Every city that I have ever visited has been decorated/defaced with lots of colorful graffiti. In some cities, the graffiti is confined to train tunnels, highway overpasses and other functional places that generally lack any kind of redeeming aesthetic qualities. In others, the graffiti can be seen everywhere, coating fire hydrants, schools and long-abandoned corner grocery stores (among other places).
The common thread in both types of city is that most graffiti, however colorful it may be, either advertises a gang's territory or functions as an artist's signature (or both); graffiti with any kind of broader social value is conspicuously absent from the majority of our cityscapes. Because of this, I was quite surprised when I arrived in San José to find that perhaps half of the graffiti that I see here is politically or socially motivated.
What follows below is a series of photos I've taken of graffiti in the city that can broadly be arranged in two categories: political/social and funny/different. For the political ones, I've made every effort to represent all of the viewpoints that I could find to avoid any kind of editorializing on my part. Also, some of the language present in the graffiti may be offensive, but I think that the merit of posting it as a window into a vibrant culture of political expression outweighs any offense that may be taken.