Monday, January 30, 2012

Street Art

On our very first day in San Jose last November, we noticed a small group of street artists painting a mural of the face of Bob Marley on the corner not far from where we live. Since that day, we have both loved discovering the murals and creative graffiti all over the city.

I’ve wondered if permission must be obtained.  Is it legal or illegal….no one seems to know for sure?

Perhaps I haven’t yet met the right people to ask?? At any rate, the artwork does exist everywhere.

The styles, the themes, the colors are widely varied.

One might even speculate about how many pieces of street art could be self-portraits in addition to political and social statements.
I have read that one of the most rewarding factors of street art is the surface. Some may say the cold metal of train cars cannot be beat for a good surface. But then there is also shabby siding, dilapidated brick, heavily textured stucco and of course….concrete.

 The essence of street art is often anonymous to the casual passerby, unless you take the time to decipher it – when possible – and study it. How long did a piece take? How many artists worked on it? And when you see a pile of spray paint cans tossed to the side – next to a scribble which may or may not be the artist’s signature – why? Who paid for the cans?  In most cases, no money was to be made from this.
In researching the street artists work, my favorite quote I found was ….”Whatever their reasons – they’re just doing their job, after all.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

San Jose Birds on Parade

So.... we got up at 3:15 am in Denver for a 6:00 am flight back to Costa Rica after a wonderful visit with family in Colorado.
Twelve hours later in the cab on the way back to the apartment we thought  something new had appeared on some of the streets and parks in San Jose……..We thought we saw colorful decorated fiberglass bird sculptures.
After a good nights sleep we were delighted to see they were not a result of fatigue, but indeed real.
When I started to do some research, much to my dismay, the whole official website was in Spanish with no translation.
The only way for me to translate was to type the text in Spanish on my much used Bing Espanol/Ingles translation website.  Please remember those of you who know me---I am a one-handed, have to look at the keyboard typist!  This should be yet another hint to us that we need to hurry up and find a language class…
The event is called the Peace Parade.  Costa Rica is the only country in the world that has more than 60 years of living without an army.  
The Peace Parade is organized by two private business organizations with the support of the city of San Jose.
The event was born to promote and celebrate the message of peace to the people of Costa Rica and the world.  Businesses and/or individuals sponsor one or more of the birds that are exhibited in main parks, boulevards and sidewalks all around San Jose (a cosmopolitan city where nearly half the population of Costa Rica passes daily).
There was a call for schools and artists across the country to submit their proposals for deigns….. 50 proposals from schools and 20 from artists were accepted to be displayed from the applicants.
These wonderful birds were installed December 15 and will remain in place until March 25 this year.

Though it was impossible to pick any favorite, these are a few examples. Some are just artistic tropical colorful designs, while some seem to have subtle underlying messages concerning politics or ecology.
The website is if you would like to check it out.

From this exhibition to the exciting street art and murals to traditional and contemporary sculpture, public art it plentiful and so much fun to discover. Watch for future posts for information and pictures of more public art around the San Jose area.