During our first day in Buenos Aires, we took a guided tour of its street art that was run by Graffitimundo, a 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.
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.
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).
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.
While in Chacarita we got to see three young artists working on the creation of a lovely piece of street art. 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:
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 included in the slide show — the one of Chairman Mao with beams coming from his eyes), but both artists have a distinctive style and both were very pleasant people. I thank them for being so hospitable to us and for letting us see how they work.
Besides 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.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)