Street Art of Bogota: A Photo Essay

In many cities, ugly scribbles of graffiti are a sign of decay and neglect. This isn’t true in Bogota, where dozens of colorful “street artists” are repainting the city in creative ways:

The street artists of Bogota all have serious day jobs. They are college professors, graphic designers and authors. They don’t alway work under the cover of night- many have permission by the owners to use a building as their canvas.  Some of their designs are political, some are funny and some are just beautiful:

Many of the graffiti artists in Bogota are well known for their distinct style and subject matter, such as Pez, who always paints big smiling bird-type creatures:

My favorite:

If you are in Bogota and want to learn more about the rich street art culture, I recommend the Bogota Graffiti Tour, which is in English and run on donations. It’s the best way to truly delve into the art which makes the city so pretty.

, , ,

40 Responses to Street Art of Bogota: A Photo Essay

  1. Alexa Verink November 13, 2011 at 9:41 AM #

    These are all gorgeous! I especially love the 2nd picture – the colors are great. Do you have any idea who did the two images of the soldier? They look familiar.

    • Steph November 15, 2011 at 10:41 PM #

      It’s a popular print artist here in Bogota, I’m not sure if he copied the images from somewhere else though. They remind me of Banksy.

      • Alexa Verink November 16, 2011 at 2:22 PM #

        Yeah, that’s what I was thinking! Maybe there are some major Banksy fans in Bogota.

  2. Audrey November 13, 2011 at 10:22 AM #

    These are amazing! I love how vibrant the colours are! This would certainly brighten up any neighbourhood. My favourite one is the second photo 😀

  3. Sam November 13, 2011 at 11:47 AM #

    Great street art finds. I like your favourite too.

  4. Alouise November 13, 2011 at 2:00 PM #

    Great photos. I always like street art, it seems to say a lot about the city and the people that live there.

  5. Todd @ November 13, 2011 at 3:16 PM #

    love it! I love seeing how much street art varies so much all over the world.

  6. Christine November 13, 2011 at 3:42 PM #

    OK, obsessed…pretty sure I would love Bogota!

    • Steph November 15, 2011 at 10:40 PM #

      I think you would definitely like it!

  7. Nomadic Samuel November 13, 2011 at 4:24 PM #

    I thought I saw impressive graffiti when I was in SA but this takes the cake – very cool 🙂

    • Steph November 15, 2011 at 10:39 PM #

      I was going to wait and do a South America Graffiti post, but there was so much in Bogota it warranted it’s own!

  8. Elizabeth November 13, 2011 at 4:26 PM #

    Beautiful pictures!

  9. Alison November 13, 2011 at 4:36 PM #

    These images are gorgeous. I particularly like the second to last one. Sometimes street art can be almost hidden and you only notice it if you are searching for it or know where to look for it. But these would definitely be impossible to miss!

  10. Emily November 13, 2011 at 9:16 PM #

    Stunning pics, Steph–they are so colorful! I love seeing street art when I travel. And I love that we have so much of it here in Austin!

  11. Mica November 14, 2011 at 1:50 AM #

    I liked Bogota a lot and street art, especially like this, is always so interesting. The colors are bold and I also especially like the last one as well 🙂

    • Steph November 15, 2011 at 10:35 PM #

      It really brightens up an otherwise very urban space!

  12. Naomi November 14, 2011 at 5:05 AM #

    This is absolutely gorgeous. I love to see street art that has a harmonious relationship with the community 🙂

    • Steph November 15, 2011 at 10:34 PM #

      Yeah, there’s something really feel-good about it.

  13. Shtina November 14, 2011 at 7:33 AM #

    Great street art! Thanks for the post!

  14. ehalvey November 14, 2011 at 11:47 AM #

    I’m a fan of the one with the tv for a head. Surrealism FTW.

    • Steph November 15, 2011 at 10:33 PM #

      Yeah, love the social commentary in there.

