Hola Walls! Buenos Aires Street Art Tour

Street mural of tortoise with ammunition on shell

For a blog called Hello Walls we don’t talk about walls very often.  That would perhaps get a bit niche after a while though I suppose, but these particular walls are pretty darn special.  I  discovered them during my trip to Argentina and Chilelast November when we opted onto a walking tour with Buenos Aires Street Art.

A German, ex-scientist-turned-street artist took us round several residential neighbourhoods to the north west of the city centre.  He introduced our little group to a whole new international community of street artist and muralists.

Buenos Aires Street Art - mural of female head

The city attracts worldwide renowned street artists like Italian, ‘Blu‘, Argentinian artist Martín Ron, and Australian Fintan Magee.

Buenos Aires Street mural of disembodied head against a sky by Martin Ron

We learnt about the etiquette of street art in Buenos Aires.  For example, you should always ask before painting someone’s house wall.  However if you want street art on your house but don’t volunteer to pay, you shouldn’t expect to get a say in the artist’s subject (the peacock mural below was supposed to be a tiger but the owner didn’t cough up…).

Buenos Aires Street Art - Peacock Mural

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There’s also a big difference between street art and graffiti art, and the two do not like to be confused with one another.  There’s a mutual respect in some quarters, but occasionally lines get crossed (see exhibit A below).

Buenos Aires Street Art Tour - Mural of Bull Fighting

I learnt a lot about the intricacies of street art; the different nozzles used, the techniques for shading and texture, and different styles and methods.

I draw like a five year old, and am immensly impressed with anyone who can sketch a half decent human figures, never mind paint one 20 feet high.  I therefore definitely have an appreciation for the amount of effort that goes into planning and executing these murals and the talent behind each art work.

It’s a shame that Banksy’s the only one that’s crossed over into common popular culture in the UK – hopefully word will spread, and they’ll become more valued (although hopefully not to the extent that people chip them off the walls to sell to private bidders).

Buenos Aires Street art of woman with chicken slung on back

The Buenos Aires Street Art Tours run a few times a week and cost a bargainous US$20 (about £13).  I’d wager that’s better value than a number of more ‘traditional’ art galleries, plus you get a healthy walk in the mix.  Apparently there are more of these cropping up in different cities globally, including London, so I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled when I’m next on my travels.

Buenos Aires Street Art - outstretched hand

Buenos Aires Street Art - Mural of a head by Blu

What do you think?  Would you go on a street art tour, or would you prefer to spend time in an art gallery if you had the choice?  Would you ever want one on the side of your house?

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