Street Art in Mexico has exploded in the last several years. Mexico is no stranger to cultural graffiti as the ancient Mayans and Aztecs covered their temple walls with beautiful imagery. Muralism became famous here in the 1920s after the Mexican Revolution and Mexico has been embracing art on its walls ever since. These days it’s experiencing a bit of a renaissance, becoming popular with the help of social media.
Since arriving in Mexico, one of our favorite things to do is wander the streets admiring all the colorful murals and graffiti art. Come along as we take you on a digital tour of street art from some of Mexico’s most popular spots.
A Brief History
Made famous by people such as Diego Rivera, Jose Orozco, and David Siqueiros the muralist movement has become the most studied part of Mexico’s art history. After the Mexican Revolution, the government commissioned murals for public buildings to reinforce its political message. Most of the population was illiterate so the government needed a different way to get its message out. Themes of the murals primarily related to politics, nationalism, and history.
Over time, the artists came to reject the direction of the murals passed down by the government. They began to paint their own ideas and values. These days murals cover a wide range of themes extending far beyond that of politics and religion.
Mexican Muralism has also improved the art scene by creating a platform that can be enjoyed by the masses. It liberated art from the art market making it readily available for everyone. It was no longer only reserved for the elite members of society. This has allowed artists to find exposure on a much larger stage.
It’s this history of muralism that makes the urban art movement in Mexico different from similar movements around the world. This is why Mexicans are more open to the idea. They don’t see it as invasive graffiti as long as it’s beautiful and has an argument. Police don’t mind as long as the artists get permission from the property owners. Artists will even present sketches of their plans to neighborhood residents before they begin to paint.
Using the Aid of Social Media
Thanks to social media, Mexican street art has gained a huge following on Instagram. Many of the most famous Mexican street artists have incredibly large followings. Now countries around the world are inviting them to add color to their walls.
On a slightly unrelated note – It’s interesting to think about the impact street art, in general, has had on the social media sphere. Namely, Facebook where we “post” our opinions and ideas to our “wall.”
“Imagine a city where everybody could draw whatever they liked, where every street was awash with a million colors and little phrases, a city that felt like a party where everyone was invited.” – Banksy
Now that you’ve been given a look at what inspired street art in Mexico, get ready to feast your eyes on some of the best we’ve come across in our travels here!
Street Art in Mexico
Nowhere has seen the surge of street art quite like Mexico City has. Murals began popping up on walls in poorer neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city. Then they started sprouting up in more upscale neighborhoods such as La Roma and La Condesa and now visitors can see them around every corner.
It has even inspired art collectives such as Street Art Chilango that help promote the art and even commission public and private works. It’s even possible to book walking street art tours of the downtown area. If you’d rather not join a tour, head to their website where they have an interactive map showing all the great murals around the city.
Street art is equally abundant in Mexico’s second biggest city, Guadalajara. Some good places to look are in the Americana neighborhood.
In the UNESCO city of Guanajuato, the buildings are already painted in bright colors making street art less plentiful.
This is where we’ve spent the most time in Mexico. Puerto Vallarta has several amazing works scattered throughout the city.
Many of them are from the #RESTORCORAL Mural Project, meant to raise awareness of the destruction of coral reefs in Mexico and around the world. Check out the official Instagram account to stay up to date with the latest murals.
Other Murals around Puerto Vallarta
The photo at the very top of the post is in Puerto Vallarta as well.
This little surfer town is about an hour by bus up the coast from Puerto Vallarta.
Yelapa is a little town south of Puerto Vallarta only reachable by boat and it still boasts plenty of murals.
As you can see, there are amazing works of art on display all over Mexico. It’s just another reason to visit this amazing country (as if you needed one).
We hope you’ve enjoyed this photo essay as much as we enjoyed putting it together for you!
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