I want to say I’m sorry for the length of this post, but I’m not – this place absolutely floored me. Lapa was one of the neighborhoods in Rio that I knew I had to see…it’s full of character, awesome architecture, graffiti, and the some of the most amazing artwork in Escadaria Selarón (the Selarón Steps). Chilean artist Jorge Selarón began designing these steps in 1990, hand-tiling each inch into the brilliant mosaic it is today. Tiles are mailed or brought to Selarón in person; he etches the tiles and lays them into the stairs, which seem to stretch on for as long as the eye can see. We had the privilege of meeting the artist in his workshop, as you’ll see below…a very surreal/awesome experience. The arched images to begin are the remnants known as Arcos de Lapa, or the Carioca Aqueduct.
Selarón, the artist himself, hand-sketching a tile: