Pixacao is a form of graffiti that originated in Sao Paulo in the 1960s where people wrote political messages on the street using stolen tar (´piche´in Portugese). I came across this interesting example of it on a path running alongside a lake in Argentina.
What appeals to me about this form of graffiti is the way it responds to its environment, whether that´s on the architecture and streets of Sao Paulo or this example. Here, groups of symbols have been drawn in several places along the path creating a narrative in the landscape, which culminates in the set of symbols shown in the photos. This points out over the lake and, although I don´t know what the symbols mean, it appears to me to be a tribute to the landscape.
Pixacao emerged at around the same time as ‘Wildstyle’ tagging came to prominence in New York, but only the latter went onto influence graffiti worldwide. Pixacao, on the other hand, remained confined to the streets of Sao Paulo and has retained a distinct cultural identity.
Interestingly, this distinction has recently become a source of tension in Brazil with the de-criminalisation of graffiti at the same time as Pixacao was re-criminalised. In response to this news, and as a protest against the commodification of graffiti in general, last year Pixadores (Pixacao artists) ‘vandalised’ a graffiti show in an art gallery in Sao Paulo.
The following text is from a flyer they used to promote the protest:
“The Path to Revolution: We are going to invade with our protest art a shitty art gallery (Culture Shock), which, as per its ideology, gives space to underground artists – well, then it’s all ours anyway – and we will declare total protest.
Protest slogans: Long Live Tagging, Art as Crime, Crime as Art”
For more on Pixacao check out the the book ‘Pixacao: Sao Paulo Signature’ by Francois Chastanet and for more on the protest check out the article Pixacao vs. Graffiti in Sao Paulo.