Skip to Content

Cuenca Street Art

Cuenca Street Art

Graffiti is ubiquitous. You’ve seen it.  Crude public bathroom scratchings, quickly sprayed tags on underpasses, scrawled political slogans suggesting revolt and revolution, artistic but quickly applied stencils and posters, and elaborate multi-colored murals.We’ve seen it in every city we’ve visited: covering the trains in Naples, Italy; on the outer walls of Rome; throughout the San Telmo area in Buenos Aires; and, perhaps most sadly, too often on beautifully-preserved historical architecture.

Cuenca Ecuador Street Art

Long an underground industry, most graffiti art was traditionally painted under the cover of night, often involving illegally-obtained supplies and a healthy dose of trespassing. In recent years, graffiti art has entered the mainstream, embraced by the hip-hop community and even showcased in museums of modern art.

Cuenca Ecuador Street Art

Perhaps the most famous (or infamous) street artist, Banksy, has had his work sold for millions of dollars. Of course, this new acceptance has done nothing to dissuade budding street artists from honing their craft on every available wall in their neighborhoods.

For years, cities around the world have waged war against graffiti and the individuals who deface public and private property. Perhaps most famously, New York City has since the 1980’s chased a graffiti-free goal on its subway cars, spending millions of dollars to eradicate any hint of spray paint.

Cuenca Ecuador Street Art

More and more, however, cities around the world are trying a different approach — working with groups of street artists or graffiti gangs to attempt to ensure a level of quality of art and prevent vandalism. Rome, who’s history with scrawled messages on walls dates back to Pompeii, has begun to provide legal spaces for street art.

Similarly,  Cuenca, Ecuador  enacted an ordinance regarding street art in 2013.  The city, working with approximately 60 street artists looking for an outlet for their craft, agreed to sanction the artist’s murals and even supply the paint to create them.  The artists agreed to assist the City with covering unsanctioned street art also with paint supplied by the City.

Cuenca Artist at Work

Cuenca Artist at Work

Cuenca Artist at Work

 

Cuenca Street Art

Finished Similar Piece – Cuenca Street Art

A meandering walk through Cuenca will present you with an amazing array of street art (certainly not all of it legal, but most with redeeming qualities).

Cuenca Street Art

Cuenca Ecuador Street Art

Cuenca Street Art

So what do you think? Is graffiti simply vandalism, or street art? Leave a comment!

Here are some related articles about travel in Ecuador that you might enjoy:

Lieurene Tran

Tuesday 12th of May 2015

I just absolutely love street art, I would literally look for them no matter where I go. I think it is a great way for people to connect with the artists through their beautiful work. I would love to see them in action though, it would be amazing to see the process

Vicky and Buddy

Monday 11th of May 2015

I love that the city and artists are working together to beautify the city. Because it really is beautiful!

RaW | Ramble and Wander

Monday 11th of May 2015

Seems to me that as long as it is sanctioned by the local authority, it's street art. Otherwise it's simply vandalism; although some graffiti are better than supposedly some street arts that I've seen. But then again, art is very subjective :)

Revati

Monday 11th of May 2015

Wow. Seriously beautiful work there. That first image of the woman with the butterfly around her eye is like embedded in my mind now!

Helena

Sunday 10th of May 2015

That's some awesome street art! I love seeing it in the places I visit :)