26 Apr. 2017
Sao Paulo, Brazil
The angular, runic font has conquered swaths of Sao Paulo's landscape as unseen street artists scale buildings and landmarks with paint rollers and spray cans in hand, drawing the ire of many who embrace other forms of graffiti. "A muralist is an artist and has our respect," Mayor Joao Doria said in an interview this month, highlighting his plans to commission new works of street art. "Pichacao is aggression … It is not a social problem. It is mental, criminal." Doria says police have caught more than 100 people writing on walls illegally in Sao Paulo since he took office in January. He has established a fine for pichacao of up to 10,000 reais ($3,200), or 10 times Brazil's monthly minimum wage. But practitioners, known as 'pichadores', say that will do little to dissuade them from climbing high-rises and highway overpasses to leave their mark. "What other artist puts their safety at risk for what they do?" said the pichador known as Du. "All art involves freedom of expression, but pichacao is the expression of freedom. You're telling the world, 'Here I am. You can't ignore me.'" Most pichadores write little more than their street name or the name of their crew, and spare social commentary in rare instances. "Who is Doria?" one scrawled in a tag. REUTERS/Nacho Doce SEARCH "PICHADORES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.