Time Out Rio de Janeiro

Muda: the art of tiles

The art collective tiling up the town.

For those with even a passing interest in street art, the sight of freshly tiled walls – from Jardim Botânico to Praça Carioca via Bairro Peixoto – creeping up to cover taggers’ scrawls has been a blessing. Charmless concrete surfaces are slowly being taken over by multi-coloured squares creating bright mosaics that are brightening even the dingiest corners, all from the creative hands of art collective Muda.

Trawling the city and putting paid to the grey since 2010 are Duke Capellão, Rodrigo Kalache and Diego Uribbe, the architects and realizors of designers João Tolentino and Bruna Vieira’s creations, all putting their spare time to good use with an original outlet for their creativity.

Former graffiti artists themselves, Capellão and Tolentino see the tiles as a natural progression from the spray can, the name Muda meaning simply ‘changes’ – in their own words ‘taking one standard unit which, when multiplied becomes a full panel’. “Everything is constantly changing, our art is essentially itinerant", saya Kalache.

It has been said that the works pay homage to (recently deceased) Athos Bulcão, a carioca for whom the symmetry of repeated tiles was a lifetime’s obsession, or even Paris’ legendary street-art innovator Invader, but the Muda crew simply cites them along with others as references in their work which has led to commissions for (interior design mega-event) Casa Cor and Fashion Rio.

What is more certain is that Mini-Muda – an even more spontaneous sticking up of individual, hand-made pieces by the crew – has already hit the walls of São Paulo, Minas and as far away as the Big Apple. Even when people have taken enough of a shine to their work to want rip it off the walls there is no animosity. “Many of the works now have pieces missing or hanging on by a corner, but that’s a good sign. The idea is for this to be totally viral,” says Tolentino, democratically. 

Words by Time Out Rio de Janeiro editors

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