Back peddling a few steps - I realized I never really blogged about Buenos Aires! As it is a pseudo home base for me on this trip, I will be returning before I return to the states - meaning, there will be more to come. However, before I forget about this wonderful experience, here are some images from my favorite experience in Argentina thus far:
Graffitimundo offers a very comprehensive and interactive tour of the street art of Buenos Aires. Unfortunately the weather had turned mighty cold after we met, and most of the tour (obviously) is outside. However, we were brought to different neighborhoods all over the city that had some amazing art on their walls.
This is an example of the oh so present collaborative projects on the walls of Bs As. My new favorite street artist, JAZ, did the animals, his frequent collaborator, Ever, did the bottom of the face, and a visiting street artist (I believe from Korea? I missed that part of the story) did the top of the face.
In Bs As, graffiti/street art is illegal. However, the authorities aren't going to arrest someone with a spray paint can. If you own the wall that's being painted, and you have a problem with it, you are free to press charges. What most people have done, is sought out these artists for site specific murals. So there's actually a chance for a lucrative career and fame through street art. The above wall had just been painted white, and we had the pleasure of seeing it in progress.Above, again, is a collaborative wall. The large smiley face was made by an artist who filled a fire extinguisher with black paint and aimed it from across the street.
This is JAZ and Ever again - the story behind the walls used is very interesting. The Argentine government will let someone squat in an empty building, legally, if there is someone who is sick, old, or under 18. As our tour guide explained, by the time the youngest child would turn 18, they would most likely have a child, so, legally, families can continue to live in abandoned/empty buildings forever. Some land owners, upset by this, and instead of fixing up the property or rebuilding, will demolish the building and leave the rubble in its place so no one can live in it. This is precisely the case with the above scene. The wall in the foreground with the posters on it is the outside wall, the wall with the street art would be the interior of the building. The rubble lies in between. The tour guide said that when JAZ and Ever came out to paint, the neighborhood came out and cheered, showing their support.
And finally, the highlight of the tour. The best thing about these street artists being known in the city is that we got to meet them. (!!!!!) JAZ let us into his amazing studio and answered any questions we had. His english was very good, and so I got to chat with him a bit. He is so humble and ... well, normal. The piece he was working on (you can see it on the bottom of the photo, laying flat) was just drying. He mentioned it was a commissioned piece, so I asked him where it was going - Shanghai. Yes, this guy is known. And chatted with me about painting. Star. Struck. And I want that studio - amazing.
I took about 300 more pictures, as all the art was fantastic, and it was really great to get to see and learn the story behind the pieces and artists. Makes me wonder, if these public art forms were more embraced around the world, what amazing things we could see! However, if it's not rebelling, would there be a need for it anymore? Hmmmm.....