The Brazilian street artist Marcos Rodrigo signs his murals as Wark da Rocinha (meaning “Wark from Rocinha favela in Rio”). Notorious for poverty, crime, and makeshift houses and styles of living, Rocinha is Rio’s largest favela and Marcos is considered one of the first graffiti artists from this neighborhood to make it big. Even though he has built quite a reputation for himself now painting stylized angel figures that can be found all around Rio, he still maintains a strong connection to his roots and is known for his great social commitment to his community.

Marcos began as a self-taught artist and ended up studying at the prestigious Parque Laje Artist Schools (EAV), in Rio de Janeiro. Today he directs the Instituto Wark, a collective made up of artists, social coordinators, and professionals from different areas, which offers educational activities for children and young people from the favela.

Being a pioneer of Brazil’s largest favela graffiti movement, he quickly caught the attention and interest of Brazilians, from the humble to the most renowned. As a result, he found opportunities to organize numerous exhibitions and performances in the city and to have his works commissioned by major governmental institutions.

Wark’s graffiti is always expressive; using colorful stick figure angels created with simple lines, his graffiti and murals tend to depict his characters engaged in some kind of mischief. These can be found on practically all the streets of Rocinha and on all of the south side of Rio de Janeiro.

While many other artists have their sights set on the global spotlight, Marcos stays true to where he came from, less inclined to conquer the famous art museums of the world (which nevertheless keep inviting him regularly) and more interested in preserving the art of graffiti—stating that it is an important catalyst for change in poor neighborhoods.

Wark has an Instagram account you can follow to see his latest updates:  You can also check out the Instituto Wark page here: