Valparaíso, 71 miles from Santiago, is known as Chile’s street art capital. “For over a decade now, we’ve been able to come here and create freely” says local artist Sebastián Navarro, also known as Charquipunk. On any street in Valparaíso, you can appreciate the animals, pre-Columbian elements and traditional icons that form the trademark of this muralist.
His duo at our challenge was Peruvian native Elliot Tupac, internationally famous in the world of design and lettering. With curvy letters and phrases — which adorn the covers of magazines, festival posters, dozens of walls, among other things —, his style is characterized by the chromatic stridency retrieved from the popular music posters known as “chicha,” which ended up becoming a kind of manifestation of Peruvian pride. “My family is from Huancayo, in the Andes, and all this color influence comes from Huanca embroidery, the weaves, the use of somber forms, revealing a kind of fear of emptiness,” he says.
Of all the hills that compose the ups and downs in the city, the touristy Cerro Alegre is one of the most colorful and recommended for an immersion in the local street art. And it was at 469 Calle Urriola that our action took place. The idea was to harmoniously combine Charquipunk’s personal mark with Tupac’s lettering on a single wall. And one word spontaneously emerged among laughter, the port orderly chaos and our passion for colors: amistad (friendship, in English).
The task wasn’t an easy one. But as Charquipunk explains, street art is perfect for collaboration, because “the artists know that their work will be exposed to all sorts of situations on the street, and that means you have to be detached, harness your ego. When you’re painting with someone else, it’s give and take, nobody dictates anything.” Tupac agrees, adding, “I love the art on these streets. This has been a dream come true, and it’s even better because it was a joint effort, with all the time we needed to make something beautiful for the people. And for us, too.”
Text Francisco Pardo
Photos Alejandro Olivares