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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Etsy Picks: Spring Blossom

ETSY-Spring-Blossom

 

An Etsy collection celebrating the springtime garden (with UK friendly postage)

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Art Purchase: A Fantastical Street Scene by Stuart Hirst

When it comes to interior accessories I have a definite preference for bold colour, geometric patterns and I’m always attracted to furniture with clean, simple lines. My choice of rug for the hallway and my bathroom tiles are just two examples of this, it probably also explains my obsession with Scandinavian design too.

However, my taste in art doesn’t abide by the same rules. And my favourite piece, a print by Bradford artist Stuart Hirst, is a good example of this.

stuart hirst upper fanny street

It’s belongs to Hirst’s ‘Street Life’ collection, a series of fantastical depictions of life above ground level and behind lace curtains. I absolutely adore it – everytime you glance something different pops out. A couple getting amorous behind a half closed curtain, a family of Sikhs, a rabbit in the window or the claret and amber colour of the awning belonging to the shop below (one for you Bradford City fans). I know the exact reason of it’s appeal too – it satisfies my nosy neighbour tendencies….

This partcicular piece is titled ‘Upper Fanny Street’ which, come on admit it, is a name that makes even the most grown-up of us snigger. But for those of us who are familiar with Saltaire (the place I’d guess this is loosely set) it will perhaps resonate a little more. My Grandma (Holland) used to live in Saltaire, number 44 Mary Street to be precise and further along there is an Upper Mary Street. There is also a Fanny Street, but whether it was foresight or luck there is no Upper Fanny Street. Until now that is.

Now it hangs comfortably above my armchair in the living room. And all the better for not conforming to my typically graphic tastes.

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Picture This: Affordable Scandinavian Art

I love Scandinavia. And every so often I like to be reminded of the place that I’ve visited often and always admired. Much like your favourite holiday snaps, posters and prints that depict or are at least inspired by Scandinavia become like little windows into this part of the world. Reminders of a trip, a feeling or just simply an aesthetic appreciation of good design.

I already have the Swedish Alphabet Ikea poster (which unfortunately no longer seems to be available). A Wonderful Copenhagen poster and most recently my brother came up trumps and bought me Olle Eksell’s Stockholm palace picture (number 9). And after the research for this post, I think my collection may grow some more…

 

 

Scandi-style-posters

1. Scandinavian Picknick,  £25  2. Scandinavian Mammals, £18.95, 3. Pk3 poster, €17 4. Owl poster, £18.95 5.Retro Kitchen Cooking Pots £10.53, 6. Moomin art print £7.99  7. FIKA poster £24.77 8. Fly to Copenhagen £18.95  9. Stockholm Palace poster £40 10. Little Red Riding Hood Scandinavian print £25

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Art Purchase – Marco Crivello’s Wild Landscapes

Painting - Morning mist by Marco Criv

One of the frustrating things about rented flat living is having to limit what you hang on the walls for fear of upsetting your landlord by accidentally taking hunks out of the plasterwork. When we bought  our own place, I was thrilled to finally have free rein to ram nails into the wall to my heart’s content. Rent deposit? What rent deposit!

Well,  I didn’t actually drive nails into the wall at random (I don’t think it would be advisable unless you were going for the ‘unhinged artist’ look) but I did have visions of going out and finally being able to buy proper artwork to hang in our home.

Sadly, proper artwork comes with a ‘proper’ price tag, and it’s a cruel irony that when you finally reach the stage where you have your very own walls to do with what you will, you tend to realise that solicitors/surveyors have run away with any additional funds you might have had to support your artistic vision.

As the months ticked by there always seemed to be something more important on the list for us to spend money on – it turns out that a fridge, a working oven and seating are quite essential. So our walls were still bare a full two years after we’d moved in.

Living room with landscape picture by Marco Crivello

Finally this year, we were able to splurge on a couple of pieces, and I bought this limited edition print ‘Morning Mist’ by Marco Crivello   He paints with oils and gold leaf on wood panel which creates beautiful depth of colour. My dad reckons I’ve inherited my mum’s taste for ‘depressing landscapes’ but I love the dark, dramatic hills flecked with gold and mist clinging to the valleys.  His abstract style, with an absence of manmade structures, almost makes me think of earth in prehistoric  times.

His new series is called ‘Atlantic light’ and if I were to ever win the lottery I think I’d buy the whole set.  Here’s one of my favourites:

MarcoCrivello_Atmosphere_Atlantic_Light_6

Though we would have loved an original (a bit out of our price range at the moment), the prints come on beautiful quality paper and look amazing when float mounted (ie. framed so you can see the raw edges of the paper).   You can see more of his work on his website and make enquiries about purchasing through the Four Square Fine Arts gallery site.

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Venice: 10 Foodie / Artsy Highlights

Venice rooftops4

Do you remember the post where I sang the praises of Air BnB?  Well they came out on top again on our visit to Venice last month.

Above was the view from the little studio apartment we stayed in, in Venice. It’s so bizarre to be in a city and have an uninterrupted vista over the rooftops of old buildings. In most cities you at least see a peek of some unfortunate 1960’s concrete monstrosity, but Venice is like a city suspended in time (and logic).

I was fascinated by the practicalities of everyday life there, and staying in a building with other local (and very friendly) residents really brought it home. There are no dustbin lorries (refuse trucks) for example, so all rubbish has to be collected daily, hand carted though the streets and then transferred onto barges to be whisked away to the mainland. Deliveries to shops and restaurants all have to be offloaded off the boats and carried up the narrow windy streets and alleyways, and we even wandered past the hospital which had a fleet of water ambulances outside (not sure I’d fancy one of those collecting me if I were ill though!)

The pay off to all that effort from the locals is obviously the famous picture-perfect bridges, canals and car free streets, which didn’t disappoint.  We spent hours exploring and did a standard amount of the ‘big name’ tourist sights, but the best bits were the random back street wanderings and smaller exhibitions / concerts.

10 of the best under the cut… Read More

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