Graffiti Beyond Walls. Exploring public space as a market place
A masterclass with artists Camilo Fidel Lopez & Estefany Fajardo:
- Camilo Fidel López is a lawyer, lecturer and university professor, specialized in financial law and copyright. He is the founder and director of Vertigo Graffiti, a platform for analysis, promotion and development of urban art and graffiti. He has been director and organizer of mural districts in Colombia (Ciudad Mural, Cartagena and Distrito Graffiti, Bogota) and has created with his team of artists large format murals in 10 countries in Europe, Asia and America
- Estefany Fajardo (Zas) is a graffiti artist with more than 15 years of experience in the creation of street works. She has created large format murals in Colombia and Europe. She has a Bachelor’s degree in graphic design and an MFA at the Marseille Mediterranean college of art and design. She currently lives in Marseille where she has her artistic creation studio.
Moderation by Thomas Scaramuzza, Academic Advisor of the Cultural Policy & Management policy stream at Sciences Po’s School of Public Affairs, and students.
“The walls have ears. Your ears have walls”.
If you were wandering around Paris, 60 years ago, this sentence would be one of the hundreds of graffitis that appeared on the city to announce the arrival of a new beginning. Millions of people went out into the streets and demanded their right to ask for the impossible. It was May 68. It was an unforgettable spring for the world.
But change took too long to come and the streets of many cities around the planet were abandoned to their fate. People focused on themselves and moved far away from the other’s gaze. Public space, the great stage of modern man, became a quiet, silent and selfish place. The dream started to fade.
However, secretly, graffiti continued to roam the streets. A myriad of young people, spontaneously, took on the task of reminding others of the importance of inhabiting and belonging in the public space. A constellation of forms, images and messages made up the new visual landscape of inert and hurried cities. An agitated breath confirmed that life still pulsed beneath the heavy gray cement.
In time, that breath of life would become a storm that attracted the attention of cities, enterprises, communities and artists who would engage in an extraordinary and unusual alternative: using the tools of graffiti and urban art to turn public space into an efficient and functional marketplace. Some succeeded in their goals; others drifted away and abandoned the game. We were part of it. We are still learning (and making mistakes) about it.
Graffiti Beyond Walls is the sharing of a basic model of exchange (and satisfaction) of expectations among four interest groups that inhabit public spaces of the world. A model of marketplace that we have been applying -and correcting- over the last 12 years and that has allowed us to comprehend and participate in visual conversations around the world. It is time for all of us to return to the streets. They still belong to us.
©Camilo Fidel Lopez