  15. Emily in Chile November 14, 2011 at 3:01 PM #

    Gorgeous! Such great colors, thanks for sharing.

  16. Amanda November 14, 2011 at 3:14 PM #

    Wow, awesome! The colors are so bright! I could stare at art like this all day.

    • Steph November 15, 2011 at 10:29 PM #

      Yeah it’s awesome to see it while walking around town.

  17. Jamie November 17, 2011 at 8:41 PM #

    This is seriously awesome. I think I just added Bogota to my travel list 😉

  18. Alex November 17, 2011 at 9:54 PM #

    Wow! This is seriously an amazing ad campaign for Bogota! If I ever go I’m signing up for that tour the first day.

    • Steph November 23, 2011 at 6:39 PM #

      It was a long tour, but worth it to see all the art!

  19. Stephen November 21, 2011 at 3:07 PM #

    Reason enough to visit Bogota. Maybe I shouldn’t have skipped the capital in my 4+ weeks in the country.

    • Steph November 23, 2011 at 5:59 PM #

      It seems like Bogota gets a bad rap with backpackers but I for one really enjoyed it!

  20. Tom November 23, 2011 at 10:05 AM #

    WOW, these are amazing Steph! I adore street art, but there’s far too little (in fact I can’t recall any…) in my city here in South Korea!

    I think I like the first one (love that hummingbird), and the one you posted by Pez with the grinning bird-fish (?) thing. The girl (maybe native Colombian? unsure) with the earrings is beautiful, too.

    • Steph November 23, 2011 at 5:46 PM #

      Bird-fish sounds about right. The girl doesn’t quite look native Colombian to me, I think probably african?

  21. Micamyx|Senyorita November 25, 2011 at 3:09 PM #

    So nice! 😀

  22. Colleen July 10, 2012 at 12:52 AM #

    Those are simply beautiful. Even though some of them aren’t my taste artistically, you can tell that there’s some serious artistic talent there.

  23. Natalya July 23, 2012 at 11:31 PM #

    So great to see that someone else was impressed by the graffiti in Bogota! Here’s my collection so far, but because you lived closer to the action, your collection is super!

  24. Cathrin July 13, 2013 at 9:35 PM #

    Steph: This is a wonderful presentation, but in my humble opinion, too simplified, and too much of it misses how much intensity, tension, and even controversy surrounds the creation of the graffiti in Bogotá. For instance the murder of Diego Felipe Becerra in 2012 for the graffiti he created that often blatantly illustrated police and government corruption. The police even tried to lie, claiming that Becerra attempted to hijack a bus on la Carrera 7, which he did not. He was only 16 and didn’t even have a criminal record. Second, it IS Prohibited by the Government and Police, however tolerated, within limits. If one is continually caught they might have to pay a fine (often rumored as a bribe) and/or spend time in a detention facility. Second many political artists like DJ Lu or Juegasiempre (always playing) – the artists whom many in your comments cite as producing work like Banksy, lives a double life, where he vigilantly guards his actual identity as a Professor Architecture at a university in Chapinero. Many of his works, like that of the group known as Toxicomano include blatant accusations against what is seen as the corrupt interests of the government and those in power in the country – at the expense of the people. There is great tension between these two contested territories staked in the name of justice, popular voice, and/or the nation.

  25. Cathrin July 13, 2013 at 9:38 PM #

    here is one article of many about Becerra’a murder, aptly entitled “Life for Graffiti”

    • Steph July 14, 2013 at 3:34 PM #

      Thank you for providing some more perspective.

  26. Matt March 12, 2014 at 12:11 PM #

    Glad to see someone else appreciates the street art of Bogota! I, like you, had no expectations going to Colombia, other than to watch out for drug smugglers and kidnappers. But to my surprise I absolutely loved that country! The street art of Bogota is worth coming back for by itself. I’ll just have to remember to bring a much nicer camera the next time! Great stuff – keep going!

Leave a Reply