in 2010.

Miguel said...

Thanks for your comment Colin.

Toxicomano told me that they maintain a semi-anonymity - notice that their faces aren't recognizable in any of the photos. They have, however, been profiled in the newspaper.

I've heard there's also great graffiti in Buenos Aires.