Santiago has a lot of street art and a lot of Jesus. Everywhere you look there’s either graffiti or a Christian statue.

Chilean street art

From simple tagging to full-blown murals, Santiago’s colourful walls are mesmerising. There are paintings everywhere of a stupendously high quality, and even if they’re not quite so accomplished artistically they often deal with the difficult socio-political issues that Chile has had in the past.

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Talentless tagging surrounds a small mural on a shutter near Pio Nono district

The next stage in a tagger’s career is to do a throw-up. This is a more stylised piece of writing, sometimes with a simple image to accompany it. The idea with a throw-up is that it’s fairly easy to reproduce.

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This throw-up in Santiago is a little more complex than where you’d usually start with a throw-up, which are often just coloured in letters in two colours. The artist has obviously had a lot of practice and wanted to make a bold statement probably with limited time to do it in

SomeĀ alternative types of street art are paste-ups, stickers or a some kind of stencil. This paste-up is on paper and then pasted to the wall. They can be small, but in this case it was a good metre wide.

Politically motivated paste-ups are common on the streets
Politically motivated paste-ups are common on the streets

A piece is where an artist has more time to cover a larger area and produces something much more complex and well-finished. This is near the Estacion Central (Central Station).

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The ultimate goal for a graffiti artist is to get a ‘heaven piece’ which is a really complex piece of art in a difficult-to-reach location.

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This kind of artwork is a commissioned piece high on a building in the Bellas Artes Lastarria neighborhood

But the majority of art you will see are murals of reasonable quality which make walking around Santiago a real pleasure.

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ONCPS is the artist that painted this mural

Not exactly street art, but still art on the street, it’s a mural on the Castillo Hidalgo which is a beautiful historic building in Santiago.

Castillo Hidalgo mural
Unfortunately someone tagged the mural

TakingĀ a day to walk around the central districts of Santiago to take in the street art is super interesting. It’s everywhere, and even if you take one of the buses that do the circuit of the main attractions, you can stop off and explore, especially in the Pio Nono district.

Now check out our story about street art in Muraleando, Cuba.


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