The Greatest Graffiti Artist in the World: Eduardo Kobra
Let me start by saying that I’m not qualified to talk about art. In fact, I can barely distinguish the differences between certain colors. But, that’s alright, I’m not going to try to figure out the different qualities that makes one artist’s work better than another’s. And let’s be honest, artists like Bansky, David Choe, and Kobra are all great. Trying to classify one as superior to the other is silly since it all comes down to personal taste.
So, instead of writing about Kobra the artist, I’ll focus on Eduardo Kobra the man.
He grew up on the outskirts of São Paulo and picked up his first can of spray paint when he was just twelve years old. His teenage years were spent tagging the hardest to reach places in the city. Now, his massive murals can be seen all around the globe, from New York to Moscow. He’s considered one of the most versatile urban artists in the world, and he continues to experiment with and evolve his art.
He’s an impressive dude!
Recently, I have learned a few more things about the man behind the murals and I wanted to share them here. I’ve come to realize that Kobra is not just a great artist, but he is a great human being. So here they are:
THREE REASONS EDUARDO KOBRA IS THE GREATEST GRAFFITI ARTIST IN THE WORLD
A LABOR OF LOVE
Kobra’s huge portrait of Oscar Niemeyer is familiar to anyone who has been to São Paulo. Standing at 180 feet tall, it is the most commonly snapped photo by any tourist that visits the city. Kobra created this mural as a tribute to the city’s greatest architect.
“Oscar Niemeyer was an important figure to us. The decision to paint this here reminds us of the importance of the several works he did in the city. Given their relevance even today, I think he deserved this great space on Paulista Avenue.”
What most people don’t know is that this was a passion project for Kobra.
“For this project we didn’t receive a penny of compensation—we are doing it for the pleasure of doing a job here at Paulista, the most important avenue in São Paulo.”
Kobra didn’t receive any money for this massive mural that makes the city a more beautiful place. Rather, the project is just one great artist paying tribute to another.
PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST
São Paulo: An Augmented Reality is a project headed by Eduardo Kobra that intervenes in different parts of the city where people’s lives are the most difficult. He uses his art to highlight and help people that need it the most.
Last June, the artist set up in the middle of an area known as “Crack Land”, where he invited people fighting with addiction to join him in a collaborative effort. They created a panel with several paintings on it.
“I was tense at the beginning. But come one, another came, and some 40 people ended up participating. It was an unusual experience.”
Later he auctioned the piece, as well as several other portraits, and donated the proceeds to a program that helps the people in “Crack Land” fight their addiction.
Meanwhile, on the other side of São Paulo, in Paraisópolis, one of the largest favelas in the city, Kobra’s Augmented Reality project painted a mural to help out the Paraisópolis Ballet School, a small community center that helps young girls improve their lives through dance. The battle for funding and space is an ongoing problem, and one that the artist could identify with. The mural shows one of the young girls dancing and has helped to secure the school’s practice space.
In both cases, the artist donated his time and energy to help the less fortunate people in his city.
KEEPING IT GREEN
In 2011, Kobra began Greenpincel, an initiative which criticizes the destruction of nature and the killing of animals by men.
“I am a lover of nature and love animals. I’m doing my part, trying to use the murals to raise awareness yes, why not?”
These are powerful murals which, according to Kobra, are intended to artistically combat the various forms of human aggression against nature. The subjects of these murals tackle everything from whaling off of the coast of Japan to the devastating destruction that takes place every day inside of the Amazon.
Kobra is using his time and energy to try and make the world a better place. Through his art, he is helping people, helping nature, and paying his respects to other great artists. He’s doing these things, not to gain recognition or compensation, but because he is simply a great guy.
That’s why I think that Eduardo Kobra is the greatest graffiti artist in the world. What do you think?