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Graffitimundo: Art from the streets of Buenos Aires

Street art in Palermo. Art by Triangulo Dorado

 

During our first day in Buenos Aires, we took a guided tour of its street art that was run by Graffitimundoa non-profit organization that promotes street art and artists in this city.  It was a very nice introduction to the the Argentine capital and to its very popular street art.

 

Street art in the Colegiales barrio.

Street art in the Colegiales barrio. Painting by "Jaz"

Street art in the Colegiales barrio. This of a "spray painting gaucho"

 

During my travels I've noticed more and more graffiti in major cities, and over the past decade especially there has been evolution of crude graffiti into art that's often extremely interesting and of high quality.  It grabs your attention and makes you stop and study it, as good art should.  This is also true of Buenos Aires where street art began blossoming around the time of the financial crisis in 2001.  While its themes are often (but not always) political, quality street art does much to enhance the appeal of a neighborhood, at least to me ("better than a white wall" as the artists like to say).  People in many neighborhoods welcome and even invite these artists to decorate their buildings and property walls.

 

Street art on the walls of a power plant in the Colegiales barrio.

Street art on the walls of a power plant in the Colegiales barrio.

 

You'll see a lot of street art just walking around the city, but it makes sense to have experts show you the best, and this is where a company like Graffitimundo can help you get the most out your travel day.  They offer a variety of guided tours (custom private, group, bicycle) to different parts of town including some neighborhoods you'd be unlikely to visit on your own.  (Note:  We paid our own way.  This was not a "comp" tour, so these positive opinions were honestly rendered).

 

Street art, in charcoal, on the walls of a power plant in the Colegiales barrio.

Our three hour private tour of street art included a car and driver and our private English-speaking guide, Anna.   Anna understood the subject well, is friends with a number of the street artists and is quite passionate about the subject.  We were taken to five different barrios where we'd get out of the car and walk the streets to explore the art with Anna.  These neighborhood were: 1) Colegiales, 2) Palermo Soho/Hollywood, 3) Chacarita, 4) Villa Crespo, 5) Palermo.  Anna shared the background story of some of the paintings and the artists who created them and the time quickly flew by.  We are grateful to her for sharing her love of the subject with us.

 

Artists creating street art on Charcarita walls.

Artists creating street art on Charcarita walls.

Artists creating street art on Charcarita walls.

Artists creating street art on Charcarita walls.

 

While in Chacarita we got to see three young artists working on the creation of a lovely piece of street art, photos of which are included above (and below in the slideshow).  These artists were polite, intelligent, engaging and very friendly, and it was a pleasure to talk to them and to see their obvious joy in what they were doing.  

I've uploaded three short YouTube videos of them working on a wall mural so that you can get a chance to know them a little.  Here are the links for those:

 

Video 1                        Video 2                   Video 3      

 

 

Street art in Villa Crespo. Jaz painting in his studio

Graffitimundo Buenos Aires 2014 129 Villa Crespo Jaz's studio.

In addition to showing us a lot of amazing street art, Anna arranged for a visit in one of street artists' studio (Jaz and Ever's), where we had a chance to speak with them and watch them working on some commercial pieces.  Jaz was creating several works about athletes.  Ever's painting was X-rated and not suitable for illustration on this blog (a sample of his work is just below this paragraph to let you see his great talent), but both artists have a distinctive style and both were very pleasant.  I thank them for being so hospitable to us, and for letting us see how they work.

 

Street art in Villa Crespo. Painting by EverBesides providing tours and promoting the artists, Graffitimundo runs exhibitions and workshops and is working to preserve the history of this art through the filming of a documentary and creation of a book.  I'd certainly recommend their tours for folks interested in this topic and found that doing it early in our trip was a good way to go. 

 

There's additional photos of our Graffitimundo tour in the following gallery:

 

Street art on Charcarita walls.

Street art in a playground in the Colegiales barrio.

Street art in a playground in the Colegiales barrio.

Street art on the walls of a power plant in the Colegiales barrio.

Street art on the walls of a power plant in the Colegiales barrio.

Street art on the walls of a power plant in the Colegiales barrio.

Street art on the walls of a power plant in the Colegiales barrio.

Street art on the walls of the Colegiales barrio.

Street art on the walls of the Colegiales barrio.

 

Stencil art in the Palermo Soho district. On the Fukuro Noodle Bar restaurant

Stencil art in the Palermo Soho district. On the Fukuro Noodle Bar restaurant

Stencil art in the Palermo Soho district. On the Fukuro Noodle Bar restaurant

Stencil art in the Palermo Soho district.

Stencil art in the Palermo Soho district.

Stencil art in the Palermo Soho district.

 

Street art on Charcarita walls.

Street art on Charcarita walls.

Street art on Charcarita walls.

Street art on Charcarita walls.

Street art on Charcarita walls.

Artists creating street art on Charcarita walls.

Artists creating street art on Charcarita walls.

 

Artists creating street art on Charcarita walls.

Street art on Charcarita walls.

