Home to dozens of outstanding artists who are active on both the streets and in their studios, Bogota is a thriving oasis of strikingly impressive urban art. Yet — like so many South American cities — it has been largely overlooked by the dominant street art scene. In his efforts to bring his city’s extraordinary art to a wider audience, Bogota native Lorenzo Masnah launched Street Lynx Bta, a cheerful, welcoming urban art gallery in Bogota’s historic downtown district in 2018. Currently on view is an exhibit featuring artwork by several first-rate artists concurrently participating in  Street ArtBo, an art fair curated and coordinated by Street Lynx BtaWhat follows are several of the artworks on exhibit in the gallery space:

The prolific Bogota-based Ledania who is increasingly making her mark throughout the globe

The hugely influential Bogota-based SakoAsko

Bogota-based Beek, renowned for his masterly wild-style graffiti

The esteemed Bogota-based stencil artist DjLu

LA -based, Colombian graphic designer El Care Barbie

Note: In addition to the Colombian artists participating in Street ArtBo — that continues through Sunday, the 22nd — are several international ones, as well.

Photos courtesy Street Lynx Bta



With a B.A. degree in Industrial Design, Colombian native Garavato has designed and developed dozens of projects in a range of media. During the past three years, he has also shared his talents on public spaces. I recently had the opportunity to meet up with him when he was in NYC where he painted at Grove Alley in Downtown Brooklyn and at EBC High School.

When did you first hit a public surface? And where?

Three years go in Argentina.

What inspired you to do so?

I had always worked on paper, on canvas and on indoor walls.  But I wanted to try to get a huge stencil up in a public space. And when I had the opportunity to do so legally in Buenos Aires, I did.  And I’ve been doing it since.


Do you tend to restrict yourself to legal surfaces?

I usually ask for permission when I’m a guest in another city, but in Bogota, where I’m now based, it’s okay for me to get up just about anywhere.

In what other cities have you painted?

I’ve painted in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro. Berlin, Napoli and now in NYC.

How does your family feel about what you are doing outdoors?

At first, my father was concerned. But now he is very supportive.


What percentage of your day is devoted to your art?

All of it. 24/7. It is the sole source of my income, as I work as a designer and illustrator.

Do you have a formal arts education?

I studied Industrial Design for five years. So my background isn’t in fine arts or illustration. But I’ve always been drawing, and my mom is a painter.

What about galleries? Have you shown your work in galleries?

Yes, I’ve exhibited in Argentina, Chile, Italy and in major cities in Colombia.


Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I like working by myself, but I also like learning from others. And that happens best when I collaborate with other artists.

How has your work evolved in the past few years?

I’ve begun to paint on a much larger scale and — inspired by the works of Emory Douglas, Shepard Fairey and Toxicomano — I am using fewer colors.

What inspires you these days?

So much! Music, birds — the freedom they represent – skulls, animals and the notion of evolution.


Have any particular cultures influenced your aesthetic?

I’d say the punk culture, the street art movement and the DIY (Do It Yourself) movement.

What do you see as the role of the artist in society?

The artist gives a gift to the people, stirs conversation and raises consciousness.

How you feel about the role of the Internet in this scene?

It’s amazing! It give us artists the opportunity to connect with so many people. And I love that feeling.


And what about you? What’s ahead?

I’d like to focus on stencils, further develop my own brand and travel more.

Sounds good! Good luck!

Interview by Lois Stavsky; all photos courtesy of the artist, except for photo 3 by Lois Stavsky

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Currently based in Bogota, Colombia, the Australian artist CRISP continues to bring his vision to a range of spaces throughout the globe. We met up with him on his recent visit to NYC.


When did you first start painting on public surfaces? And where?

I’m a late bloomer, as back in Australia and during my time in the UK, I was mostly into sculpting and drawing.  But when I moved to Bogota, I became very interested in getting my art out in the street. That was over five years ago now, and I never looked back.

Were there any particular folks who inspired you?

Definitely the Canadian graffiti writer Opek — who was living in Bogota at the time — as he encouraged me to get my art up in the street. Dj Lu / Juegasiempre was an important influence, great support and my favorite stencil artist. Also the local work of Toxicómano , Guache, Kochino, Senil, Vogel, Praxis and others certainly inspired me.

