Buenos Aires Graffiti Culture and Tour.
Jaz, Chu, Roma, Nerf, Banksy, PumPum, Zumi, Pastel. I am not going crazy. These are all names of famous graffiti artists in Buenos Aires, and I had the opportunity to learn all about them on my bicycle tour with GraffitiMundo.
After living in Buenos Aires for 4 months, the unexpected joy is the lively graffiti art available everywhere. The graffiti is not simply tags everywhere but the Graffiti covers entire sides of buildings, the walls surrounding parks, and on the facades of houses. The graffiti is lively, playful, and embraced by the City. It is always there to brighten up the walls and the walks when exploring the city. On one building there is a dainty blue panda bear sniffing a pink tulip under a tree of raindrops, and around the corner are two wrestlers embracing the midst of a fight. You never know what you will see around the next corner.
After doing some research, I came across GraffitiMundo’s city graffiti tours- In ENGLISH. I opted for the bicycle tour because what is better than mixing a thought provoking day of art and the pleasure of a casual bike ride on a beautifully sunny Buenos Aires Sunday? The answer is nothing. So off I went.
The tour started at Vamos Spanish school on Coronol Diaz, which turns out – is only 10 blocks from my apartment. Perfect start to the day. I get there, with bikes lined up, and everybody slowly clustering – I get excited for what I am about to experience. We have 2 guides and a guide in Training with us because we had a “large group”. I had secured the last spot on the tour.
We bike down streets with special bike paths, including Ave Gorriti, and stop along the way when graffiti appears, bright colour, and HUGE on a building wall.
The guides were extremely friendly, and very knowledgeable about the history of Graffiti in Buenos Aires, the specific styles of Art, the art influences, and the individual artists themselves. They were always entertaining, and very keen to answer any questions the group had. She explained that the fundamental difference with the street art scene in Buenos Aires is the implicit co-operation of the police, who rarely hassle artists. And artists usually spend up to 3 days creating one piece of art. Graffiti art is not something that happens in the dark hours of the night by punk kids, quickly stenciling their name. No, it is encouraged, embraced, and opening painted on walls.
My favourite explanation was how the Graffiti artists work together to incorporate their artwork together on walls. In the photo above you can see how the Red line crosses the entire wall and the pink across the top. The Toxic Wedding flows nicely into the blue/yellow faces with the black/white stenciled boy in the centre. Everything is all nicely merged together so all art is showcased and there is no need to paint over the older artwork.
Graffiti Spotting Locations
The city of Buenos Aires even embraces the Graffiti Culture allowing it to flourish by having the Graffiti Artists paint public parks and spaces purposely to deter Tagging and to create a positive, welcoming atmosphere for residents. At one park in particular, Plazoleta Zinny (4158 Gorritti), The City welcomed the artists, to brighten up the park, deter taggers, and to help eliminate danger in the park. Now the park is bright, beautiful, and families and kids have returned to the park which improved the neighbourhood.
One of the best destinations on the tour was the bus terminal located at the triangular cross roads of Fitz Roy, Castillo, and Dr. Benjamin Canard in Chacarita Barrio (neighbourhood). The entire area showcases many different artists work, on all walls, houses, and polls. It was the epicentre of creativity and collaboration.
To start your exploration of Graffiti in Buenos Aires – you should start in the Barrios of Palermo, Villa Crespo and San Telmo, which have the greatest concentration of work. Some specific destinations in those areas as well as a few outside are listed below:
- Gorriti & Gascon
- Subte Line A Stations Carabobo & Puan
- Hospital de los Ninos – Sanchez de Bustamente 1400
- Cramer & Jorge Newberry
- Holberg & Rivera
- Plazoleta Miguel Abuelo
- Jorge Newberry & Zapiola
- Suarez & Garibaldi
- Hollywood in Cambodia (Thames 1885)
- Gachi Prieto (Uriate 1976)
- Planeta Cubico (Thames 2145)
- Galeria Bond Street (Santa Fe 1670)
- Jardin Oculto (Venezuelz 926)
- Wussman (Venezuela 574)
- Ups Gallery (Santa Fe 2729)
- Galeria Mar Dulce (Uriate 1490)
- Espacio 6.0 (Gurruchaga 1285)
I would still advise going on a tour because the information they provide is incredible and you will get the up-to-date information on the artists and even get the opportunity to visit a gallery and maybe even an artist where you can buy art at affordable prices!
Happy Graffiti Hunting!