15 Mind-Blowing Pieces of Mexican Street Art
Delve deep into the psyche of the Mexican artist, and best be prepared for a discombobulating wild ride that may take you to dark places you would just as soon avoid. The intrusive philosophical journey is equally painful as it is joyous, awkward as it is lucid. It's difficult to recover from.
Like many artists, creatives of the Mexican variety are generally vastly irrational, emotive, and reactionary beings, impractical by nature, only sociable by cultural force; except multiply that by 1,000. Critique of the work is not an option, say something contrary to one's thought process, and toddler-like sensitivities will fly. Bottom lips drop, voices are raised, and of course, the ensuing obligatory storm-off. Mexicans are an extraordinarily emotional people, a Mexican artist, doubly so.
But this is a good thing! Because with emotion, with antisocial behaviour, with creativity, passion, and a child's mind, comes some of the most excruciatingly beautiful and esoteric artworks that the human mind could ever imagine. Each brush stroke, not a masterpiece, but a bold statement, each flick of the spray can, a humbling lesson in mind over matter.
As one artist put to me:
"My art is more real than any photo. More authentic than life. More pure than any unborn soul."
Oh yeah, I neglected to mention, they're fucking poetic too.
San Miguel de Allende is often considered a town that rich gringos flock to, to ignore the locals, pay exorbitant amounts for street-clogging walking tours, and to generally attempt to shake off their fluffy Republican bondage cuffs and let loose at least for the weekend. Flabby sexagenarian women with artificially inflated lips and over-emphasised clown faces prance the cobbled streets, credit cards prearranged in the swipe position, ignoring the homeless elderly, and generally thinking that life is wonderful in their Oprah Winfrey dry-humping Dr. Phil world. The men? They just mingle in the plaza, pretending they're hip in their tweed jackets with leather elbow patches, gloating about how much they hate Trump, while secretly wearing Republican Elephant underpants. Eww.
And yes, to an extent, that's SMA in a nutshell. Pompous. Pretentious. Plastique. But there's another side. A dirty motherfuckin' gritty side. For instance, I found a punker's bar! A true-blue, honest as they come punker's bar! Loud music, mohawks, studs 'n' leather, booze 'n' fags, and no one under 30. Except me, the grandpa punk.
Shift your gluttonous turismo carcass away from the Centro district, and you'll find some serious counter-culture. It's everywhere. For instance, the street art. There's nothing like it. Now, I'm not just saying that because I'm a new resident of the area and stars and pinwheels are still streaking in my awestruck, innocent to the world eyes. Fuck that. I'm as cynical as they come. I can find a negative to anything. Gandhi and Mother Teresa? Don't get me started.
The street art in SMA, seriously, is like no other street art in the world. Sure, there's more complicated art, more intricate, political, and in your face art. But there's a unique tinge to the art here. It's real. It says a gobful without really saying anything at all. It's abstract, yet tangible. Bold and bright, yet subtle and warm. Otherworldy, ethereal. It feeds the soul and stimulates the mind. Y'know... all that wank.
The untamed, unpredictability of Mexican culture is good like that.
*Below are some crazy ass Mexican street art, and a vague clue as to where in San Miguel de Allende each piece can be found. While your at it, dig a listen to legendary Mexican hardcore act, Los Crudos.
*If you know of a location where art rules the streets, let us know all about it!