Paint it Black: South American Graffiti Gangs Go Dark. (Art/Graffiti)

“We practice class warfare, and there are casualties in war, they compare us to barbarians, and there may be a little truth in that.”
– Rafael Guedes Augustaitiz, 27.

I was reading the New York Times while digging into eggs and toast at my local greasy spoon diner this morning when I came across an article about graffiti artists in Brazil. They’re part of a movement known as Pichação and they’re considered a menace to the rich residents of São Paolo, and heroes to the poor and working class. They climb buildings in the dead of night to tag buildings with signatures and politically subversive statements, often shunning traditional spraycans for old school paint rollers. A few have died from falling from buildings, but sometimes the real danger from Pichação are rival gangs; as violent street brawls sometimes happen between them. Although the term was coined in the 60s, there doesn’t appear to be much consensus on what the content of the graffiti is (some people don’t even call it graffiti), the only consensus is that it is either a harsh, rigid style of text in black or monochrome, and that it’s got it’s own coded alphabet, indecipherable to the layman. But perhaps most importantly; Pichação is always illegal and often dangerous.

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