At times São Paulo can be a hilarious slew of contradictions.
An interesting thing occurs in a society where painting on the street is so easy the ‘danger’ involved becomes so minimal it is fair to call it nonexistent. In order to be ‘rebellious,’ artists have to do the unthinkable; ask for permission.
Think about it, in a system where everything is turned on its head, where the streets are covered in paint, where the street art becomes the only relief from gray, where graffiti artists are celebrated by pop culture, is it really that hard to believe that the process is also flipped upside-down as well? South America has reached a point where the most rebellious action possible is seeking responsible permission to do the things you love.
And that is exactly what graffiti artist and designer Chivitz did when he saw an open wall across the street from the São Paulo Mayor’s office. In these times of cultural contradiction, THAT is the ‘baller’ move. Not something to mock but rather something to admire, something to aspire to. When you can walk up to the mayor’s office and tell them exactly what you want to do and they say okay, you’re bad ass.
As if this wasn’t interesting enough, during the painting process, the Mayor forgot he granted them permission and sent police to harass them. Chivitz relished the moment as he pulled out an official notice granting him permission. The officers, stunned by the document, phoned up to the office and literally waved the paper in the air so that those in the Mayor’s headquarters could see it with their own eyes from across the street. Dismayed and frankly confused, the officers left and Chivitz and company kept painting. In a world where corruption is king, this moment wasn’t ‘soft’ or cowardice, it’s pure guts.
Artists from the Rio de Janiero collective ‘Fleshbeck Crew’ joined Chivitz and other SP artists in a Rio/São Paulo collaboration.