In 1974 Jorge Montesdeoca left his home country, Ecuador, carrying with him a few clothes, a camera, a cutlery set, some brushes and a bunch of paperbacks by Dumas, Salgari and Verne.

Since then he has travelled throughout every South American country (except for The Guyanas) with his skills for painting and advertising as his only means of subsistence. While pollinating distant towns and cities with his signature graphic style, he has managed to crystallize in his own way the elusive dream of continental integration once envisioned by General Simón Bolivar, a character Jorge seems to have more in common with than a birth date. This website is dedicated to Jorge’s extraordinary life and journey.

Explore the extent of Jorge’s journey through a painstaking reconstruction of his travels. More than 100 places, from renowned metropolises like Rio de Janerio to obscure towns like Oruro.

Go to the map

One story, different ways to navigate it.

Meet the man. Read his story and listen to his testimony

See his work. And help us document it.

Snoop the richness of Jorge’s experience through a collection of personal photographs, clippings, postcards and sketches that have survived the necessarily detached life of a nomad.

Go to the papers’ spread

Jorge has painted signs and murals in virtually every South American country. There is a good chance he has painted some in your hometown. Get familiar with his work, keep an eye on the graphic landscape that surrounds you, and if you find a work that might have been made by him, snap a picture and share it with us.

Let’s document together the graphics that are so central in our visual culture and yet so overlooked.

Go to the gallery

“Many try on the suit of ‘Bolivarism’ only to realize it is too big for them. Persons like Jorge try it on and make its seams and buttons pop.”

Keep reading and listening

Vagamundo: they Life and Journeys of Jorge Montesdeoca is a project of Populardelujo. © Some rights reserved. 2010, Populardelujo

Different ways of learning about his life are available to you throughout the website. You can pan and click the interactive map to have a better sense of the geographic breadth of his journey, or you can do the same over a spread of his personal papers if you want to have a more memories-based experience.  If you would prefer a more linear account, an article is also available. All of these are peppered with quotes, oral recordings and paintings generously shared by Jorge.

The materials that you will find in this website are mainly Jorge’s personal belongings. Since 2002 Populardelujo has been documenting Jorge’s work in the streets and has dedicated a number of exhibits and publications to his work. The focus of Vagamundo is to explore the more personal facets of Jorge’s life so we can have a more tri-dimensional portrait of his character and a better understanding of his work.  The graphic materials you will find in this website are mainly photographs, clippings, postcards that he carries with him and paintings commissioned by Populardelujo in which he illustrates episodes of his life.

The Latin American breadth of his personal experience and the digital social networking tools, though, offer a great opportunity to document Jorge’s work beyond Bogotá (Colombia), which has been Populardelujo’s focus so far, and to give it a continental scale. We have thus set up a Flickr account where we are sharing the works of Jorge we have found so far and encourage you, in whatever South American you live or visit, to do your part. Hopefully, we can collectively reconstruct the legacy of this fascinating itinerant painter. Here you can see what has been collected so far and find out how you can contribute.

Vagamundo is a project of Populardelujo and it reflects the project’s interest in documenting and contributing to enhance the visibility of topics, experiences and populations that have been traditionally overlooked by the cultural mainstream. We thank Jorge for his trust and generosity. We stress the admiration and respect we feel towards his work.