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Beco do Batman: Where Street Becomes Art

For more photos and videos from the graffiti murals in Vila Madalena, explore the Beco do Batman location page.

Tucked away in one of São Paulo’s most bohemian neighborhoods, Vila Madalena, you’ll find a discrete alleyway known to locals as “Beco do Batman.” The passage is home to some of the city’s most respected graffiti artists’ work and murals cover the walls in explosions of color, capturing the city’s vibrant graffiti scene and overall creative energy. Artist Speto (@speto) considers Beco do Batman “a peaceful and playful manifestation of street art in the city.” He painted his first mural at Beco do Batman in 2006 when he was given a wall by Boleta, a fellow artist he deeply admired. Speto’s mural, a beautiful large bird, is still there today and has deep significance for him as an artist.

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Writing Love Letters with @nasyakopteva and @sashabraulov

To see more photos and videos of Nasya and Sasha’s handmade mail art, follow @nasyakopteva and @sashabraulov on Instagram.

Some of the greatest writers in history have turned to love letters to communicate deep feelings despite distance. For two Russian Instagrammers, @nasyakopteva and @sashabraulov, it was their love for handmade letters and envelopes that kindled a deep friendship, which later developed into love.

Living in different parts of Russia (St. Petersburg and Moscow) Nasya and Sasha would share small notes or “mail art” with each other. As their love and friendship grew, Sasha made sure he was glued to Nasya’s Instagram account.

"I viewed Nasya’s Instagram account every day," says Sasha. "If there appeared multiple photos of her working desk with envelopes and paper, to me it was a sure sign that I should check my post box shortly after as a new creation must have been sent to me."

The couple met through mutual friends on a trip to St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum (@hermitage_museum). The two now live together in St. Petersburg after marrying in late 2013. Even though they’re now physically together, their declarations of love through sharing handmade envelopes, postcards and other objects in the mail continues as they post remnants to Instagram as keepsakes.

"Our marriage did not affect our correspondence in any way," Sasha continues. "We still love sending heartwarming things to surprise and gladden the other meaningful half—reminders of the moments that are particularly dear to both of us."

Nasya adds, “Our Instagram accounts, apart from snapshots from our travel, sometimes host photos of the mail art creation process. They help us save the perceptions that are dear to us: the sentiment, the light, the texture, interaction of colors. It’s sharing bits of our daily inspiration, not just visual content.”

Nasya and Sasha also share some visual messages to each other privately through Instagram Direct, as well as publicly on their accounts.

"It’s great for those who sometimes find it important to restrict the number of those who get these little beautiful pieces of mail art," Nasya adds. "Especially for those wanting this visual communication to take place within Instagram. We are now accustomed to the interface and have literally fallen in love with it.”

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A Look into the the United States Deep Freeze

For more photos and videos from the freeze, explore the #chiberia and #deepfreeze hashtags.

Earlier this week, arctic winds from the North Pole descended unusually far southward, bringing record freezing temperatures and a deep freeze to many states throughout the midwestern and eastern United States. A result of a distortion in the northern wind patterns known as the polar vortex, the sudden change caused temperatures to drop as much as 50 degrees during a single day in some locations. Cities such as Minneapolis, Minnesota, have seen heavy snowfall and temperatures nearing -40ºF (-40ºC). Chicago, Illinois, has been especially impacted by the deep freeze, leading to the creation of the #chiberia hashtag to document the cold conditions.

Though officials have cautioned residents in these states to minimize outdoor exposure, many have taken the time to explore the frigid conditions and share their experiences through photos and videos on Instagram.

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