Anonymous American Artist Paints Murals in São Paulo


No tape recorder. No portraits. No age disclosing. These where the conditions of BiP, an anonymous street artist, to talk to Folha 's reporter inside a building between Avenida Rio Branco and Rua Vitória, in São Paulo.

There, in the middle of downtown, the American artist with codename BiP - an acronym for Believe in People - is painting the image of a boy that takes up 2,000 square meters (21,500 square feet) of one of said building's walls. To accomplish that, he spent 500 spray cans and 40 paint gallons.

His presence has called attention in the neighborhood. "He frightened me the first time I saw him. What is this disguised man in my building?" said a resident. A drugstore clerk compared BiP's outfit to a space suit. "He walks around with these clothes full of plastic."

Crédito: Rafael Roncato/Folhapress Mural by BIP in São Paulo
Mural by BIP in São Paulo

BiP explains that only a friend and his manager know his true identity. He pulls out his mask during his interview with the reporter. He wears a baseball cap and a hoodie, and doesn't look older than 30. Fair skinned and brown-eyed, his looks resemble actor John Krasinski, from the series "The Office".

Crédito: Rafael Roncato/Folhapress The American artist with codename BiP
The American artist with codename BiP

He wears a sweatshirt under an overall that could have been once white, but now is stained by paints and dyes.

The artist says that life as an unknown brings him peace of mind, and quotes the writer Jack Kerouac: "(...) anonymity in the world of men is better than fame in heaven". "I appreciate being able to get honest opinions, without people realizing that you are the one who made that art," he said.

Besides, many places where he paints do not have previous city permits - not the case of the building where he is currently working on. This way, being anonymous serves him well in case someone wants to catch him by breaking the law.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

Read the article in the original language

+Latest news in English