How Color Came to Lapa One Step At a Time

In 1990, Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón began to paint the stairs of Lapa (technically, they lie partially in Santa Tereza as well), which previously were a bit run-down and bland, as you can see from the photo above. Having moved to Rio in the early 80’s, several years went by before he started to bring life to the staircase that stops at his door step. Being constantly out of money, he had to sell his paintings (of pregnant women, his other fascination) in order to fund the work on his most ambitious project ever.

The masterpiece that carries his name already appeared in magazines such as National Geographic, Wallpaper, Time, Elle, Playboy and many other Brazilian publications, that search out the artist on an almost daily basis to interview him. Some famous music videos, as well as various Brazilian commercials, were already filmed on the stairs. Among the artists that already filmed there are U2, Baby Face, Snoop Dogg and Pharell. Among the commercials, companies such as  Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kellogs and American Express already used the stairs as a filming location.

“Tourists from all over the world that visit my work are very important, because they buy my paintings and post cards and take my story with them to foreign lands. With this money, I continue my work”, wrote Selarón on one of his postcards.

If you’d like to donate some tiles to his neverending project. Send them to the address below!

Selaron (Pinto Chileno)
Escadaria Selaron, No. 24
CEP 20241-120 Santa Tereza
Rio de Janeiro Brazil


3 thoughts on “How Color Came to Lapa One Step At a Time

    • They made fun of him for his choice in colors, apparently. He said that for the first 10 years no one cared about his project until he made the walls red, then they came in droves.

  1. Pingback: Lapa’s Selarón found dead | Eyes On Brazil

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