We know everyone is waiting for a safari post and we PROMISE it is in the works…but while we research adjectives, a final art post from Buenos Aires!
One of the highlights of our visit to Buenos Aires was taking a Street Art Tour of the city with BA Street Art. If you’ve been following the blog, you know I’ve been fascinated by city art before (Cuenca, Panama City, Santiago), but we’ve never had a guide along to give us the history and story of what we’re seeing. Well, Ollie, a transplanted New Yorker graffiti artist, certainly opened our eyes!
First off, we learned the difference between “Street Art” and “Graffiti”. Graffiti is basically what we think of as tagging – spray painting (usually) with aerosol cans of names of people or the gangs they are affiliated with. That’s DEFINITELY the most common thing we see in the US. It can be artistic, but graffiti’s focus is on words. Street Art has much more in common with traditional painting, as it can use oils, acrylics, etc. as well as aerosol cans, with the big difference that it is painted outside on buildings, walls, sculptures, etc. Street Art often takes the form of political messages or opinions on society.
Of course it can also just be fun!
BA, it turns out, has become mecca for street artists due to the REALLY lax laws about painting. As long as you aren’t painting on the sides of the new trains (which can run fines up to a few thousand dollars), all you have to do is ok it with the owner of the wall you want to paint and away you go! No neighborhood association rulings here. In fact, quite a few folks try to find artists to paint their walls because if a wall is covered with street art, usually the graffiti artists will respect the art and not tag over it. Well, as long as your art doesn’t support a rival futbol (soccer) team or political party – then you’re just asking for it!
In case you’re wondering:
– most street art paintings seem to take from 8hrs to 3 days or so to complete
– occasionally the building owner will pay the artist some amount (rarely much more than the cost of the paint), but usually it is done at the artist’s expense
– rarely do the building owners have much say in what gets painted! They can ask, but it’s really the artist’s vision.
– rarely will street art get retouched if it gets damaged. The artists accept that their work is relatively transient…quite different from traditional artists who, I think, imagine their work will last and last.
– pretty common for the artists to sign their work and include a contact via email or facebook! It’s a way to get known and to solicit commissions.
– unsurprisingly, much of the street art is found in more developing neighborhoods, but the city has found that the more street art there is, the more folks are drawn to the neighborhoods, so it has had a revitalizing effect! Love that!!!
Now a few more pieces that caught my eye – some on the tour, some we just found wandering.
And there you have it – my final art post from the Americas. Can’t wait to see what Africa brings!