Street Art In Mexico: An Explosion of Color

by Rachel Story
street art in Mexico

Street Art in Mexico has exploded in the last several years. Mexico is no stranger to cultural graffiti as the ancient Mayans and Aztecs covered their temple walls in beautiful imagery. Muralism became famous here in the 1920’s after the Mexican Revolution and Mexico has been embracing art on its walls ever since. These days it’s experiencing a bit of a renaissance, becoming popular with the help of social media. Since arriving in Mexico, one of our favorite things to do is wander the streets admiring all the colorful murals and graffiti art. Come along as we take you on a digital tour of street art from some of Mexico’s most popular spots.

A Brief History

Made famous by people such as Diego Rivera, Jose Orozco, and David Siqueiros the muralist movement has become the most studied part of Mexico’s art history. After the Mexican Revolution, the government commissioned murals for public buildings to reinforce its political message. Most of the population was illiterate so the government needed a different way to get their message out.  Themes of the murals primarily related to politics, nationalism, and history.

Over time, the artists came to reject the direction of the murals passed down by the government. They began to paint their own ideas and values. These days murals cover a wide range of themes extending far beyond that of politics and religion.

street art Mexico

Admiring the street art of Mexico.

Mexican Muralism has also improved the art scene by creating a platform that can be enjoyed by the masses. It liberated art from the art market making it readily available for everyone. It was no longer only reserved for the elite members of society. This has allowed artists to find exposure on a much larger stage.

It’s this history of muralism that makes the urban art movement in Mexico different from similar movements around the world. This is why Mexicans are more open to the idea. They don’t see it as invasive graffiti as long as it’s beautiful and has an argument. Police don’t mind as long as the artists get permission from the property owners. Artists will even present sketches of their plans to neighborhood residents before they begin to paint.

Using the Aid of Social Media

Thanks to social media, Mexican street art has gained a huge following through Instagram. Many of the most famous Mexican street artists have incredibly large followings. Now countries around the world are inviting them to add color to their walls.

On a slightly unrelated note – It’s interesting to think about the impact street art, in general, has had on the social media sphere. Namely, Facebook where we “post” our opinions and ideas to our “wall.”

“Imagine a city where everybody could draw whatever they liked, where every street was awash with a million colors and little phrases, a city that felt like a party where everyone was invited.” – Banksy

Now that you’ve been given a look at what inspired street art in Mexico, get ready to feast your eyes on some of the best we’ve come across in our travels here!

Street Art in Mexico

Mexico City

Nowhere has seen the surge of street art quite like Mexico City has. Murals began popping up on walls in poorer neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city. Then they started sprouting up in more upscale neighborhoods such as La Roma and La Condesa and now visitors can see them around every corner.

It has even inspired art collectives such as Street Art Chilango that help promote the art and even commission public and private works. It’s even possible to book walking street art tours of the downtown area. If you’d rather not join a tour, head to their website where they have an interactive map showing all the great murals around the city.

street art in Mexico

street art in Mexico

Guadalajara

The street art is equally abundant in Mexico’s second biggest city, Guadalajara. Some good places to look are in the Americana neighborhood.

street art Mexico

This looks familiar. Wonder where they got the idea 😉

Guanajuato

In the UNESCO city of Guanajuato, the buildings are already painted in bright colors making street art less plentiful. But ducking into the neighborhoods can provide a wealth of beautiful murals.
street art Mexico

Puerto Vallarta

This is where we’ve spent the most time in Mexico. Puerto Vallarta has several amazing works scattered throughout the city. Many of them are from the #RESTORCORAL Mural Project, meant to raise awareness of the destruction of coral reefs in Mexico and around the world. Check out the official Instagram account to stay up to date with the latest murals.

Some murals in Puerto Vallarta are meant to raise awareness of destruction to marine life.

Other Murals around Puerto Vallarta

The photo at the very top of the post is in Puerto Vallarta as well.

This one is probably my favorite.

Iguanas are all the rage around here.

Blending art with reality.

street art Mexico

Sayulita

This little surfer town is about an hour by bus up the coast from Puerto Vallarta.

“I love Sayulita!”

Yelapa

Yelapa is a little town south of Puerto Vallarta only reachable by boat and it still boasts plenty of murals.

 

As you can see, there are amazing works of art on display all over Mexico. It’s just another reason to visit this amazing country (as if you needed one). We hope you’ve enjoyed this photo essay as much as we enjoyed putting it together for you!

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Where’s your favorite place to see street art?


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16 comments

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16 comments

Joseph Real December 18, 2017 - 8:36 pm

Do you live in PV?

Reply
Rachel Story December 18, 2017 - 8:52 pm

We lived there for the first half of this year. We’re traveling around South America right now and plan to return at some point!

Reply
Joseph Real December 21, 2017 - 1:47 pm

Thats great definitely let me know when you return i work with a lot of the artists that do murals here

Reply
Rachel Story December 21, 2017 - 1:57 pm

I most certainly will! It’s looking like we’ll be back for a bit around late April. I’ll keep you posted!

Reply
Rebecca Painter September 1, 2017 - 10:13 pm

So much gorgeous art!! I love finding street art wherever I am-whether as a surprise or because I went looking for it. It’s interesting to learn more about how the history of Mexican Muralism changes the feelings in their modern street art movement.

Thanks for the post!

Reply
Rachel Story September 2, 2017 - 2:05 pm

Totally agree! It’s a pretty cool part of Mexican history. Thanks for reading!

Reply
Susan August 1, 2017 - 7:57 pm

Wow! What a great collection of images – thank you for sharing!

Reply
Rachel Story August 2, 2017 - 11:20 am

Thank you for reading!

Reply
Joe August 1, 2017 - 9:23 am

Wow amazing art work and great photos. I love street art. It’s so real and visceral. I personally love the street art in Austin and Melbourne. Austin has an entire graffiti park and Melbourne has an entire alley dedicated to street art!

Reply
Zoe August 1, 2017 - 9:28 am

Have you been to Wynwood in Miami Joe? It started as Wynwood Walls, an outdoor street art gallery, but the art has gradually taken over the suburb. It’s street art paradise!

Reply
Rachel Story August 1, 2017 - 11:46 am

Wynwood is a really cool part of Miami. There’s also a really delicious restaurant there. Definitely worth a visit as it’s a nice change of pace from South Beach.

Reply
Rachel Story August 1, 2017 - 11:45 am

We’ve been to the graffiti park in Austin! It’s really cool. I’ve been to Melbourne but it was many years ago and I don’t’ remember seeing any street art. We’ll just have to go back!

Reply
Zoe July 30, 2017 - 9:38 pm

Great to see how uniquely Mexican a lot of this street art is, and that local artists are expressing their own cultural traditions with a modern spin, rather than simply regurgitating styles from other parts of the world. Nice work Rachel!

Reply
Rachel Story July 31, 2017 - 5:33 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Zoe! The street art here really is special. We’ve never seen anything like it. Just another great reason to visit Mexico!

Reply
Melanie Murrish July 28, 2017 - 3:00 pm

Great photo essay. I love street art, there’s lots of it in Spain too.

Reply
Rachel Story July 31, 2017 - 5:34 pm

Well then we’ll just have to add Spain to our long list of places to check out! Thanks for reading, Melanie!

Reply

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