Street art on Charcarita walls. Tiger-Football player hybrids by Jaz

Street art in Villa Crespo. Jaz's studio

Street art in Villa Crespo. Jaz's studio

Street art in Palermo. Looks like something by Dr. Seuss

Street art in Palermo. Art by Triangulo Dorado

 

Attachments

Images (46)
  • Street art in the Colegiales barrio.
  • Street art in the Colegiales barrio.  Painting by "Jaz"
  • Street art in the Colegiales barrio. This of a "spray painting gaucho": Styled after the famous Napoleon painting
  • Street art in a playground in the Colegiales barrio.
  • Street art in a playground in the Colegiales barrio.
  • Street art on the walls of a power plant in the Colegiales barrio.
  • Street art on the walls of a power plant in the Colegiales barrio.
  • Street art on the walls of a power plant in the Colegiales barrio.
  • Street art on the walls of a power plant in the Colegiales barrio.: Note all the "Radio Taxis".  A cheap and safe way to get around Buenos Aires.
  • Street art on the walls of a power plant in the Colegiales barrio.: This apparently was of a homeless woman and her child who lived nearby
  • Street art on the walls of a power plant in the Colegiales barrio.
  • Street art on the walls of the Colegiales barrio.
  • Street art on the walls of the Colegiales barrio.
  • Street art, in charcoal, on the walls of a power plant in the Colegiales barrio.
  • Stencil art in the Palermo Soho district. On the Fukuro Noodle Bar restaurant
  • Stencil art in the Palermo Soho district. On the Fukuro Noodle Bar restaurant
  • Stencil art in the Palermo Soho district. On the Fukuro Noodle Bar restaurant
  • Stencil art in the Palermo Soho district.
  • Stencil art in the Palermo Soho district.
  • Stencil art in the Palermo Soho district.
  • Street art on Charcarita walls.
  • Street art on Charcarita walls.
  • Street art on Charcarita walls.
  • Street art on Charcarita walls.
  • Street art on Charcarita walls.
  • Street art on Charcarita walls.
  • Artists creating street art on Charcarita walls.
  • Artists creating street art on Charcarita walls.
  • Artists creating street art on Charcarita walls.
  • Artists creating street art on Charcarita walls.
  • Artists creating street art on Charcarita walls.
  • Artists creating street art on Charcarita walls.
  • Artists creating street art on Charcarita walls.
  • Three street artists creating street art on Charcarita walls.
  • Street art on Charcarita walls.
  • Street art on Charcarita walls.  Tiger-Football player hybrids by Jaz
  • Street art on Charcarita walls.  Tiger-Football player hybrids by Jaz
  • Street art in Villa Crespo.  Painting by Ever
  • Street art in Villa Crespo. Jaz's studio
  • Street art in Villa Crespo. Jaz's studio
  • Street art in Villa Crespo. Jaz painting in his studio
  • Street art in Villa Crespo. Jaz painting in his studio
  • Graffitimundo Buenos Aires 2014 129 Villa Crespo Jaz's studio.
  • Street art in Palermo.  Looks like something by Dr. Seuss
  • Street art in Palermo.  Art by Triangulo Dorado
  • Street art in Palermo.  Art by Triangulo Dorado

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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Comments (3)

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Graffiti is always a good way to start a hot conversation, because the line between art and vandalism is so hotly contested, as is some people's comfort level with work that is clearly art, but which confronts their vision both of art and society.

 

That confrontation can be sharp, because street art often comes from people who don't have the resources to take part in the "conventional, comfortable" art world. Ironically, people are now paying huge sums for work by the late Keith Haring, who started out as an "angry vandal."

 

Sometimes it's easier to tell the difference—the last photo in your sequence shows a contrast between the art and the sheer graffiti. As for the "better than a blank wall..." here's an ironic comment I found in Lyon, France:

 

 

 

P1000160

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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  • P1000160
Last edited by DrFumblefinger

Those are all interesting comments, PHeymont.  And I do love the attached photo!  

 

I am not a fan of graffiti, although I love great street art of the type shown in this blog.  But I do recognize the importance of the former as a type of political speech.  For example, in Prague the "John Lennon" wall (see photos below) was an important symbol of the resistance to Soviet Communism.  After the great singer/songwriter was assassinated, graffiti sprang up on one wall in the city mentioning him and his songs of hope, which the communists quickly painted over.  It was there again the next day -- painted over -- there again the next day -- painted over, and so on and so on.  Ultimately the Soviets gave up painting the wall.  The Communists haven't made their way back to Prague yet (though Mr Putin seems headed in that direction), but the wall remains as a symbol of this resistance.  There are dozens of similar anti-Soviet Communism symbols in Prague.

 

In Buenos Aires, most people welcome street art on their walls and outside their businesses.  They are less thrilled with the crude graffiti.  

 

John Lennon Wall Prague 1

John Lennon Wall Prague 2

 

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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Images (2)
  • John Lennon Wall Prague 1
  • John Lennon Wall Prague 2
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