Do you have any preferred surfaces?

The great thing about the urban space is that it’s filled with different textures and surfaces. In terms of my stencils, though, I generally like flat concrete ones, as they’re easier to work with and brighten up an otherwise dull, grey corner of the city.


Any thoughts on the graffiti/ street art divide?

To me they are one and the same. I try not to get into the politics. Live and let live I say. It’s all expression, creativity and passion.

Have you any thoughts about the corporate world’s engagement with graffiti and street art?

I’ve never liked how corporations have always been able to impose their images on our urban environment while graffiti and street art are almost always deemed illegal. Public spaces are for everybody, not just for companies that want to make sales and money. I feel uneasy how private corporations now use urban art to sell their brand, but I also understand that artists need to earn a living!

How you feel about the role of the Internet in this scene?

It’s changed everything.  So much more artwork is accessible to so many.  It’s not just the people in a particular neighborhood or city who can enjoy the pieces now. It also helps bring awareness to a wider audience of street artists from countries that are less visited or unknown. Bogota has one of the most prolific and best urban art scenes in the world, but not many people know about it or visit.

"Crisp sculpture"

Do you have a formal arts education?

Not in the formal institutionalized sense, but both my parents are artists, and I grew up around art all my life. My dad is a sculptor, and my mom is a traditional painter. They taught me a lot from a very young age.

How do they feel about what you are doing these days?

They love it. I’ve even turned my mom on to street art! When she came to Bogota, she painted some walls with me!

What’s the riskiest thing you’ve done?

Well, I did get stabbed in the hand during a robbery this year while photographing street art in a dodgy neighborhood in Bogota. I was stupidly doing the wrong thing in the wrong place, and I learnt the hard way! I had to paint with my left hand for a few months while my right hand healed.


What inspires you these days to keep getting your art up in public spaces?

I love the idea of sharing my work with a wider audience without the limitations galleries and internal private spaces impose. And I love it when folks discover my work by chance and enjoy it! I want to be a part of a city’s visual landscape – the one I live in and the ones I visit.

What’s your ideal working environment?

Working in areas of cities where my street art will impact passersby by adding something to their commute, walk or day. Every city and street has its own unique aesthetic and feel.

Has your aesthetic been influenced by any particular cultures?

I’m especially influenced by Asian cultures and by different tribal aesthetics from around the world. Also popular culture, current world events and the environment influence my work. My work is a mix of socio-political and solely visual expression.


How has your work evolved in the past few years?

I work on larger surfaces, and I’m experimenting more with different materials and subject matters. I’m doing more complex stencils and experimenting with mixing free style with stencils. Also, I’ve started doing more sculptural works in the street through my masks.

Would you rather work alone, or do you prefer to collaborate with others?

Both. It’s always fun to collaborate with other artists, as it can add something new to all our pieces. Among the artists I’ve collaborated with are: Ronzo, Pez, DjLu, Dast, Tarboxx2, Miko and Kochino.

Where else – besides Bogota and NYC – have you gotten up?

I’ve gotten up in London, Mexico City, Miami, Atlanta, Sydney, Alaska, Canada and the Dominican Republic. May favorite place by far, though, is Bogota, Colombia!


What do you see as the role of the artist in society?

To visually reflect a particular perspective of the history and culture of the times and place. The artist highlights a people’s social and political values in a way that’s aesthetically expressive and open to different interpretations.

What about the photographers and bloggers? How do you feel about them?

Urban art is continuously evolving, changing and disappearing. It’s important that it’s documented as eventually it won’t exist. And as I mentioned before, it helps people discover and learn about scenes and artists they wouldn’t generally access.

What’s ahead?

I want to keep painting and creating as much as possible. I want my work to keep evolving. I love combining my love of travel with street art, so I will keep mixing that up! My family and my art are the most important things in my life!

Interview by Lois Stavsky; photos 1, 2, 4 & 6 courtesy of the artist; photos 3 and 5 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn by Lois Stavsky