The Streets Are Alive With the Art of Caiozzama

To create art in the physical spaces of your city for people to see, understand, and appreciate is a noble line of work. The social messages and aesthetic benefits of artistic talent are vital aspects of the human experience, and street art is one of the few media that reach every and any person who walks down the sidewalk. Claudio Caiozzi, or Caoizzama, as he calls his artistic identity, brings the streets of downtown Santiago to life and fills the walls with pieces he later photographs. His street art is created through print outs which he places on the streets of Santiago centro to later photograph, often with interactive aspects of people and street life.

 Alguine tiene que sufrir; Photo courtesy of Caoizzama
Alguine tiene que sufrir; Photo courtesy of Caoizzama

Caiozzama started creating graffiti about 18 months ago in order to portray important political critiques and provide humorous relief during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It began after working with mainly natural, documentalist photography. His professional photography career grew after his studies in 2006 to 2008 at Instituto Profesional Arcos and has been living, travelling, and working as a photographer in London, Central America, China, and now Santiago.The artist had always been impressed with street art and decided to try it for his photographs after travelling and returning to Chile.

Many of his photographs are interactive. He works hard to incorporate his murals and real human action into his photographs. In one of his favorite pieces, "Rebelde", a photograph of Maria from the movie the Sound of Music with two guns pointed at passer byers, he waited several hours for the perfect opportunity for his photo. And with "Alguien tiene que sufrir" (above), photo of the papered wall of a young girl waiting behind a corner on the street, he waited 2 to 3 hours for a couple to walk by and snapped a shot of them after the long stakeout.

 U.S.A.; Photo courtesy of Caoizzama
U.S.A.; Photo courtesy of Caoizzama

All of his public pieces are based on a sense of humor or critical message regarding different societies and political practices. They touch upon global cultures and politics and critique issues outside of Chile. For example, his photograph, “U.S.A.” of a small African american girl being targeted by riot geared police officers comments crucially on recent situations and popular movements in the United States against police brutality towards African American youth.

While he takes pride in the more serious messages, he says "Tranquilein John Wayne" is a Chilean saying from “his father’s generation” and the humor he finds in this work makes it one of his most favored pieces. Everyone in that time period would use this phrase like, “tranquilo”, or everything’s alright, take it easy. It survived 69 days on the hectic street of Alameda before being taken down.

 Tranquilein... John Wayne; Photo courtesy of Caiozzama
Tranquilein... John Wayne; Photo courtesy of Caiozzama

Unlike some artists, his attitude towards street art is engaging and welcoming of contribution. His photos are a domain to create a piece with permanence in a moment of time or action with his original piece. However, he says the street is a public domain in which people can add or change his work as it is a party of the city and the people’s space. “Me gusta que la gente entienda lo que estoy diciendo, que la gente vea mi punto de vista, y lo hago en la calle porque me gusta que la gente también reaccione, que lo rompe, que saque fotos… llegan y hacen lo quieren con eso” [I like that people understand what I am saying, that they see my point of view, that they break it, that they take photos... they come and do what the want to with (the artwork)].

Caiozzama remains unsure about the future or increasing popularity of street art here in Chile but it is not about success in terms of money or fame. He loves to do it, loves to get feedback, and loves to decorate the streets of his city with his thoughts, critiques, and works of art so people can share and create with them. “No sé si tendrá algún futura pero la misma me gusta hacerlo y voy a seguir haciendo… y con eso me quedo muy feliz” (I don't know if it will have a future but I like to do it all the same and will continue to do so... and with that I am very happy".

His artwork is available to experience and purchase online.

Caiozzama: Claudio Caiozzi

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