On The Job With Guache in Barrio Las Cruces – Bogota Street Art

I was delighted to spend part of the past two days chatting with, photographing and getting to know Guache, one of Colombia and Latin America’s most respected street muralists, as part of a longer story I’m putting together on the street art scene in Bogota. It’s one of the most vibrant on the planet, and Guache is very much at its center.

Its such a joy, almost a rush, to watch mystical birds and proud mythical warriors emerge almost instantly from cans of spray paint, like pre-Incan genies let loose from their bottles.

Guache at Las Cruces 3

I was first introduced to his work while exploring central Lima, Peru, just over two years ago, and was immediately hooked. His use and choice of color and design and the dignity and pride his subjects exude is a blend you rarely ever see. It’s one I relish whenever I do. You feel the connection he projects to the past. It’s strong, undeniable.

This week he was leading a community project in Las Cruces, a marginalized barrio less than ten blocks from Colombia’s main seats of power, but a reality that’s an entire world away.

Guache at Las Cruces 2

Guache at work on a corn stalk in Las Cruces

The project involved painting the north-facing wall of the Escuela Antonio Jose Uribe, a school attended by 3,000 children every day. I wrote a little bit more about the setting yesterday; it’s one in which Guache feels very much at home as he works with members of the community to learn about it from them in order to help create what he calls the area’s memorias historica, or historical memories.

Projects of this kind, where he’s working with municipal government agencies, are generally conducted in three phases over a period of 15 to 20 days. In the first, Guache meets with locals to discuss the history of the muralism tradition in Latin America, particularly its social and political aspects. In the second, the group discusses the locality’s history, its architecture and its cultural and culinary traditions. And in the third, he and community members share their sketches and then formulate a plan.

More with Guache forthcoming.

Guache at Las Cruces 4

Guache at work in Las Cruces

Below, a few more images from the Las Cruces school project, 11 here in all; you can also check out 15 that I filed for the Demotix Agency here. As you can see, the work is not only world class, but energizing and inspiring as well.

I’ll be posting more about Bogota’s street art scene over the next few weeks as my time in Bogota winds down, and then again over the next couple of months as I organize my material. I have more than 2,000 images which I want to present in a more organized fashion. But I can’t do until after I leave because I’m adding to that number on a daily basis.

I’m excited to also be meeting about a half dozen other local artists –hopefully more if time and schedules permit—over the next couple weeks. Will keep you posted.

Young Las Cruces muralist paint cans Community mural project in Las Cruces Bogota Bogota street artist Necid in Las Cruces  Las Cruces school children working on a mural Empty spray paint cans Las Cruces

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All images © Bob Ramsak 2015. All rights reserved. High resolution images available.
For stock or editorial use please get in touch or license via Demotix.
For print purchases please visit here; for greeting cards and post cards here.
If you’d like a print or card of an image not yet listed in those portfolios, let me know. I’ll be happy to make it available.

And for the record, the lead photo proudly serves as today’s Pic du Jour, the blog’s 574th (!!) straight.

 

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  1. eths says

    I love his work. Thank you for bringing so much color into my life!

    1. Bob R says

      It’s my absolute pleasure. 🙂 Very glad to hear that you enjoy this kind of art.

  2. Jean Reinhardt says

    His work is amazing. I love street art, my dad did a mural the whole length of his back garden wall and I’ve been calling him Banksy ever since. 🙂

    1. Bob R says

      Maybe he is Banksy. 🙂

  3. colonialist says

    It is a wonderful idea to have his amazing talent used so constructively.

  4. sustainabilitea says

    A feel-good story, Bob. Thanks!

    janet

  5. elizabethweaver says

    Gauche does amazing work. Thank you for posting.

  6. OGValGal says

    Inspiring and amazing! I look forward to your future posts displaying his work. Love the colors!

    1. Bob R says

      Very glad you like it. I’ve got quite a bit more coming. Stay tuned. 🙂

  7. imaginenewdesigns12 says

    Thank you for liking “Smile” and “Green and Gold.” Fantastic post! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your photos of this beautiful and colorful street art.

  8. lexklein says

    Wow – what a great opportunity! We just got back from Bogota and a fantastic tour of the street art there.

    1. Bob R says

      Indeed. I almost got robbed but that’s only a marginally-related side note. 🙂 I took the Bogota Graffiti Tour as well, an excellent introduction not only to the urban art of the central part of the city but a nice way to get acquainted with the city as well. Will be posting about it shortly.

  9. Playamart - Zeebra Designs says

    yes i missed this last year, but it’s great to be able to enjoy it now… thanks!

  10. paula graham says

    Wonderful artist , and indeed bit of colour cheers one up!

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