One of the reasons I throw myself into writing this blog is because it’s one of the only creative hobbies I have. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be able to sculpt vases around a potter’s wheel, paint Alpine scenes in water-colour or embroider gilded flowers onto ethnic fabrics but art and crafts were never my forte and my high school grades were suitably reflective!Viewing art was equally a pickle. I never felt knowledgeable enough to debate the significance of the works of Botticelli, nor could I comprehend how a red splodge inside a wooden frame could be defined as modern art. As simplistic and naive as it sounds, I’m drawn to art that is colourful, vibrant and invokes a surge of emotion in me.
Street art constitutes all of these things and Buenos Aires is not the only world city sprawling with it. My little old hometown of London is another but I just hadn’t registered that until a food tour in East London earlier this year, where I discovered some of the artistic talent hiding on London’s walls.
The Buenos Aires Street Art Walking Tour
With our trip to Argentina looming, we were eagerly curious to discover more of Argentina’s street art scene on the Buenos Aires Street Art Tour. Far from being a local Argentine street artist, our guide was of German origin with a background in immunology, who has resided all over the world. Perhaps it was these eclectic global influences that propelled his passion for street art and he provided a riveting and interactive walking tour, pointing out the talented works from both prominent and lesser known local artists, talking about Argentina’s street art scene, educating us about what distinguishes street art from graffiti and even showed us one of his own masterpieces.In many parts of the world, street artists’ ability to express themselves is somewhat limited by legal aspects, risk of criminal charges and societal taboos. Technically, it isn’t legal in Argentina but their stance is relaxed with major political parties even going as far as commissioning street artists to concoct propaganda artworks for them, their liberal philosophy attracting passionate street artists from all over the world.
Argentina is also the country of origin of some of the world’s most eminent artists including the highly respected Martin Ron, which made it all the more inspiring to see his authentic works on the walls of his home nation.
The diverse range of art work on display reflected the variety of dynamic and subdued paintings, modern and more conventional, political and fantastical. The quirky little half cow, half hamburger (depending on which angle you happen to be standing at) was one of the finer details pointed out to us.And my favourite piece? It’s a toughie but I’d have to choose between the passionate brass musician (it’s hard to believe it wasn’t an actual portrait) and I love the blues and purple that predominate, reminiscent of the jazz and blues scene in which he would be performing. And if not, the lady hidden beneath a tree branch, swathed in candy pink, a colourful dreamer – I know not what she is so pensive about but it had the fairytale factor that I’m always a sucker for. This relaxed tour is also a great way to discover some of the lesser known neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires particularly if you are there just for a few days and want to do a completely unique type of tour. Even if you don’t consider yourself an art-lover, you may just find this to be a fascinating and insightful medium through which to view a bustling city.
–Tours usually last between 2-3 hours and cost approx 20 USD per head
– English and Spanish-speaking guides are available (our group was mixed so the translation required increased the duration slightly)
– The walk is relaxed but bring comfy shoes and a bottle of water if you’re going in warmer weather.
– Keep your cameras charged – the tour is a photographer’s treasure chest!
– In this post, I’ve tried to refrain from photo edits and filters – it was less about me showing off my photoshop skills and more about revealing the Buenos Aires street art scene as we saw it that day and giving you a flavour of what to expect if you ever take the walk yourself.
Where in the world have you spotted street art?