Wild Murals in Guadalupe
By Jan Baross
Once again it’s mural season in San Miguel de Allende. Artists from all over the world have come to paint the walls of Guadalupe, an arty barrio of San Miguel. Residents stand in small groups and gaze skyward watching the progress on second- and third-story walls. This year’s crop of young artists includes two Latin America women who are well known in the graffiti/mural world for their unique styles.
Argentinian Magda Love, 36, now a New York resident, began her career designing clothes. A few years ago she began painting murals. Her whimsical style received such acclaim that her career took off. While she doesn’t get paid for the mural in San Miguel, her work is her calling card to larger and well-paid commissions.
Love uses her art and her energy to mentor teenage girls. As a part of New Lights India in Calcutta, she introduced the young brothel workers to mural painting with the hope of guiding them toward alternative careers.
Love’s striking mural on calle Jaime Nuno is a seated two-story woman surrounded by indigenous plants and staring at a vision before her eyes. Love believes women have a separate universe, which men find mysterious, and she paints this inner world. It is a joyous place with her private mythology that always includes the native plants in whatever country she works.
Around the corner from Love’s mural, on calle Pancho Pantera, a petite Columbian woman with the pseudonym Gleo paints large, bold swaths of color across a pink wall. After a long day on the ladder, it became a woman’s face. While most graffiti muralists use spray cans filled with oil paint, Gleo paints with acrylic directly on the wall with brushes, as one would a canvas. There are rhythmic intricacies in this method that are not possible with spray cans.
On walls along calles Estrellita and Cielito Lindo, young men spray arcs of color on walls and create murals of mythological beasts: an angel fox, a terrifying dragon, a tiger with six-foot teeth, and a blue woman holding a red heart.
This colorful explosion of art across our neighborhood walls would not have been possible without Graffiti World. Jan Roth and Eutimio Garcia, the two young organizers of Graffiti World, based in Mexico City, have merged with local Colleen Sorenson’s Muros en Blanco. Muros is an organization that originally sponsored the mural project. Volunteer residents of Guadalupe house and feed the artists, though recently a rental house has been acquired. The paint and airline tickets are sponsored by INCUSA.SA COSEL.
For young muralists wanting to paint a wall next year in Guadalupe, contact Info@Graffitiworld.TV, JanBaross.com.