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Buenos Aires Tour | September,01 2014

Exploring Buenos Aire's Street Art

Exploring Buenos Aire's Street Art

Even if you only have a casual interest in Street Art, this tour will open your eyes and invite you into a world that most of us have never experienced. Travelling through some of BA's lesser explored areas, you will be led on trains, through alleyways, plaza's and parks, stopping to admire some of the local and international graffiti works found in the city. You will also examine the techniques, ideas and practices that have gone into making BA one of the Street Art capitals of the world.

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 On a lazy springtime Thursday I set out to meet up with a group to explore some of the Buenos Aire's street art scene. A scene which has grown so strong it leads the way over such cities as London and New York.  Not knowing what to expect from walking around looking at graffiti, I was surprised by how the tour dove into the culture, experience and practice of Street Art. Since doing the tour I now pause to look at street art, where as once I would have just walked on by.

The purpose of the Buenos Aires Street Art Tour is to explain the essence of Street Art by combining elements of international street art and renowned artists, with the unique local conditions of Buenos Aires.  As Matt, our English speaking guide from Shoreditch, London explains, "This tour is constantly changing,  and evolving. The inherent nature of street art is that it's ephemeral, and what may well be there one day, probably won't be there the next".

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We all met in a café near the train station 'Colegiales', and right away realised this isn't going to be a regular tour. The café itself is setup like a scene straight out of 'Human Traffic'. Walking outside it was explained to us that to see the really good stuff, you have to get outside the inner city because around the touristy areas the walls do not allow for what is required to develop the art. You instantly realise that you are about to receive an opportunity to see parts of Buenos Aires that most visitors do not get to explore. Leaving the comfort zone of the tourist areas you feel safe in the more than capable hands of your guide, so there was never any feeling of danger.

The first stop was to see a wall painted by two local artists and here it was explained that the police have a fairly liberal view of art in BA, and unless it's blatant vandalism, the cops will more than likely look the other way. Moving round the corner, the different techniques of painting were identified and explained, along with the art of stenciling which is also popular in BA. You also get insight into the secret battles between some of the artists, whereby one will paint over the others work, before the other retaliates by doing the same.

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It is also weird that most of this art just pops up all over the place without anyone seeing it happen. In a distorted sort of way, these guys are akin to superheroes, the work is there for all to see, but no one knows who is doing it.  This particular day we were lucky enough to be spotted by one of the local artists, who knew our guide and he was kind enough to have a chat to us about his stenciling. One superhero unmasked!

Next we went to check-out the piece de resistance of BA Street Art, the works by Italian graffiti superhero, BLU. His large format works have inspired a generation, and gained the accolades of the local government, whom in a dash of craziness, erected large and generally uninspiring sculptures in front of the one of his main pieces. The group then wound its way along the train tracks to a massive park which was once the site of a Street Art exhibition. Some exemplary six storey high works are in place, but it's the stories of how and why they were done that makes the tour, and the passion of how the guide explains the art is infectious.

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By now we've walked and talked for near two and a half hours, and although the time just melted away, the strain on the legs start the flare and the yearning for a beverage starts to become palpable.  Luckily the tour winds-up in Palermo, which is BA's trendy area. We finish at the 'NYC' which is a Street Art venue that serves up cold beers and snacks. It is here we are told there are plans in the near future for there to be a permanent exhibition of local artists in the area , but as our guide reminded us again, "in Street Art, things change", so fingers cross they complete the project.

Tour Details

Run by: Buenos Aires Street Art Tour
Price: $20 USD
Departure Time: 2.30pm, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Included: Train ticket if required, spray cans and stencils for the artist in all of us.
Not included: There is no food or drinks provided on this tour, however the tour ends in Palermo, at a trendy street art bar which has great food and/or beer.

For more information and contact check-out this website: http://buenosairesstreetart.com/contact/

Article by Glen Boevink

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