Following the Street Art of Buenos Aires
The streets of Buenos Aires evoke many images: the men of Once hustling boxes from one street corner to the other, beautiful jacarandas in bloom in the quiet northern barrios, the undeniable charm of sitting in an old cafe on a cobblestoned street of Barracas. But if one thing unites a city of so many personalities, it’s the art that illustrates its walls. The city is a living, breathing art gallery constantly changing exhibits. But the story behind each piece, and the changing face of street art in the city, is a complete mystery to the average viewer. Photographer Arnaud Paillard sets out to discover some of those stories.
The Artist at Home
During those cold winter months, many artists retreat indoors. Cabaio takes up residency in Galería Unión, a San Telmo art gallery dedicated to urban artists. Cabaio is known little outside of the street art community as he doesn’t sign his works, but you have probably seen his colorful stenciled works around the city. The spray cans that litter the gallery before an exhibit isn’t much different than the bare apartments of many artists, where furniture is valued less than canvases, cans and wall to wall artwork.
The Artist in the Street
Old works define blocks, like the Che ‘gay’ vara (top), a piece that has been encouraging people to wrap it up for the last twenty years. Newer works like Lapiz’ stencils (middle) challenge the traditions – stencil work was created in order to quickly tag walls, Lapiz’ intricate, multi-layered pieces are a paradox to the old standard. Jaz’ meditations (bottom) on the Barra Brava can be seen all over the city – he often paints dual characters in permanent fighting positions covered in black bars as if to separate them from the environment.
The Artist at Work
Street art has become such an accepted part of the city’s make-up that artists are often commissioned to do work both by the local government, local businesses and homeowners. In Coghlan (top), a freeway project in the 1980s prompted the building of warehouses which were eventually abandoned. The city government hired Martin Ron to help redefine the neighborhood. Local businesses hope that a little bit of onda on the wall will attract more business, like this Rimbaud piece (middle) by German artist Lapiz. Mart, in a wider collaboration with Corona and Maese Warrior, painted a series of bicycle murals (below), commissioned by construction supplier Sullair as part of the effort to turn Barracas into the new center for design.
Want more? Join us for the Street Art Walk through the Colegiales and Palermo neighborhoods, offered every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoon.