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Dogma-Busting Doma Collective Puts On Playfully Dystopian Exhibition at CCR

The Buenos Aires team is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the arresting show Naturaleza Muerta, on until September 14th at Centro Cultural Recoleta.

The Doma duo, comprised of Julián Manzelli and Orilo Blandini, has done it again. Ever since its founding in 1998, Doma’s work has been about hijacking semiotics. Cleverly abrasive, they have criticized modern society by resignifying everything from traffic signs to confession booths and stuffed animals since their beginnings in the public realm. To this day, Doma insists on bulldozing the concept of corporate commercial politics as the “only possible way”, as they put it. This time around, they’ve adapted their analysis to the scourge du jour, putting big data, antidepressants, crossfit, and teenage prosumer porn under the magnifying glass.

The show can be visited at Sala Cronopios, Centro Cultural Recoleta.
The show can be visited at Sala Cronopios, Centro Cultural Recoleta in Buenos Aires.

“The setup of the exhibition can be seen like a main square, complete with its monument, tower, kids’ park and fountain. Our work has always been about bringing the exterior space indoors and taking the museum space out to the streets,” Julián Manzelli—aka Chu, one of the four original founders of Doma—explains.

Artwork Details / "The Politicians" - Wooden Sculpture.
Artwork Details / “The Politicians” – Wooden Sculpture. Photo by Paz Rodríguez.

In a thought-provoking yet approachable show comprised of 16 installations, Doma has composed a story that will carry you on a stroll through a 4-meter-deep coffin, down a red carpet AK47 shootout and have you exiting through guilt-cleaning car wash rollers. Naturaleza Muerta —“Still Life” in English—revisits hyper-consumerist society in a 2018 light. Screens have colonized our ecosystem, and Manzelli and Blandini dissect the mechanisms of a world that has evolved into existing solely through its representation: “Society, in its first contact with new technologies, is like an adolescent experimenting alcohol and drugs with no concept of moderation or understanding of their true potential”, they explain in the show’s accompanying booklet, a manifesto in itself.

Artwork Detail / "Muñeco de Apego" - Installation of seven articulated dolls.
Artwork Detail / “Muñeco de Apego” – Installation of seven articulated dolls. Photo by Martina Mordau.
Artwork Detail / "Muñeco de Apego" - Installation of seven articulated dolls. Photo by Martina Mordau
Artwork Detail / “Muñeco de Apego” – Installation of seven articulated dolls. Photo by Martina Mordau.

The collaborative spirit

A team of around 40 contributors has participated in the show’s conception, bringing in their expertise on everything from electronics to plumbing, lathing, sculpting, pattern making, woodwork, metal and more. This collective and multifaceted spirit is an enduring characteristic of the creative duo’s body of work. “That has a lot to do with our origins as artists from FADU, which trains all-round design artists who can create a bit of everything, like a South American Bauhaus,” Manzelli points out, referring to his alma mater, the Architecture, Design and Urbanism School of the University of Buenos Aires.

Artwork Detail "Scroll" - kinetic sculpture.
Artwork Detail “Scroll” – Kinetic sculpture. Photo by Julián Manzelli.

The free creative spirit

Tacitly activist, critical but not pessimistic, interior and exterior, summarizing Doma’s 16-piece show, housed in the Cronopios room of Centro Cultural Recoleta, is a difficult task.

Artwork Detail / "Fountain of Life", installation of 7 articulated dolls
Artwork Detail / “Fountain of Life”, installation of 7 articulated dolls. Photo by Martina Mordau.

“We don’t care about tags. Doma has a foot here and there, we don’t belong to a precise category. You can see it as contemporary art, street art, visual arts, it’s all the same to us“, Manzelli replies when asked where the collective stands in the art nomenclature. Breaking the rules of representation and spatial environment, and planting questions rather than answers is what this group is about.

Artwork Detail "Welcome" - Participative Installation. Photo by Martina Mordau.
Artwork Detail “Welcome” – Participative Installation. Photo by Martina Mordau.

“We need to remove the mask from the ideology bombarded at us every day with every advertisement, every influence and object they want us to consume”, Doma states in the manifesto of Naturaleza Muerta. With this goal in mind, the collective is sure to be active for another 20 years.

For more Information on the show:
The show can be visited Tuesday to Friday from 1.30 to 10pm. Sat, Sun and holidays from 11.15am to 10pm at Sala Cronopios, Centro Cultural Recoleta. Junín 1930, Buenos Aires.
Free Admission
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#domaenelRecoleta
@domacollective
www.doma.tv

By Myriam Selhi 

 

[INTERVIEW] DEFI GAGLIARDO and the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance

Ahead of his upcoming solo exhibition, RAW, in Galeria UNION, we spoke to Defi Gagliardo about his new body of work, the influence of the past year and some of his exciting upcoming projects.

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It’s always a good time for a show. But you don’t always get the results you expect, on a personal level anyway. In this particular expo I start a new stage, which I have been developing for a few years now.

RAW has to do with the aesthetic description of the work, the colors and composition, and the subtitle “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance” is more conceptual; it encompasses a broader meaning than just this show and has to do, on a whole, with my career as an artist.

I have never really cared about the art world, it’s something I accidentally cross paths with. I think that’s part of my ignorance.

I think the relationship between my beginnings and my present is the constancy of movement. If you look at the chronology of my work from the first to the last, you will notice a slow but very marked change. There is conceptual change, a long process that goes from chaos to ordered chaos. The colors are contained, as are the shapes. Imagine the typical drawing of the creation of the continent where parts of the mass are separated, well, mine is the reverse.

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Untitled / Mixed media with 3v light / 26 x 26 x 9cm

Generally, music makes me think a lot. Out of that come ideas for my paintings or some other work. But the same thing happens to me when I paint as well. My music studio and my workshop are always close to each other, which allows me to go back and forth between the two.

As graphic designer I would say that Dadaism and Futurism had a strong impact on me. The vanguards, Malevich’s Suprematism. Nowadays some of my favorite artists are Lolo i Sosaku, Momo, Mark Jenkins, and Koen Delaere, among others.

The abstract works have developed alongside my years of work and research, it was a process, a lifestyle that led me to see the colors, shapes and composition in a different way. Abstract work seems easier to digest and live with every day. When I started painting around the year 2000, my paintings had a different vibe than they do now. They had another mood. They were pictures that you could hang in meeting rooms or museums, that is to say, people would look at them for a few minutes, they had a lot of presence, they generated tension. They were not paintings for houses, I realized that when I started with abstraction. The tension became more comfortable, I began to try to achieve a balance.

I started off with the cats, painting them on the street around 2000 also, and then I painted them in pictures. The cats never really left, they just took a break from the street, they were a little bit frightened of the trend and jumped into the fire.

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Untitled / Mixed media on wood / 27 x 32cm

My creative process has changed for this show, I started designing my pictures and not just spitting them out. I started to think from the white and not from the colour blocks. I learned how to handle the beast. It made me tackle the exhibition from another perspective, now I’m trying to achieve a show that isn’t visually loud but rather works in your head. Before I tried to make the work impactful on the first view, I put it right in front of the viewer, but now it’s something I try to incorporate into the work instead.

I began the year with a residency in Oqubo, Alicante for a month, in the middle of the country, and it was there that I began to define this new stage of work. It was totally experimental and unpretentious, and I let go of my old ideas. For two weeks I didn’t paint, I was just thinking and connecting with the beautiful place. In the last two weeks, I painted a series of canvases that were the real beginnings of this new phase. Once I got back to Buenos Aires, I started preparing an expo for the Chien Noir gallery. That’s where I started my new body of work. 

I’m really excited to have left the city center of Buenos Aires, and that’s the most important thing about my new project, which will involve inviting people to my studio. Now I live out at a house in the province where I have my workshop, my music studio, and soon a small restaurant. I studied cooking at the same time as graphic design. And when I started to paint, I also began to produce music. So everything is related. I want to invite people to eat in my house, to cook for people and have them dine in my studio.

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“50-50″ / Acrylic on canvas / 140 x 280cm

Catalogue of works by HIC Crüe

HIC Crüe is a legendary Argentine street art collective composed of BsAsStencil, Rundontwalk, Malatesta, Tester Mariano, y Stencil Land. Together they founded Hollywood in Cambodia, the only artist-run street art gallery in the country. Their new exhibition “Fuimos Todos” comes on the heels of the gallery’s tenth anniversary, and is an ode in practice to a decade of the group’s collaborative work on and off the streets.

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“Fuimos Todos” is a celebration of the collective as a creative concept, something which captures a fundamental element of the nature of urban art. To prepare for this, their third group show, the artists converted their own gallery into a studio and undertook production as a cooperative process between all 6 members.

The entire collection is composed of images culled from archival material compiled by members of the group, including an eccentric mix of comic books and cooking periodicals, old magazines and advertisements. The resulting works are layered with nostalgic imagery, playful ad subversion and historic reference.

Photo for blog post

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As part of the show, the artists created a mural in situ, depicting a solemn man standing with his back to a painted wall, facing a group of uniformed men lined up in a firing squad. The mural was inspired by an illustration by Carlos Vogt entitled “Un hombre llamado humanidad” (A man called humanity) from a comic published in 1975 the magazine Skorpio.

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The exhibition features 34 artworks created with mixed media on wood, in small and medium formats. Download the full catalogue of artworks here.
We ship internationally. For inquiries write to us at info@galeriaunion.com.

You can also check out an interview we did with HIC Crüe on our blog here.

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Photos by Catalina Romero

The magic is still intact: 10 years of Hollywood in Cambodia Crüe

We caught up with HIC Crüe in advance of their new exhibition “Fuimos Todos”, which is up at Gallery UNION from December 5 – February 3.

The collective behind the legendary street art gallery Hollywood in Cambodia, HIC is composed of BsAsStencil, Malatesta, RunDon’tWalk, Stencil Land and Tester Mariano. This exhibition comes on the heels of HIC´s 10th anniversary, and is an ode in practice to a decade of collaborative work.

“Fuimos Todos” is a celebration of the collective as a creative concept; something which captures a fundamental element of the nature of urban art, and the ethos at the very heart of this inimitable collective.

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Artwork detail / “Fuimos Todos”

Malatesta: I feel like being part of HIC is like being in a band.  You can go out to paint alone, no problem: I can have a guitar in my house and spend all day playing, putting the volume up to 11, jamming. But it’s totally different when you get together with your friend Tester who plays the bass, and your friend GG who plays the drums.

GG: It’s worse, because we all play the guitar. We get along because we do the same thing.

Malatesta: The individual acts in function of the group, which becomes a collective core of truth. All members share the same idea, the same tools; each has his own role but serves a larger design. Like a transformer.

NN: Voltron.

GG: Painting like that makes you step outside of yourself, no matter whether what you’re doing is on the wall or on a canvas.

NN: It’s like the dissolution of an ego into a greater whole.

Tester: It’s because of the fact that it’s shared. It’s not like “I painted this, this is mine”.

Malatesta: It’s the same thing that happens when you paint in the street. Once you put it on a wall, it’s not yours anymore.

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Mural by RunDon’tWalk & Tester Mariano / Buenos Aires

Talking through the walls

Malatesta: The great thing about us starting out was the spontaneity of the walls. I recognised their [other HIC members’] graffitis even before I met them in person.

Tester: We met through painting in different lapses of time; one person one night, another person another night. It was a truly collaborative way of working.

NN: Yes, that was the dialogue. There are some walls that I have a lot of affection for, for that reason, because of how they took shape over time. They were in constant development and later I found out that loads of people I know had painted there [where we all went]. It was cool how, seeing the walls, you could really feel the presence of the entire group of people that had created them.

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Photo: Emilio Petersen
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Photo: Emilio Petersen

Painting Outdoors vs. Indoors

NN: Before we knew each other we were already working together without knowing it.  We were painting side by side, but at different moments, on walls in the street. That philosophy of doing something without covering over someone else’s work, which is so classic in graffiti, is what saved it from becoming typical. There is a Greek word, “palimpsest”, that refers to reusing the same surface over and over, thereby creating layers upon layers of writing. For me, it’s great to keep putting up new stuff in the street but it annoys me when those “time collages”, which I’m so fond of, get covered over. 

GG: That’s how we started painting in the street, and that’s why, when we started painting indoors, we had a different relationship with the artwork from a person who, from day one, paints an artwork and sees it as sacred, untouchable. We’re used to the ways of the streets, so it’s common to paint on a wall one day and then the next see that a friend of yours has come along to paint something else.

Painting in anonymity

GG: Nowadays a lot of people paint to make a name for themselves. And if I were starting out today, maybe I would sign [my murals] to let people know that it was me who did it. But at the beginning it was about the game of going out to paint, not about painting to gain recognition. After all, what would have been the point of that?  Who was going to recognise you?  The other four people who painted with you?  Today the recognition makes sense because you do exhibitions, you sell work, people fly you around to paint. But when we started painting there was none of that, so what was the purpose of knowing your name if there was no market for what you were doing?

Malatesta: What’s more, we were more afraid than anything else to sign our names.

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Mural by RunDon’tWalk and Stencil Land / Buenos Aires
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Mural by BsAsStencil / Buenos Aires

10 Years

GG: What do we think of making it to ten years? Here’s to ten more?!

Tester: No one considered having this space for ten years. I didn’t think we would last three months!  

GG: The people that have come through and exhibited in HIC make you feel that they’re part of this in a way that’s bigger than just the six of us. And that’s good because that’s what we wanted it to be: Let the gallery be a place where everyone feels like they belong. It’s a place where the movement has happened rather than just the individual exhibitions of each artist. People appreciate us and they appreciate the space. And if we weren’t having fun, we wouldn’t do it, not for a second!

NN: You know the first thing we called ourselves when we opened was a “Gallery of Images” because we didn’t want to commit to “Urban Art”.  Half of the artists invited to participate in the very first exhibition didn’t paint in the streets. It wasn’t required.

Tester: The space was always open and was never too orthodox. There are six of us and we have to agree, more or less. In turn, the space really belongs to everyone.

 

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Artwork detail / “Fuimos Todos”

“It was all of us”

GG: HIC’s tenth anniversary just happened to coincide with the arrangement we had with UNION to do the show, and it was the perfect excuse to get us all together.  I think the only thing that has changed since we met is that we’ve become better friends. We know each other better, we’re older, we’ve got bigger bellies. But that’s about it. We haven’t painted together for a long time (since the Toco Madera show in Kosovo gallery, 2012), but when we start painting together again you realize that it’s like riding a bike.

Malatesta: The magic is still intact.

GG: While the creative process is the same, perhaps what has changed is that everyone now has developed their own style. We already know who to count on for specific things, in terms of composition or colors, and at the end you just go on blind faith. There’s also a shared background: We’ve done a lot of things that have always, in our opinion, gone well. I can get angry and start kicking, but I fully trust these guys.

Tester: The important thing is that we are 6 guys who think differently but …it comes together into something good, and that’s fun for us.

GG: What happens with us as a group is that we don’t overthink things. We don’t look forwards or backwards. I think that’s why we’ve lasted so long. It’s always been day to day, show to show, and almost without realising it, and without planning it, we got to where we are.

Malatesta: The best way to celebrate is by painting together.

NN: Any excuse to get together is good for us.

GG: We have stayed tied to the mast. One of the things that I like most is that after ten years we’re still doing everything like we did the very first day.

NN: We haven’t learned anything!

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Artwork detail / “Fuimos Todos”

Catalogue of Artworks by Pedro Perelman

“Origen” is the new exhibition by Pedro Perelman in UNION Gallery. This new collection features small and medium-format original artworks on canvas and in wood sculpture. In Origen Perelman transcends the ethnic diversities of his protagonists to look deeper into his origins as an artist. This exhibition represents one more step in the artist’s multi-faceted creative career, which has taken shape over the last 15 years.

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Exhibition in UNION Gallery
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“Ramón, Robot Proletario” / Wood sculpture / 80 x 60 x 35cm

Pedro Perelman is a member of FASE, a multi-disciplinary art, music and design collective which formed in Buenos Aires in 2000. Working with other artists, they pioneered the city’s street art scene.

Perelman’s works, from large-scale murals to smaller format gallery works, are marked by their experimental character and graphic quality and display a careful balance between organic and geometric forms.

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Iguales pero Distintos (Diptych) / Acrylic on canvas / 100 x 70cm each

The exhibition is on display in UNION Gallery until November 21st.
Be sure to check out the interview we did with the artist, where he talks about the inspiration for his latest works, his journey as an artist and his passion for teaching.

View and download the full catalogue of artworks from Origen here.

We ship internationally. For inquiries write to us at info@galeriaunion.com

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El Carregador / Acrylic on canvas / 100 x 70cm
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Exhibition in UNION Gallery

Photos: Catalina Romero

Interview with Pedro Perelman

We spoke with Pedro Perelman ahead of his new exhibition “Origen”, which opens Friday September 30th in UNION Gallery. In a collection which includes over 15 original paintings and wood sculpture, the artist transcends the diversities and ethnicities of the characters that typify his work, in order to investigate his origins as an artist.

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Origen is the title of this exhibition because, beyond the features, ethnicities and diversities of people, and the situations that make up my own universe, it’s really about a personal search for my origin as an artist. Origin and the desire to paint meld together for me. The origin and the path of the visual artistic flow that discovers forms and changes, that lack an academic framework, and instead become part of history purely through work and effort.

I never studied drawing or art and I think that not having the baggage that comes along with an academic background has helped me to lighten up when I’m in the process of producing work. My studies in design gave me plenty of tools to work with which I used later on in painting, but my involvement with art came mostly thanks to my father, who comes from an artistic background and surrounded me with visual stimulus, friends’ artist studios, museums, paper and pencils.

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“Mala Mía” / Acrylic on canvas / 50 x 40cm / 2016

I created my first murals in the public space during a really complex time in the country, that I lived through with a lot of anxiety. Even if this isn’t reflected explicitly in my work, it is manifested in the very attitude inherent in the act of going out to paint, as if the context was a trigger, or the initiator of a kind of chain reaction. But my reaction was from an almost optimistic frame of mind. I sought out the impact of color and forms as a remedy for the rawness of the gray.

Art is and will always be a disposable good, and in a country with continuous crisis and instability, the effect in this arena is immediately evident. I also think that the art scene needs to be updated; we need new visions for new times, new ways of handling artwork, projects, and institutional support. The scene is in need of a more broad legitimization. On the other hand, there are plenty of local artists who are very well positioned on a global level, and that’s entirely thanks to their own merit.

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Mural in Barracas, Buenos Aires / Pedro, Pol, MrL / 2016

As time goes by I’ve discovered various different artistic styles, but I’m restless and I find myself in constant search of another, or believing that I have none at all. I’ve matured in my way of looking at and thinking about art and with the passage of time I’ve seen that from my classic, graphic beginnings, in which the pictorial aspect was almost completely absent, I became friendly with light, shadow and details, while I also began to combine techniques. I explored from the most synthetic elements to the figurative, and utilized a combination of resources from design.

The context drastically changes the form and length of production time of an artwork. In the studio the time-frame is different; there are no fixed hours, and no influence from weather or other external factors. When you paint in the street there’s adrenaline that comes with scale, people, reactions, commentary, and physical work. In that context there’s a better optimization of time. From the perspective of technical and concrete aspects of the work, however, the processes of each space are quite similar.

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“Piel de la Historia” / Barracas, Buenos Aires / Ph: Martin Tibabuzo

2016 has been a very productive and intense year and I’m very focused on the project Ruta de Murales. Together with Poeta and Lion, we’ve painted in many different provinces across Argentina, given workshops, and generally exchanged knowledge with a lot of people. It’s been a fantastic experience together with Montana and Sinteplast, and it’s headed for a second chapter in the South of the country starting in October.

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Mural in Santiago del Estero / Ruta de Murales / 2016
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Pedro, Poeta, Lion / Ruta de Murales / Buenos Aires / 2016

I really enjoy teaching, and my years at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) have helped me a lot. For example, my previous experience teaching has definitely influenced the development of the workshops we’re doing as part of Ruta de Murales. It’s very gratifying for me to transmit enthusiasm and strength, and no matter the context, I always end up feeling like I am the one who’s really learning. Beyond the roles you have to play, large groups guarantee a lot of ideas and energy.

In my life music and painting feed into one another constantly: I think about sounds and I hear colors, and I think that the compositional criteria and creative processes of both worlds are quite similar. Together with a couple of musician and artist friends we have formed Kermesse, and this year we’re travelling to Mexico to present our new live electronic music (house) show. At the same time I think that they’re social universes which are very different but which create a healthy balance for me: music and painting are like night and day.

Catalogue of Artworks by Christian Riffel (Poeta)

“Ver sólo se aprende Mirando” (You only learn to see by looking) is the new exhibition by Christian Riffel aka Poeta in UNION Gallery.  Populating the space with drawings, paintings, videos and installations, the artist invites us to rethink our way of seeing.

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Exhibition in UNION Gallery

In this unique solo show we get a glimpse into Riffel’s internal processes and artistic trajectory.  With delicate pieces in watercolour and ink we see the genesis of an idea or mural.  In refined pastel canvases we’re confronted with a more subtle version of the artist’s abstract geometric muralism.  The installations and sculpture provide hints as to the artist’s current musings and future directions.

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Lejos del Ruido II / Acrylic on canvas / 72 x 62cm / 2016

The exhibition features more than 25 original artworks, and is curated by Pablo Frezza, graduate of art administration and curatorship who specializes in geometric and concrete art of Argentina.

View and download the full catalogue of artworks here.

We ship internationally. For inquiries write to us at info@galeriaunion.com

Be sure to check out the interview we did with the artist here.

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Transparencia III / Ink on paper / 29 x 22 cm / 2016
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Diálogo entre dos intolerantes / Acrylic on canvas / 200 x 200cm / 2016

Images by Catalina Romero

Artist Jorge Pomar (Amor) takes to the streets in Poland

Jorge Pomar aka Amor recently did an epic new piece at the Monumental Art Festival in Gdansk, Poland.

Entitled “Schody do słońca”, which means “Stairway to the Sun”, the piece represents another step in the artist’s examination of international crisis and warfare through the lenses of vexillology (the study of flags), geometry and the study of color.

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The design for the piece is composed of 20 different flags which contain the sun as element in their design, which are piled up to represent countries united, leading to a clear pathway up to the symbol of the sun.

The mural was painted on the side of a building which was once home to Lech Wałęsa, the leader of the “Solidarity” movement, winner of the Nobel Peace Price in 1983, and first president to Poland after the fall of communist regime (1990 – 1995).

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Countries featured are: Tibet, Nepal, Argentina, Moldova, Malasia, Philippines, Kiribati, Mongolia, Australian Aboriginal Flag, Japan, Bangladesh, Uruguay, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Niger, Antigua and Barbuda, Malawi, Macedonia, Rwanda and finally Poland.

Be sure to check out the interview we did recently with Amor here.

Images courtesy of the artist.

graffitimundo Interviews Poeta Ahead of His New Exhibition

We spoke with Christian Riffel aka Poeta ahead of his exhibition “A Ver Sólo se Aprende Mirando” (“You Only Learn to See by Looking”) which opens at UNION Gallery on Friday July 29th.  The exhibition features more than 15 original artworks, including canvases, drawings, sculptures and a video installation, and is curated by Pablo Frezza, graduate of art administration and curatorship who specializes in  geometric and concrete art of Argentina.

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The artist in his studio

Art came about by itself, when I realised it was the alchemist that helped me to deal with and overcome situations that I went through in my adolescence.  It was with graffiti that I developed my passion for painting. I started going out with friends in 1999 in Villa Ballester, in Buenos Aires province. At that time there were loads of walls, and there were very few people out painting. After a while I met some artists (Roma & Debo), with whom I painted for several years.

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I think the personality of an artist is shaped by the difficulties that arise throughout the creative process. The process is like any other; where you focus on acquiring the discipline to work and on developing self-confidence, while you spend as much time as possible with the tool you’ve chosen.

I wanted to start composing a work that expressed my feelings, without the use of a figure or object, and that was how I decided to explore form, colour, and geometry. I had been painting human figures and objects for ten years when my work began to mutate into amorphous works. At the time I felt it was wise to start developing a plastic language, and that in turn demanded an intellectual practice. Since then it has evolved from the plastic to the theoretical.

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“Magnánimo”, Acrylic on canvas, 120 x 140cm, 2014

I refine my ideas every day, the materiality changes, its opacity or  light and its beautiful shadows appear. I have been painting geometric works for six years and the evolution I have experienced in the process is really rewarding. Right now I’m interested in bringing all of my ideas together and drawing on multiple processes in the creation of my works.

Working with sculpture has helped me to develop my artistic language. My work, although flat, uses depth and perspective that simulate a spatial effect, or a construction. Sculpture has given me new ways in which to examine my work. It inspires me to keep moving, increase my knowledge and tools and to delve into things I’m unfamiliar with in order to reinvent myself.

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Sculpture from the exhibition “Tirar de la Cuerda”, at the Fundación ICBC, Photo: Victoria Tolomei

Being an artist who paints in the street and in the studio creates a symbiosis where one situation feeds into the other. Sometimes things that happen in the street inspire me in my studio work, or I discover something that I have applied in the studio that I can use in a mural. The two processes are different in terms of format, and you can develop more delicate works or use other mediums and techniques in the studio, for example.

I see a bright future for urban art in Buenos Aires because of the vocation and quality of artists that Argentina has. Hopefully the contemporary art circuit, both the institutions and the galleries, will stop disregarding urban artists, as I think this is the change which is lacking in the scene.

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In the exhibition “You Only Learn to See by Looking”, I’m applying new artistic languages that I’ve developed over the last few years.  In this collection I’ve utilized diverse techniques in the creation of the pieces. I’m inspired by a problem I see; of how people seem to look but don’t really see.   It seems to me that we see and become familiar with one another through a sort of screen, which dictates to us what we see.  I’m interested in having people observe and experience these new pieces in a deliberate and active way.  I’d like them to be sensitized by the show and to question how they see or what they look at on a daily basis.

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Images courtesy of the artist

Catalogue of Artworks: “Alquimia” by Georgina Ciotti

“Alquimia” is the new exhibition by Georgina Ciotti at UNION Gallery. In this, her first solo show, the artist contemplates the dichotomy of human nature and animal instinct in a striking collection of original artworks which center on alchemy as a metaphor for a transformative process.

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In these artworks, human figures twist and merge with the Saí and Ocelote, animals indigenous to Misiones, Argentina, creating a striking contrast between the pictorial elements in a palette of bold cobalt and the symbolism of delicate gold leaf, which floats over the coal-tinged black background.

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Georgina Ciotti is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work has spanned muralism, sculpture, design, illustration and special effects.  Currently specializing in muralism, she has previously worked extensively in art and special effects for cinema, publicity and theatre with directors like Peter Greenaway, Pedro Almodóvar and Spike Lee, among others. Ciotti also participated as conceptual designer in cinema for: DOOM by Andzei Bartkowiak, Hellboy I, Hellboy II, and was a member of the Oscar winning team for best special effects makeup in Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo Del Toro.

View and download the catalogue of artworks here.
For all inquiries write to us: info@galeriaunion.com

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Images by Catalina Romero

Book Launch: “Habitat” by Elian Chali

As part of the exhibition “Pioneers of a Trip to Nowhere” in the  Francisco Caraffa Provincial Museum of Fine Arts, exhibiting artist Elian Chali is launching his first book, entitled “Habitat”.

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“Habitat” by Elian Chali, edited with TRImarchi Ediciones, with the support of CYNAR Argentina

After years of compiling images and theories, while creating incredible murals in cities across the world, Elian brings together content generated during the period of 2013 – 2015 in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, USA, France, England, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Peru, Dominican Republic, Russia and Uruguay.

The book takes a look at arquitecture, urbanism and photography as well as the artist’s own reflections, and includes a prologue by Martha Cooper, beloved North American anthropologist and photographer, who witnessed and documented the birth of the underground culture in New York.

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According to Chali, Habitat emerges from his attempt to comprehend our urban surroundings.  This search for meaning was the motive which initiated the task of analyzing the city as a phenomenon: its configuration, its genetic makeup, and its future.

The presentation and launch of “Habitat” by Elian Chali will be held on Saturday 25 June at 3pm, in the Foyer of the Francisco Caraffa Provincial Museum of Fine Arts.

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We’ve been following this amazing artist for years, and we’re very excited for this new project of his. To read more on some of his recent projects check out these articles:
Puente: A Public Art Project in Córdoba, Elian – new collaborations in Europe, Physical Graffiti – The connection between urban art and architecture in Argentina, and be sure to watch this beautiful video from a recent project he did in Milan, Italy:

 

 

 

Exhibition Review: “Pioneers of Trip to Nowhere”

“These artists are part of a movement, of a greater collective, which has enriched the arts with new experiences, both for artists and for art consumers.

The central concept of the exhibition is the context; the street, the public space, and the descriptions of different situations taken and put on display by each artist. We are witness to how they are affected by this space, how they process it, and what historic events get recreated in their memories.

They give back to the streets something of what they receive from it, bringing something of the outdoors in, in order appreciate anew our common meeting place, the public space.”

– From the curatorial text of the Francisco Caraffa Provincial Museum of Fine Arts

On May 19 not one, but six exhibitions opened in the Francisco Caraffa Provincial Museum of Fine Arts. However, we were interested in one in particular. Curated by Kosovo Gallery, the exhibition “Pioneros de un viaje a ningún lado,” (Pioneers of a Trip to Nowhere) brings together a group of artists who are the first representatives of the urban art movement to set foot in Cordoba’s museum of Fine Arts.

The night of the opening the room was packed with a sea of animated people flowing past the various works spanning Museum Hall 5. But despite the warmth of the crowd, it was cold because Nicolas Romero Escalada, also known as Ever, froze his work. Literally. On the back of his large-scale portrait, which he called “Idealism as a metaphor applied to reality,” there is a cooling system that maintains the low temperature that has created the ice chunks seen on the face of the protagonist. Approximately 29.4% of the work is frozen and this represents the percentage of children in this province living below the poverty line (according to a survey of the Catholic University). This data is blood-chilling. So is the artwork. This installation is accompanied by a looped projection of a sort of modern Christ (the actor Carlos Rogers) who walks through the city under the weight of the Communist symbol. We see again and again how this suffering man drags his modern cross in front of the eyes of society.

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Nico Romero alias Ever “Metáfora del Idealismo aplicado a la realidad” (Idealism as a metaphor applied to reality)
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Detail of “Idealism as a metaphor applied to reality”

Julián Manzelli is also known as Chu, and since his beginnings in Doma (the mythical art collective), his artistic vision has always had a playful spin. However, behind his affable character creations, our cultural identity is analysed. This time, the artist presents “Urban anomalies and the development of a circle.” Representations of those urban landscapes where concrete planning is overcome by spontaneously generated improvisation. The “urban absurd”, as the artist calls them, are pieces that unfold on the table, breaking the schematic monotony, challenging perspectives and appealing to error and genius at the same time.

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Julián Manzelli alias Chu “Urban anomalies and the development of a circle”
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Detail of “Urban anomalies and the development of a circle”
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Detail of “Urban anomalies and the development of a circle”

Tec is a local artist who divides his time between Brazil and Argentina. He knows very well what happens in the street, as he has never stopped painting its walls. He knows their history, and both their roots and that of thousands of Cordobeses, are the inspiration for the reflection “Watch your Head”. This is an installation that covers the entire wall in which workers’ texts and helmets are interwoven. Tec draws our attention to a key moment in the history of Córdoba: The Cordobazo and general unity of the labor movement with the students. An interesting fact: Tec has family members who were part of the worker and student resistance, and it is this close connection that continues to drive him out into the streets.

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Tec “Cuidar la Cabeza”
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Detail of “Cuidar la Cabeza”

A third wall addresses the history of the province of Cordoba in a piece by Franco Fasoli, also known as Jaz. One of the pilars of Jaz’s work is the identity and violence found in different cultures. This time, Franco Fasoli takes the confluence of the past and the present as the place from which the painting rethinks the construction of identity. The contrast of images evokes the determination and ability to face giants. In this case the local neighborhood Alberdi gives rise to the piece entitled “First free territory of America”, which was created with the assistance of the locals. Once alone with the work, Franco Fasoli added finishing touches and, upon completion of the show, the work inspired by the streets will be reinstated back to its home.

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Franco Fasoli alias Jaz “Primer territorio libre de América” (First free territory of America)
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Detail of “First free territory of America”

The last installation that is part of Pioneers, also belongs to a local artist: Elian Chali. This artist’s works are a constantly evolving exercise because they are holistic compositions created within the public space, which are at one with their surrounding environments. “Urban Hygiene” proposes a reflection on the mechanisms that determine the collective behavior, and and the ways in which the public then reinterprets these mechanisms. It invites citizens to question the elements which, in their place of origin, make up the parameters of the concept of living, which allows the reconfiguration of its transient role, of its public morals, ultimately recognizing their domain.

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Elian Chali “Hygiene Urbano” (Urban Hygiene)
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Elian Chali “Urban Hygiene”

So there they are, the Pioneers of a trip to nowhere. They have come this far and we can not wait to see what their next destination is. Be sure to check out this amazing exhibition at the Francisco Caraffa Provincial Museum of Fine Arts in Cordoba before it closes on July 28th.

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Words by Ana Laura Montenegro

Images by Daniel Luján, courtesy of the Francisco Caraffa Provincial Museum of Fine Arts

Interview: Georgina Ciotti Talks About her Upcoming Exhibition ‘Alquimia’

We spoke with Georgina Ciotti ahead of ‘Alquimia’, which opens Friday June 10th at UNION Gallery. In this exhibition the artist contemplates the dichotomy of human nature and animal instinct in a striking collection of original artworks, which center on the concept of alchemy as a metaphor for self-transformation and material metamorphosis in the creation of artwork.

‘Alquimia’ is my first solo show.  I never wanted to do one before because I didn’t really like the idea of exhibiting my work. I feel like now it’s a good opportunity, and UNION seemed like a good place, since for me it depends a lot on the energy and the relationship I have with the people I’m doing the project with. When I choose to do a mural, I have to have a good vibe with the client as well, so for me it’s the same when I choose to work with a gallery.

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The artist’s studio PH: Catalina Romero

A lot of my experiences from my time in Misiones, Argentina have become part of the concept for this show. I went on a trip to Misiones for a month after my mother died, to be in the middle of the jungle with someone from my childhood that lives there without electricity and without running water, in these cabins he built there. It was a very intense time for me.

In Misiones you’ll find the Ocelot and the Sai. The Ocelot is a small feline, and the Sai is a blue bird. The friend I stayed with asked me to create a piece for him when I was there so I started working with these animals, which are indigenous to that region.

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Sketch for ‘Alquimia’ PH: Catalina Romero

For me, alchemy encompasses everything; from the terrestrial to the spiritual. It can also represent the dualities of masculinity and femininity, as well as the volatile and the corporeal. Alchemy is about a search, rather than concrete answers.  My experience in Misiones transformed me, but I think these transformations are happening all the time. Alchemy is like a fractal, it’s everywhere but we’re not aware of it.  The creative process is an alchemy. You see the artist’s materials, and then how these get transformed into artworks.

In this exhibition, the viewer reconstructs the pieces themselves, participating in artworks that play with the limits of the abstract and the figurative.  I’ve been doing a lot of research on neuroscience and human behaviour, and in these pieces are references to the famous Rorschach ink blot tests.  Some of the images in the artworks are mirrored, causing the viewer’s perspective to shift between seeing something figurative or something more symbolic and cultural.  In one piece you might see the face of a tiger, or an African mask, while internally they’re really other things.

For me, the studio work is a laboratory for the work in the street. What happens in the studio, and in exhibitions, and in moments of introspection like these ones, is the raw material that is then used in the streets. But it’s also true that not everything you do inside can be done outside; an erotic series could be controversial for example, although I would love to do it.

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From the series ‘INSTINTO’ for the exhibition TRIFULCA I at Hollywood in Cambodia, 2015

I started painting in the street because I didn’t have any space to paint indoors.  I was living in Barcelona in a shared flat so I started there, it was more free then. Over time my work changed, the street always changes you.

I think of a mural like a type of oasis in the desert. I’ve had moments where I just want to create some beauty in the street, leaving behind something that people will stop and look at, in order to generate a place where people can be at peace for a moment.

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Mural in Barracas neighborhood, 2015 / PH: Georgina Ciotti

The street art scene in Buenos Aires today is very trendy. When I returned in 2010 after living for a decade in Barcelona the scene was very open and now it’s really fashionable.  It would be great if we could prevent it from being absorbed further by the system. On one hand I feel like true street art is dead, but on the other I think it’s nice what’s happening, because there are lots of people painting and with so much freedom, which doesn’t happen in a lot of countries. But spaces are also becoming more regulated.

People have a philosophy about their work, but then at the same time you are forced to negotiate with reality, and that can result in contradiction. For example with street art festivals, they give you a space to paint, but it’s controlled.  Festivals are great promotion, and they make you a star, but there’s a compromise that you have to make.  I’ve done it before and it’s great, because you’re surrounded by friends and colleagues, and you learn a lot from everyone else, but I would never put myself in a position where my work is censored. I’ve always done what I wanted.

MUROPOLIS MENDOZA, Centro Cultural Le Parc, 2014 / PH: Georgina Ciotti

The streets are a good place to exercise your political rights. The situation right now makes me think of what you see in the U.S.,  where they give people a special place to protest, so that you ultimately need their permission to express yourself.  I think that a place where you see the walls painted is a place where the people are active and involved socially.

Art is a representation of the paradigm of the times, and i think that at the moment art is becoming more holistic, and that reflects what’s happening in the world.

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Mural in Barracas, 2015 / PH: Fede Yantorno

Artwork Catalogue: ‘ASIMETRICOS’ by Nasa & Cabaio

Nasa and Cabaio recently collaborated on a mural in the Colegiales neighborhood, as part of their exhibition ‘ASIMETRICOS’ in UNION Gallery.

Although each artist has his own distinctive style, they were able to find common ground deep within their respective works and to use this as a starting point from which the rest of the exhibition was generated.

The mural is the final piece of the puzzle, as the artists come full circle and apply what they learned from the challenge of working together indoors back out to the streets.

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Mural at Virrey Aviles and Conde, in Colegiales

In ‘ASIMETRICOS’, the two urban artists come together in a different context to celebrate the spirit of the dynamic encounters which so characterize the local urban art scene. In the gallery setting, their individual and collaborative works give rise to a unique and inimitable exhibition, which cultivates an inter-disciplinary dialogue.

You can view and download the exhibition catalogue here.

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Artwork by Cabaio, Mixed media on canvas, 50 x 50cm

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Artwork by Nasa, Acrylic on canvas, 71cm diameter
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‘ASIMETRICOS’ exhibition at UNION Gallery

Interview with Jorge Pomar “Amor”

Graffiti introduced me to the world of art. One day I picked up a three cans of aerosol with a friend and we went to paint some bombs. Blue, chrome and black. I remember that day with a lot of joy, pure magic. Something changed inside of me.

Painting in the street became a pleasure and an expression of freedom. When I was a teenager I used to skateboard and hang out in the streets with friends a lot. I started experiencing the city with a lot of curiosity, seeing urban space as a place of experimentation and exploration.

"Crucigram", Black Circle Festival, Bushtyne, Ukraine, 2015
“Crucigram”, Black Circle Festival / Ukraine, 2015

Painting was the only activity that made me feel something intense. When I finished high school I had no idea what to do next. I worked in a couple of places and started four different university programs but I didn’t finish any. Painting became an activity that represented freedom and fun. Little by little, I started to visit new cities, and to develop new friendships. Graffiti opened a lot of new doors for me.

I find endless inspiration in the streets, especially in Buenos Aires. I pay special attention to different things: the grey building facades, cracks, construction sites, messages written in restrooms, tags on metal blinds, words carved on a tree, the design of iron railings, things that get caught in trees, colourful awnings, flags hanging from balconies, car stickers, the colours of the train and bus lines, the walls of the railway tracks, the back of newsstands, garbage strewn on the ground, the sound of rush hour, hidden spaces, going up on a roof, down into a tunnel, into an abandoned house, drinking coffee in a classic downtown bar, etc. The city is like a big playground where I can experience and be inspired by an endless array of different situations.

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“Vicious Circle” / Association Le M.U.R / Paris, 2014.

Nowadays, I’m working on global concepts such as war business.  I’ve found a way to take on this dark subject through trivialisation, using color as my starting point. My interest in this issue arose during the week of the first match of the World Cup in Brazil. The conflict in Gaza Strip was picking up again in a terrible way and I was overcome by a sense of absurdity as I watched how the planet was being mesmerised by a ball.

Last year I focused on vexillology (the study of flags), identity and the study of color, all centered around the theme of conflict.  I held a solo exhibition called “$ 1.800.000.000.000″ (one trillion eight hundred billion dollars) in Buenos Aires in the Alpha Centauri gallery, which took as its central idea the economic investment made each year in the weapons industry.  I’ve also traveled in several countries over the last four years, and some of these were engaged in serious conflict while I was there. I filmed situations of urban life, local culture and mural processes during these trips, and used this material to make a documentary film called ”Thirteen cyphers”.

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“History and identity of Dock Sud”, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2015

In Buenos Aires I had the opportunity to participate in “Pintó La Isla”, a beautiful project which took place in Isla Maciel, in the South of Buenos Aires. One of the artworks is entitled “History and Identity of Dock Sud”, which is a landmark close to the Buenos Aires port, the point of entry for a majority of immigrants coming to South America in the late XIX century. The most interesting part of my experience in this project was the widespread participation of locals in the project. Because of this, the artwork doesn’t have a purely individual framework, but rather belongs to various people.  This has created a context where the mural is better taken care of by the locals, and also favours the generation of more projects like this.

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“Colors are for people, not for flags”, Respublica Festival/ Ukraine, 2015

I think the act of painting on the street becomes like a magnet for different situations. Painting a mural is all about being in a particular place for a specific amount of time and, while the piece is in progress, all around there is a constant flux of millions people, elements and influences. Exchange and interaction are unavoidable consequences. Over the last few years, I became aware that it’s all about living the experience, and learning and sharing, whatever the context, place, time and sometimes even the visual result of the artwork may be.

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Collage on paper, 35 x 50 cm, 2016

 

 

 

Program of Workshops in UNION Gallery

graffitimundo and UNION welcome autumn with a program of workshops run by celebrated local urban artists.

Intended for both beginners and those with experience, the workshops offer a unique opportunity to experiment with new techniques under the direction of renowned artists.

Workshops are run in Spanish but are open to all. To sign up for any of the following, please email us at info@graffitimundo.com.  Spaces are limited!

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STENCIL WORKSHOP by CABAIO

Description of Workshop
The workshop begins with a presentation of the history and theory of stencil, looking at different examples of the technique and its use throughout history. The artist will guide participants through the entire process, from the selection of images to their adaptation to the stencil using various mediums, including photocopying and Photoshop. Once the images have been chosen, each student will learn techniques of cutting, and will tackle the different challenges that come with designing and producing a stencil.

About the Artist
Cabaio began painting in the streets as part of the artistic collective Vomito Attack, a group motivated by political activism. In 2005, he started working on a solo project, developing a style that reflected a more personal and intuitive means of expression: colourful compositions, the repetition of geometric figures, the use of figurative elements and the inclusion of calligraphy.

Requirements: No prior experience necessary

Date: Saturday 23rd April
Time: 14 – 18hrs
Cost: 450AR$ per person, includes materials

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GEOME+RICA: WORKSHOP IN GEOMETRIC EXPERIMENTATION by NASA

Description of Workshop
This workshop offers an informal view of geometry, the construction of modules, patterns and their uses and applications in contemporary art. The workshop includes a talk in which the general concepts of geometry will be discussed, images will be analyzed and examples of geometry in different eras and cultures will be seen. Following this, each participant will produce different modules and patterns on paper employing various techniques of drawing, painting and stencil. The workshop concludes with experiments and debate about the finished product.

Take a peak of a previous workshops here: Video (Password: “Peliculas”)

About the artist
The work of Hernan Lombardo, a.k.a. NASA, is rooted in graphic design, architecture and modern art and is also influenced by the “do it yourself” philosophy. NASA belongs to a generation of artists who began to intervene in the city in 2000, changing the perception of the urban space.

Requirements: No prior experience necessary

Date: Saturday 7th May
Time: 14 – 18hrs
Cost: 500AR$ per person, including materials

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COLLAGE AND COMPOSITION WORKSHOP by DEFI

Description of Workshop
The class begins with an introduction to collage and its uses as a creative tool in the production of an artwork. Participants will experiment freely with collage on paper by employing different textures, shapes and colours. Practical exercises are intended to help develop diverse perspectives, and the idea of balance in  abstract composition will be explored. The workshop culminates with the practical application of collage to an object, in this case the use of sublimation to transfer the unique design of each student to a mug, which they can then bring home.

About the Artist
Defi Gagliardo was a founding member of FASE, a multidisciplinary collective of art, design and music. Together with other collectives, they were the creative forces that generated an urban art form based on graphic design, characterised by bright colours, cartoon characters and lots of positivity. Defi’s compositions vary between the abstract and the figurative and are typified by big explosive gestures, colours and textures.

Requirements: No prior experience necessary

Date: Saturday 14st May
Time: 14 – 18hrs
Cost: 500AR$ per person, does NOT include materials

Thank you to Montana Colors for accompanying us!

Cabaio Stencil Workshop

 

Interview with NASA & Cabaio about “ASIMETRICOS”

We spoke with the artists NASA and Cabaio ahead of the opening for their new exhibition about art on and off the streets, and the challenge of taking on a collaborative show together in Gallery UNION.

BEGINNINGS

NASA: I began intervening in public space as a means of revitalizing underutilized areas of the city.

I was really interested in the idea of bringing something anonymous to the city. I found a new medium where I could express ideas on a larger scale in the public space, which was a revelation to me in many ways. I discovered a direct interaction with the space and with the inhabitants of the city.

Cabaio: I started to work in the public space with Vomito Attack.

I have great memories of that time – always at night, a spray can, a few sheets of stencils and out to paint. I was in university at the time and I didn’t have any artistic project in mind. My “artistic” interest came later, after I had been panting in the street for a while.

INFLUENCES

Cabaio: So many artists have inspired me.

Without doubt Blec and Banksy were fundamental, they were they ones who brought the tool of stencil to light for me. Also Greco, Twombly, Vasarely, Basquiat, Yepiz, architects such as Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA), Le Corbusier, MVRDV and Koolhaas among others.

NASA: I’m a great admirer of modern art and the avant-garde.

If I could go back to any point in history, it would be as a student of the Bauhaus, everything that came out of there seems incredible to me. The Argentine artist Perez Celis was a huge inspiration for me as well. He may have been the one to introduce me to abstract art, which, for some reason, is the kind of art I most enjoy.

Artists that inspire me from the past and the present, from here and there in no particular order are Miró, Kandinsky, Mondrean, Sol Lewitt, Le Park, Ferrari, Siquier, Stella, Celis, Pollok, Testa, Tapies, Minujin, Picasso, Warhol, Basquiat, Haring, etc.

THE STREETS AND THE STUDIO

NASA: Today my work is focused mostly in the studio.

That’s where I find the axis, it’s where my research and production happens. I am thinking about bringing my work to the public space again and applying there everything I have done in the studio over the past few years.

Cabaio: For me, there is an inevitable relationship between the work done in the street and that of the studio.

In general my work starts in the studio and continues in the street, beyond that you have no idea where it will end up.

I think that this process that happens behind closed doors enriches the local urban art scene. I see a lot of development in the use of different techniques and ways of intervening in public space.

NASA: I think that ideally every scene renews itself, that there are always new contributors who are nurturing and expanding the movement.

I believe in change and evolution! I think that the future of the urban art scene depends on the actors and their concerns, as long as we’re in movement the fire will keep burning!

ASIMETRICOS

Cabaio: For this exhibition, we have departed from an initial recognition and acceptance of ourselves as asymmetrical.

We have points in common as artists, but different work and different points of view. The interesting thing is to try to recognize what these asymmetries are and to work together from there.

This concept has also caused me to experiment with asymmetry in my own work. I have given space to different processes occurring in a personal way.

NASA: The exchange of ideas and processes is very enriching, to ramble together is great for the spirit.

While it’s common to work in a team in urban art, this case is different because we are dealing with an exhibition in a gallery, so the context is different. It’s an important challenge ahead of us, but I really like the idea of creating unique and inimitable pieces which merge both of our work. It will be something special!

With Cabaio, I have found points of connection deep within the work. They are about structure, repetition, the use of frames, positive and negative space. Things that are hard to find simply by just looking at a piece of work.

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NASA
CABAIO for blog
Cabaio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam and Poeta new mural in Ballester

The geometric kings Poeta and Sam paint a new wall together, their opposing geometric styles work together here,  to create one cohesive composition.

Painted in the neighbourhood they both grew up in, Ballester, Buenos Aires.

 

Stencil Workshop

Last week we held a stencil workshop with the artist Malatesta in UNION Gallery.

Malatesta began the class with a presentation on the history of stencil, showing different examples of the technique and how it has been used throughout history. Following this, the artist continued with the practical portion of the workshop, guiding students in the selection of images and their adaptation to stencil using both homemade techniques as well as programs like Photoshop. Having chosen images to work with, each student then proceeded to translate them into stencil, experiencing in the process the different challenges presented in designing and cutting templates suitable for painting.

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The afternoon ended with an open air paint session, where the group took their newly-cut stencils to the walls, experimenting with different techniques of overlapping and the repetition of images using a variety of colors of aerosol.

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Stencil continues to be one of the most effective techniques for creating a striking image. While its effects and results will depend on the talent and experience of the artist, it remains an extremely interesting technique and tool for someone who is just beginning to develop their art.

UNION Gallery holds exhibits of urban art and also offers workshops lead by local artists. To receive more information about upcoming workshops or to organize a private workshop write to us at info@graffitimundo.com. Experience is not required to participate.

Thank you to Montana Colors for accompanying us!

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Mart releases “Into The Air Colouring Book”

Nice tapa Mart

Mart, one of Buenos Aires’ most unique and best loved artists, has recently released a colouring book for adults entitled “Into The Air Colouring Book”. Mart’s work, stylistically whimsical and playful in nature, makes an easy transition from the streets and the gallery to print media. The book’s 100 pages allow you to paint alongside the artist, as it contains both drawings coloured in by the artist and black and white drawings, which the reader is invited to complete by taking inspiration from Mart’s signature colour palette or by improvising their own. The protagonists of Mart’s murals, long limbed “flaquitos”, feature in the book, along with details such bicycles and plants, all executed in his trademark freehand style of thin, loose lines.

Mart Colouring book

The popularity of adults’ colouring books has been rising over the past couple of years and they are being lauded as a meditative tool for people whose demanding lives don’t allow them time to be creative. A wide range of colouring books have been released internationally from a variety of artists, from illustrators to graphic designers and tattooists. The activity books are sometimes intricate, sometimes patterned, sometimes pixellated, as seen here in this Buzzfeed roundup. Street artists such as Buff Monster, Cyrcle and Shepherd Fairey have contributed to the “Outside The Lines” colouring book and Mart joins their ranks with “Into The Air”.

 

Mart bok

“Into The Air” was released in December and is available in most good bookshops nationwide, including Yenny/El Ateneo and Cuspide.

Artwork Catalogue: ‘GALAXY’ by Pum Pum

Gallery UNION is currently featuring “Galaxy”, the new exhibition by Pum Pum.  Pum Pum first appeared in the streets of Buenos Aires in 2004 when she began to fill the walls with her cute characters; cats, birds, and punky girls with tattoos. Her artworks have since found their way into galleries across the world, from Berlin to London and Washington, DC, while her murals have cropped up on walls as far as Paris and Tunis.

This collection sees the artist expanding on her new foray into more 3 dimensional works, using laser-cut wood to dissect and reassemble her by now well-known cast of 2 dimensional characters in layered works painted with aerosol. This is a singular body of work, which also has the artist exploring the medium of aerosol for the first time in her career.

The show celebrates the forms and ordered chaos that are naturally occurring in the creative Universe of the artist. The exhibit includes artworks in a variety of formats including a limited edition of silkscreen prints, collage pieces in wood and cut acrylic, and a mural.

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Pum Pum: I love trying out new methods and techniques. This year I experimented using the development of different layers to generate depth… It’s a constant game of trial and error, like with any experiment. This is what most interests me in thinking about using this premise as the basis for this exhibit.

I’d like to continue on a pathway towards volumetric work, towards 3 dimensional space while referencing 2 dimensional forms. I’m interested in dividing the forms that I typically use into deconstructed pieces.

Excerpt from interview with Pum Pum, read the full article here.

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You can view and download the catalogue of artworks here.

For enquiries contact us at info@galeriaunion.com or by telephone +54 11 4775 2935

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DOMA Launches Their Book DOMA_17

In advance of the launching of the book DOMA_17, graffitimundo speaks with the artists of DOMA about their 17 years as a collective, the experience of making a book, and the importance of collaborative work.

“Seventeen is a number that embodies a cycle of change and a coming of age. When Doma was first formed in 1998 as an artist collective, it was in a different Buenos Aires, and with different members and norms. Over time, Doma took on a life of its own, developing and reproducing, establishing its own rules and setting its own course far beyond its members. Like soldiers, they have fed this creative beast over the course of more than a decade and a half, continuing to push their sardonic and absurd vision of reality.”

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graffitimundo: How did the idea of the book, DOMA_17, come about? Was this project conceived of more as a retrospective or perhaps as a work in itself?

DOMA: The idea of publishing a retrospective book arose on Doma’s 10th anniversary. Various priorities and different complications had delayed the project until now. Ultimately, though, this has meant that the end result will be much stronger because of the inclusion of all our most recent major projects. We developed it as a publication that can also be a lasting documentation of our work. Beyond that, following classic lines, the book has many subtleties of design, is a beautiful object and a collector’s piece.

gm: How did you choose the material? What criteria did you use?

DOMA: It was a long and difficult process. Lots of things were left out. The editing process involved lots of collaborators, including Emmanuel Prado, Fernando Benito, María Pia Vivo, Florencia Reina, and we also had Vajay Sigismund of KBB Publishing with whom we edited the book. Our vision and input was also present and all of this ended up giving the book a very tight result with an extensive amount of text. The projects are presented chronologically beginning in 1998.

gm: For a collective that keeps its DIY spirit alive, how was the experience of working with an editor?

DOMA: Doma does not specialize in making books, while an editor has produced dozens. This experience really nurtured the project and also us as we learned more about it. We worked with total freedom and nothing was done against our will, on the contrary; the contributions of the editor and other employees supported and encouraged us, and they themselves became a part of Doma.

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gm: Apart from the Idea.me crowdfunding campaign, and the day of the book’s launch, where else will you be able to find the book?

DOMA: After the launch, we will continue with the Idea.me campaign for a few more days, where the book will available online with a sizeable discount. Then it will be available in various bookstores.

gm: Over the course of the of the group’s career, various sociopolitical changes have occurred that have greatly influenced your work. How do you feel that the artistic creation of the collective has matured? Is there something you would never do again, for example?

DOMA: The truth is that we don’t regret anything, despite the errors. It was a constant evolution and we were improvising with more good results than bad. Lots of things stick and lots don’t, but fortunately a lot has stuck and even including the interesting things that we’ve left out, we’ve still made a 200+ page book.

DOMA_17 describes the evolution of the group and the different stages very well. It clearly shows the reaction to the historical moment at a social and political level, and the advent of new technologies. The book is chronological without being explicitly so, and the most recent projects close the book, showing exactly where we stand today.

gm: What changes have you noticed in the art world since you began 17 years ago?

DOMA: We really feel that our generation has lived through a very interesting time, witnessing various transformations resulting from shifting paradigms. All of this became the raw material of our work, and it still is.

Regarding the art world, it’s very different now to how it looked in 2000. There has been a shift from the collective and collaborative work that was happening then towards more individualistic work and personal development. The crisis brought people together, but then when everything started to get better, people started to go their own way. It’s 2015 now and we’re in crisis again, so maybe that will bring us back together once more.

On the other hand, except for some circles, nowadays we also see a much bigger art scene which is also much more open and fearless of the new. This was not the case when we started.

gm: The collective seems to be driven by the axes of collaboration, multi-disciplines and self-management. Do you think that this would ever change at some point in the future?

 DOMA: I don’t think so. We naturally work that way and they are the core values that we all deeply respect. Especially since each of the members has their own individual career, when we work as Doma, it’s a therapeutic pursuit and you check your ego at the door. In terms of self-management, it is just the way we do things but it doesn’t mean that we can’t take on different types of projects by invitation for example. These are different situations and are handled in different ways. It’s like having a party yourself, or going to someone else’s party. Both options are good, it’s just that they are different.

gm: Small and large scale installations, entertainment, toys, interventions in public spaces, art galleries, and museums. Is there any space or medium which you have yet to explore or is there any “dream” project you have in mind?

DOMA: Ideas abound, human resources too. Sometimes the economics of large projects delays them, but go to outer space would be great.

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gm: How do you see the next 17 years of DOMA unfolding?

DOMA: We have some loose ideas we’re working on, but honestly, that’s the question we’re asking ourselves. To make a retrospective book after 17 years leads you to reflect more deeply and analyze the path you’ve taken. It’s good to take a time-out and really give some thought to where things are actually heading. I think we’re still in that moment, processing all this information so that we can begin to generate future plans.

DOMA_17 will be presented in an event at the Biblioteca Nacional Mariano Moreno Friday November 20, 2015. For more information about the event visit this link.

 

 

graffitimundo interviews Pum Pum for her new exhibit “Galaxia” in UNION Gallery

graffitimundo: What or who introduced you to art?

PumPum: I was always interested in artwork really. From a young age I used to go with my parents to art openings, I spent time looking at art books at home, and most of all I was accustomed to watching my father, who is a painter and sculptor, at work.

gm: Where did your unique cast of characters originate, what was your inspiration? What do they represent for you?

PP: I always loved drawing and as I began to develop a mini universe of animals and a little girl (who you might say is a sort of self-portrait), I started to have a lot of fun with it. Based on these characters I started to experiment with different supports, different languages and techniques. I have continued on with these same characters over time because I still maintain that connection with a playful, almost infantile side of painting.

Photo: Pum Pum
Photo: Pum Pum

gm: What was this year like for you? What kind of projects were you involved in?

PP: I don’t usually plan out the year ahead of time and this year was no exception! Things developed as the year progressed and I really enjoy it that way. I like surprises and I like it when I get to see certain dreams taking shape and becoming reality. This year a lot of new projects, trips and exhibits came about that I loved. I got to try out a lot of new things that I really enjoyed. I got to know different people and places, and had a lot of great new experiences.
I pay a lot of attention to detail and I really try to take advantage of the relationships and interactions that are developed thanks to this discipline.

Patagonia, Argentina / Photo: Dan via Pum Pum
Patagonia, Argentina / Photo: Dan via Pum Pum

gm: Are there any specific artists that have affected your work?

PP: I don’t tend to have artistic “idols” but I really admire many of the people in my community: artists who happen to be friends of mine, people I cross paths with during trips, exhibits, or in day to day life in general. I feel so lucky to be able to say that actually many of my friends are my favorite artists. That happens to me a lot! It’s inspiring and means that I’m always learning as well.

gm: How did you get started painting in the streets? How did you learn?

PP: It was literally like a game to me. I was going out to accompany friends who were painting in the streets and I started to give it a try alongside them to see what it was like to change scale and format. I really didn’t know much about it at all, I was just looking to have fun. I always liked observing the way that other artists work, that’s really the best kind of school there is!

Pum Pum with Nerf and Joao Lelo (Brazil) / Photo: Pum Pum
Pum Pum with Nerf and Joao Lelo (Brazil) / Photo: PumPum

gm: Lately you’ve been experimenting with new formats like projection with acrylic mobiles and now working with wood. How do these new experiments affect your creative process? What inspires these shifts and how will we see these new materials and formats reflected in your exhibit?

PP: I love trying out new methods and techniques. This year I experimented using the development of different layers to generate depth, sometimes minimizing color in order to prioritize material. It is a constant game of trial and error, like with any experiment. This is what most interests me in thinking about using this premise as the basis for this exhibit.
I’d like to continue on a pathway towards volumetric work, towards 3 dimensional space while referencing 2 dimensional forms. I’m interested in dividing the forms that I typically use into deconstructed pieces.

Galaxias I from the Tirar de la Cuerda Exhibit at Fundación ICBC / Photo: Pum Pum
Galaxias I from the Tirar de la Cuerda Exhibit at Fundación ICBC / Photo: Pum Pum

gm: What’s the relationship between your street art and your studio work? Are your murals affected by new experiments in the studio, or vice versa?

PP: The two are always developing in parallel but with some points in common. I always take something of my studio work into the street. I like developing ideas on a small scale first. In the studio I work out details, materials, etc., and then I see what I can possibly translate to murals, at times reinterpreting something of the test tube context that I find in studio work.

Photo: Pum Pum
Photo: Pum Pum

gm: In your latest murals you’ve begun to include aerosol in addition to your paintbrush work with latex. What brought on this change?

PP: I’ve always used aerosol for details, but as I had access to a larger palette of colors this time I used it almost as the primary medium. I like the coverage you can get with it especially for creating dark backgrounds as I’ve been doing lately. What I most like to do though is to continue combining techniques in general. I love the way a paintbrush with acrylic paint, a watered down ink and aerosol can coexist in the same work.

gm: Lately we’ve seen that a lot of the artists that dominated the local scene before are bringing their artworks more and more into the context of galleries and international street art festivals. With this type of evolution happening in the trajectory of so many of the scene’s principal artists, what do you think the future holds for the Buenos Aires street art scene?

PP: Everything is constantly in movement, and that’s what’s healthy about a scene, in any field. What most interests me personally is developing works and using them as the basis to generate murals on city walls – so that the two support each other mutually. I like to think rhizomatically and to be able to expand on the things that I’m generating, and I hope to be able to continue on this path next year. There are lots of plans, but as always I hope things will continue to come together on their own. I hope to continue working with consistency, and realizing new ideas, plans and dreams.

“Galaxia” by Pum Pum opens Friday, November 13 from 7pm at Galería UNION,  Costa Rica 5929 Buenos Aires.

Photo: Edgardo Gomez - Nadia Cajal via PumPum
Photo: Edgardo Gomez – Nadia Cajal via PumPum

‘Galaxia’ by PumPum

‘Galaxia’ by PumPum

Friday November 13, 7pm

‘Galaxia’, the new exhibit by PumPum opens on Friday 13 November at UNION gallery. The show celebrates the forms and ordered chaos found within an artist’s creative universe.

UNION is a gallery and project space that brings together work from South American artists in a celebration of emerging and contemporary art.

UNION Gallery: Costa Rica 5929, Palermo, Buenos Aires
Opening: Friday November 13, 7pm

For more information: Mimi Carbia (011) 15 3153 3932 / info@galeriaunion.com / mimi@graffitimundo.com / www.galeriaunion.com

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In Print Now: Street Art Santiago by Lord K2

“Street Art Santiago”, a book documenting the thriving urban art scene in Santiago, Chile, was recently released by Schiffer Publishing. Written by David Sharabani, a.k.a. Lord K2, the book explores the highly evolved and active culture of graffiti and street art in the Chilean capital through the medium of photography and interview.

Lord K2 is a photographer and graffiti artist from London living in Valparaiso, and in “Street art Santiago” has delved deep into what sets the Chilean capital apart in terms of the art and the artists, but also provides an interesting social, economic and political history to the development and current state of the genre in Chile. The scene is uncovered through more that 200 photographs and over 80 interviews, offering a unique insight into the Chilean culture of activism, muralism and graffiti. 14 different barrios in Santiago have been put under the spotlight, and the interviews deal with the influence of North American graffiti, New York in particular, on the styles represented in Chile, and also the effect of the end of General Pinochet’s dictatorship on the explosion of the medium in the city.

A comprehensive and beautifully presented account of Chilean street art, Lord K2 also has a book documenting the Argentine scene in Buenos Aires set for release in 2016, which will undoubtedly prove an interesting read in terms of comparing the two South American capitals, geographically close but substantially different in the art produced in each city. Check back with our blog for more updates on this.

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Pastel – A Touch of Patagonia in La Paternal

Pastel has painted a large commission in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of La Paternal. Overlooking the train tracks of the San Martin line between La Paternal and Villa Del Parque stations, the new mural graces the facade of a former auto garage, which is in the process of being converted into a photography studio.

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The work contains the artist’s signature flowers and sees him continuing the expansion of his colour palette, employing bolder and more intense pigments that echo those present in recent works in Portugal and France. The piece also sees the inclusion of a huemul amongst the leaves, the Patagonian deer from which the photography studio takes its name. This mural sits within a white border, framing and balancing the floral composition.

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The wall stands in stark contrast to the despondent nature of its immediate surroundings; across the tracks is an abandoned wine storage warehouse and the empty streets bordering the studio are characteristic of the neighbourhood – low rise residential properties interspersed with auto-shops and industrial buildings. Pastel’s latest offering provides some visual respite in an aesthetically dour part of town. Two sides of the building have been completed, with work on the third to be undertaken in the future.

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Galeria UNION has also recently acquired new silkscreens by Pastel- two beautifully detailed new pieces entitled “Lethal Flora” and “Lethal Flora II”. Both are available to be hand-finished by the artist.

Contact info@galeriaunion.com for more information.

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Elian – new collaborations in Europe

Collaboration is an important element in the world of urban art and something that sets it apart from other artistic spheres. In recent months, as part of the now yearly exodus of Latin American artists to Europe and the United States for summer in the northern hemisphere, Cordobese artist Elian has been one half of two contrasting collaborations in Barcelona and London.

Collaborative mural for "Fallas", Barcelona - Eilian and Pastel
Collaborative mural for “Fallas”, Barcelona – Eilian and Pastel

The dual show “Fallas” in Montana Gallery, Barcelona, saw him team up with fellow Argentine and friend Pastel to explore the aesthetic outcomes of a glitch, a default, a systematic failure. Both artists contributed individual works in their signature styles on paper and canvas, but where the unity of their collaboration was most evident was in the mural painted at the back of the gallery. This monochrome piece juxtaposed Elian’s broad and furling linear study against Pastel’s delicate floral composition, creating a wall where opposites harmonise with each other, where the graphic collides with the decorative. Taking two contrasting yet complementary components and pitting them against each other is a technique used in everything from typography to architecture, and the superimposition of Elian’s minimal gestures on the intricacy of Pastel’s flora exploits this to create a dramatic effect that is at once arresting and absorbing.

Elian/Alexis Diaz collaboration in London
Elian/Alexis Diaz collaboration in London

In London, Elian hooked up with Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz in advance of a group show in Mya Gallery to paint a mural in the city’s street art mecca, Shoreditch. This time, Elian reverted to his freeform mergings of primary colours to interact with the surreal biology of Alexis Diaz’s oft-seen heart and eye. Diaz’s detailed studies of hybrid animalistic/skeletal creatures are sometimes set against a subtly gradiated background of colour, and the pairing of his work with Elian’s here echoes this, albeit that Elian’s slashes of red, yellow and blue across the arrow-pierced heart give the mural decidedly more punch. Again, the visual clash of opposites gives the wall a great aesthetic tension and commands the viewer to reconcile the sweeping with the precise. Social media erupted with images of this impressive wall, cementing the power of bringing together two stylistically opposite artists but whom are equally matched by their talent.

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Jaz – new residence and global tour

Franco Fasoli, aka Jaz, has relocated from Buenos Aires to Barcelona, one of the European meccas of urban art. The Spanish city has long been embedded in Fasoli’s artistic trajectory – he first encountered public art as a young adult while visiting the Catalonian capital, the influence of which subsequently marked a move away from the traditional hip-hop style of graffiti he had been practicing since the 90’s towards the large scale murals on which he now works. Jaz’ steadily rising international profile means he now spends more than 6 months of the year attending street art festivals, doing artist residencies and exhibiting worldwide. Barcelona’s central European location aligns more with Jaz’s current lifestyle and will see him splitting his time between working in the studio for exhibitions (both group and solo shows) and painting externally.

Although the Argentine artist is now counting Europe as his new home, his first wall since leaving Argentina was in Morocco. Participating in the Jidar Festival in the Moroccan capital Rabat along with international artists such as Pixel Pancho, Maya Hayuk, Tilt , Ron English and Inti and local artists Simo Mouhim, Kalamour and Rebel Spirit, Jaz’s huge mural, entitled “The Shoe Thief”, sees the artist delve even further into the thematic and stylistic synthesis he has been pursuing in recent months. The mural translates the aesthetic of collage he has employed in pieces in the Dominican Republic and Mexico into a stylised painting that deals with the themes of conflict and identity.

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Jaz continued with this aesthetic subversion of his material experimentation with the mural painted at the second international festival he attended, Mural Festival, in Montreal. The wall, which depicts two men clashing and the emergence of two bulls from the fray, stays true to the compositional use of duality that Fasoli often incorporates into his work. However, it is in fact a reproduction of a collage done as part of a solo show for the Celaya Brothers Gallery in Mexico City last February, entitled “Popular”. Again, Jaz has transferred the visual of the collage on canvas onto a painted wall, and the effect is graphic and imposing. Check out a recent interview with Street Art News to find out more about his process.

"Popular" collage for Celaya Brothers Gallery, Mexico.
“Popular” collage for Celaya Brothers Gallery, Mexico.

Franco Fasoli has a busy year ahead, and 2015 will see him dedicating himself to the following festivals, residencies and exhibitions:

June – Group show – SUBEN. London, UK
July – Pangeaseed Festival – Cozumel, México.
August –  Diego Rivera Project of MAF – Amberes, Belgium
September – Cityleaks Festival –  Cologne, Germany
September – Group show. Athen B. Gallery – Oakland, California. USA
November – Solo show – Elsi del Río Gallery – Buenos Aires, Argentina

If you would like to know more about Jaz and his art please get in touch.

Physical Graffiti – The connection between urban art and architecture in Argentina

Urban art cannot and does not exist in a vacuum. The built fabric of cities and towns provides the canvas on which street artists exhibit their creations, inextricably linking it to its environment. The relationship between the work and the physicality of its condition brings it into a unique artistic realm, where it is visible in the public space as opposed to the walls of a gallery, and as such, is unequivocally affected by the architecture that acts as its backdrop.

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Buenos Aires – the Paris of South America

Architecturally speaking, Argentina is something of an anomaly. The country’s urban identity reflects its history and, in many ways, is a physical manifestation of its development as an immigrant hub. After the arrival of Spanish and Italian immigrants at the end of the 19th century, Buenos Aires became a far-flung European outpost. Urban planners looked to Baron Hausmann’s reconstruction of Paris when constructing the newly anointed capital in 1880, earning it the name “Paris of the South”. During the construction boom between 1880 and 1910, much of the old Spanish colonial architecture was replaced with the popular Neo-Classical style, and the 20th century saw the city accumulate a number of stand alone buildings constructed in the Art Deco and Brutalist styles.

The Brutalist Biblioteca Nacional in Recoleta
The Brutalist Biblioteca Nacional in Recoleta

In recent years, the architecture of Argentine cities such as Buenos Aires and Cordoba has become somewhat schizophrenic. Poeta , an artist who searches for “tools” within the urban fabric to form his geometric compositions, says that the absence of a defined style in Buenos Aires reflects the lawlessness of the Argentine capital, creating an environment of architectural anarchy. Typical low-rise residential buildings sit alongside 20 storey apartment blocks all over the city, resulting in a spiky, undulating skyline. Pastel , himself an architect, notes that this “gives the painter a new spatial perspective” and that looking for new walls within these physical peaks and troughs becomes “an everyday sport” for a street artist.

This “sport” is largely facilitated by the legal grey-area that street art occupies in Argentina. Most artists would concede that the tolerance towards the technically illegal medium makes it one of the best places to paint in the world. But its reputable standing within the street art community is also due to the abundance of walls within the city itself, negating the need to venture further afield, as is the case in many European or North American cities. In Argentina, paintable walls are rendered “legal” solely by receiving permission from the owner, meaning walls are not solely confined to places of isolation or those dedicated specifically to graffiti.

Porteno neighbourhoods with a mix of commercial and residential uses such a Palermo, Colegiales and Villa Crespo are traditionally where graffiti and street art has been most pervasive, with commissions of murals by retailers and proprietors of restaurants, shops and houses commonplace. More recently the industrial area of Barracas in the south has emerged as the new mecca of street art, while Villa Urquiza has also become an artistic stronghold in the north. Perhaps the only areas in Buenos Aires where graffiti is not widely apparent are the upscale neighbourhoods of Recoleta and Puerto Madero, the former owing largely to the decorative and elaborate Parisian-style architecture that dominates, and the latter due to prominence of the go-to dockland regeneration typology, the glazed skyscraper.

Skyscrapers, office buildings and apartments in Puerto Madero
Skyscrapers, office buildings and apartments in Puerto Madero

Undoubtedly, context has a unique influence on each of these murals. Elian , a minimalist painter from Cordoba, clarifies this, saying “A wall doesn’t occur in isolation. If that was the case, I would just paint on canvas. It’s not totally influenced by the architecture either, but it always is by the city”. Pastel concurs – “It needs to be understood that architecture and murals are two of the many elements that make up the city. An analysis and understanding of the context forms the relationship between the architecture and the mural”.

Both artists seek to create a dialogue by contextualising their respective works in situ to achieve a harmonious synthesis between the work and the wall. For Pastel, the inclusion of flora from the immediate vicinity of the wall grounds his compositions in their context and provide a link between it and the social themes he explores. Elian sees the architecture of his canvas as integral to his work and feels that a mural is incomplete if it is not taken into account. “Breaking The Structure” (Cordoba, May 2015) is an example of this thesis. The artist’s trademark geometric layers, subtly overlapped in an optical subversion, play with the facade of the building to “respect the geometrical language but breaking the principal lines” in an overt expression of of his intention. The relationship between the wall and the work is built on establishing an visual lexicon that references the mural, the background and the wider context of both.

Elian "Breaking the Structure"
Elian “Breaking the Structure”

The wall itself has a huge impact on the work, and the search for good walls is constant. The blank wall of a bus depot in Chacarita is better than the chiseled marble facade of an ornate house in Recoleta, the side of an abandoned building more desireable than underneath a bridge. The context, scale and texture of wall all have an effect on what will be painted. For Elian, it is history that attracts him to a wall. “I prefer a wall that has a story, that something happened in these walls or that you have some kind of wealth, such as moldings, windows, etc.”. Pastel says “Each wall has its charm, either in scale, its particular location, its architecture. It depends on what you want to paint”.

Pastel, "Flora pehuenche", Mendoza Argentina
Pastel, “Flora pehuenche”, Mendoza Argentina

The circumstances under which an artist paints can also dictate the resultant piece. A graffiti artist doing a bomb or a throw up is less likely to have permission, so the piece will probably be smaller and faster than, say, a wall done as part of a street art festival which would presumably have all the necessary licences, so the artists could dedicate more time to the work. The medianeras commissioned by the Buenos Aires City Government as part of Proyecto Duo in Palermo last November are a good example of what can be achieved when a body with resources curates a project. Medianeras are a characteristic feature of the architectural landscape of Buenos Aires, the ubiquity of them defining the visual language of the city. Access and permission to paint on these huge, expansive walls is almost impossible to procure, limiting the frequency with which they are painted. However, the backing of a municipal authority overcomes these procurement issues, bringing large scale murals to a barrio where small scale works are the norm.

Painted medianera by Spok and Lean Frizzera as part of Proyecto Duo, Palermo
Painted medianera by Spok and Lean Frizzera as part of Proyecto Duo, Palermo

For street artists, the influence of the environment by which they are surrounded, whether physical or social, or both, is undeniable. Pastel and Elian, speaking for themselves, assert that the architectural particularities of each situation they paint in have an effect on the work produced. The awareness of their environs and freedom to interact with it in a meaningful way results in Argentine artists not just passively engaging with their surroundings, but actively seeking out walls with certain characteristics that they can incorporate into their murals. The process is not just about finding an empty space to fill, but about consciously merging art and architecture to elevate the relationship between the two.

Sorcha O’Higgins

Galeria Union opens in Palermo

After two happy years in San Telmo, Galeria Union has moved to a new location in Palermo. Set in a quiet street in Palermo Hollywood, the new location provides a workspace for the graffitimundo team, a gallery space for exhibitions and events and a teaching and production space for artists.

This year we will be running a series of art exhibitions and events, and are finalising a program of artist-led workshops on stencil art, graffiti and muralism. More news to follow!

If you’d like to visit the gallery we currently have a group exhibition on display from a number of the urban art scene’s leading artists.

The new gallery is at Costa Rica 5929. We are open from Monday to Friday, 12 til 7pm, and on weekends and outside of the hours by appointment. You can see a selection of available works online  here: www.galeriaunion.com. Please feel free to visit us!

Here are a few photos from the new space, and our opening party last week.

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Google Cultural Institute

We’re proud to have joined Google’s Cultural Institute as a partner in their Street Art Project, which aims to document and street art from around the world.

We have created a collection of over 300 images which represent some of the best examples of urban art from Buenos Aires, both past and present, together with gallery works from some of the scene’s leading artists.

The high resolution images can be magnified to reveal minute levels of detail such as brush strokes and wall texture. The images are available on strictly non commercial basis, and all intellectual property rights remain with the artists.

In addition to the photo collection, our partnership with Google has enabled us to create virtual exhibitions which explore different aspects of the scene and its history, and virtual guided tours in English and Spanish using Google Street View.

We’re also happy to be able to offer a  mobile app, available for free through Google Play for Android phones  (IOS coming soon..)

Visit graffitimundo’s collection of works here.

graffitimundo and Obscura Day 2015

We were delighted to participate in Obscura Day 2015. Hosted by the travel site Atlas Obscura and taking place in 25 countries across the world, the events will celebrate the world’s most curious and awe-inspiring places.

graffitimundo ran a unique tour and stencil workshop as part of the worldwide event on Saturday May 30.

The stencil workshop was lead by the uber-talented artist, Cabaio in our new Palermo gallery space. Many thanks to everyone who joined us!

To find out more about our regular workshops please get in touch.

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Jaz in Morroco

Jaz has just finished creating a new mural titled “The Shoe Thief” in Rabat, Morocco for the Jidar Festival.

The dynamics of tension, violence and tribal identity are explored in this towering mural. The painted piece incorporates an aesthetic Jaz has developed in his collages, where he has created both murals and gallery works entirely from layers of coloured paper.

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May Exhibitions

The first week in May was a big week in the world of Argentine urban art, with three exhibitions by some of the country’s most talented and influential artists opening in Palermo.

Elian, Pum Pum and Chu make up the trio exhibiting in ELSI DEL RIO Contemporary Art’s  show entitled “Osmosis”, street art stalwart HIC is hosting the second ever solo show “Retroceder Nunca” by the superb El Marian while Ever is taking over Dinamica Galeria with his ambitious interactive piece called “La Cabeza”.

ELSI DEL RIO has united Pum Pum, Elian and Chu under the umbrella of “Osmosis”, a term that, in this instance, speaks about the current position of urban art as something that doesn’t exist exclusively in the streets, but which has transcended traditional barriers and now resides firmly within the remit of the art circuit. These three artists are joined by the urban quality of their work, both on the streets and off, and were chosen to represent a departure from the idea that graffiti is vandalism.

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“Osmosis” showcases a shared language learned in the streets which translates here into a diverse collection of works. Chu’s playful sculptures and lacquered wooden compositions echo his geometric explosions on walls. Elian scales down his seemingly free-flowing, yet carefully controlled bursts of colour, that run off pages suspended in framed glass. Pum Pum goes interstellar with a collection of canvases that take her signature figures of cats and girls and send them to space, orbited by planets and wrapped in planetary rings. The range of media present in the show reaffirms that these artists are not bound by the limitations of the perception that urban art should be confined to the exterior.

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Mariano Antedominico, or El Marian, is a self-taught visual artist whose relationship with urban art began five years ago. He took a course in muralism and since then has been painting in the streets, dedicating himself to the craft for the past three years.

El Marian’s subject matter ranges from scenes of chaotic protests to tributes to his musical heroes such as the Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch and immortalising icons from popular culture like Marty McFly.

Dealing with themes of anarchy, social revolution and injustice, his realistic portraits are often set against a blurred background reminiscent of army camouflage, a technique which is scaled up or down within each of his painterly pieces.

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For “Retroceder Nunca” (meaning “Never Retreat”), only his second ever solo show, El Marian reinterprets photographs from all around the world in acrylic, latex, watercolour and ink of civil unrest, child rebels and protesters, to create thought provoking and dynamic pieces. His powerful works convey the physicality and tension of riots, with the surge of the crowd and the rush of adrenaline palpable through the positioning of the drama heavily in the foreground of the canvas.

These pieces contrast with depictions of tender moments between kissing protesters, and subversive pieces showing rioters in rainbow balaclavas. “Retroceder Nunca” is an accomplished show with a definitive activist energy by an artist who is set to become one of the protagonists of the local scene sooner rather than later.

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“La Cabeza” is, incredibly, Ever’s (Nicolas Romero Escalada) first solo show on home soil. The artist, whose international profile has been steadily increasing in recent years, has gone bold with this spectacle. Supported by Dinamica Galeria, Ever continues to favour installation over painting in his gallery work with this engaging and imposing installation, which is brought to life by a mesmerising dance performance.

As often seen in Ever’s work, Chairman Mao takes centre stage in this piece. The immense suspended head of the Chinese dictator by sculptor Marcos Berta dominates the space, looming large and yellow above the glass bottomed floor below, and is a conceptual examination of the ideology transmitted through traditional Chinese Communist posters, where Mao’s head is always suspended over his subjects, the people.

Once again Ever uses Communist imagery to explore his fascination with its inherent contradiction, using a backdrop of cascading books superimposed with the symbol of the hammer and sickle to reinforce the aesthetic. “La Cabeza” examines the conflict that arises when it is left to a mere human “body” to relay a system of thought to a population, imbuing the figure with power and creating a false idealisation by the masses. The performance furthers this investigation by exposing the obsession with power.

The act involves 3 dancers, close friends of the artist, and a mask of Mao’s head, which, when worn by each performer, brings about a chilling transformation in the trio; he who wears the head peers eerily through the eyes, slowly surveying his audience, while the other two cower and clutch at his feet, amplifying both their desire and their submission to the Communist figurehead. With “La Cabeza”, Ever shows us the scale of his ambition, and that embracing controversy and risk can result in powerful and captivating work.

“Osmosis” runs until June 10 from Tuesday to Friday 1pm – 7pm and Saturdays from 11pm – 3pm at Humboldt 1510.

“Retroceder Nunca” runs until June 6 from Tuesday to Sunday, 5pm – 9pm, Thames 1885

“La Cabeza” runs until May 27 from Tuesday to Thursday, 8pm – 00pm, Gorriti 5741

(Article by Sorcha O’Higgins)

Pol Corona in Vicente Lopez

Pol Corona is a prolific artist, constantly exploring new techniques and styles. He goes from door-to-door in search of new walls to paint,  creating friendships within local communities all around the city.

Here’s a video showing his painting process in typical Buenos Aires style, accompainied by friends, sunshine and asados.

Pol Corona, Vicente Lopez, Buenos Aires 2015.

Pol Corona :: Buenos Aires 2015 from hazte1delosmios on Vimeo.

“David”

Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada is a Cuban-American artist whose large-scale works in charcoal are unique in terms of both scale and medium. Having left his mark on the city some years ago when he painted a tribute to his recently deceased father-in-law in Colegiales, Rodriguez-Gerada was back in Buenos Aires at the end of this summer to create a stunning and moving mural in Monserrat.

The wall, which is the backdrop to a car park, bears the face of a young boy. This is “David”, an 11-year-old student in the Isauro Arancibia Educational Centre in neighbouring San Telmo, which provides a space for 200 homeless children and teenagers to attend school. The centre faces potential demolition to make way for the Metrobus and the mural was painted to highlight its plight.

The wall forms part of ‘Identity’, a series of hyper-realistic portraits of anonymous locals that the artist began in 2002. The intention is to elevate these unknown residents to the status of social icons, and to challenge the idea of what is presented to the public via large format works, usually via advertising.

The project was realised in conjunction with ResNonVerba.
Photos courtesty of Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada

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Galeria UNION now online

Galeria UNION is now online, bringing together a world-class selection of artworks from Latin American artists.

Managed from London and Buenos Aires, artworks are available to buy online and ship internationally.

You can view a selection of artworks available, in high resolution, here: galeriaunion.com

Galeria UNION was created by the founders of arts organisation graffitimundo. Building on existing relationships with an extensive network of Latin American emerging artists, UNION provides a physical and online space in which to present their work to an international audience.

Sweet Toof in Buenos Aires

The British artist Sweet Toof has been brandishing his gummy teeth and skulls all over Buenos Aires for a couple of weeks now. Invited to Buenos Aires by the organisation Res Non Verba, he has been pasting, rolling and tagging from Quilmes to Saavedra in the time that he has been here. Sorcha O’Higgins spoke to him about his signature fangs, his career in the streets and how he feels about painting in Buenos Aires.

I first remember seeing the mod and punk graffiti in England when I was really young, and saying to my mum “What’s that?”, and my mum said “That’s naughty boys writing in the street”. And I remember feeling a bit of a thrill, like, I’d like to do that. Then, hip hop came in, and I got into breakdancing and all that in the 80’s, also films like “Wild Style” and “Style Wars” were cult hip-hop and graffiti films.

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I started tagging in a highlighter pen, funny names like “Hovis” and other little words. When I was about 13, me and my friends would take paint from the garden centre, but then some people got caught and I got paranoid, so instead I would save my dinner money and buy little cans of spray paint and keep them at home. When my parents went to bed, I’d climb out my bedroom window, across a roof and down a drainpipe. I’d borrow my next-door neighbour’s bike and go out and hit electricity boxes with Smurf characters. I’d see them the next day on the way to school from the bus.

I kind of stopped a bit when I was about 18, but I was always still aware of graffiti. I went to art school in Bangor. I had 2 suitcases of drawings instead of a portfolio, and they put me into fine art. Then I did another degree in Coventry for 3 years, where I really got into using older methods there, printmaking, etching etc. The attitude at the time, in the 90’s, was that “painting is dead”, so there was a lot of buzz about video and installation art, so I really rebelled against that and started to do a lot of oil painting, still life and skulls. I’d go to the market and buy dead birds and rabbits and hang them up in the studio and paint them, studying nature in my house like a madman! But I was still going out and doing letter pieces and characters and stuff. So I was doing both; I had the discipline of the painting, but then the fun of going out. Then I went to the Royal Academy of Art in London, did a lot of life drawing and painting. I taught for a while, but I didn’t really like it.

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The teeth started to creep in to my pieces when I got to London. I used to write “Spy” and in the “S” I’d do some teeth, but I was also doing self-portraits at the time with a magnifying glass, so my teeth seemed really big. I’d do oil paintings with these big mouths on them…teeth were everywhere. I remembered the sweets you’d get when you were a kid, the gummy teeth and the fried eggs. I was looking at graffiti and just seeing names, characters, names, characters, and I just wanted to come up with something really fast, something that you could throw up. The teeth are easy to do, just a few swirls, and then pink/black/white, just three colours. It started to lend itself to the oil painting, so it kind of began to cross over. Painting in the streets would become subject matter for paintings, leaning over a wall, seeing the sky at night, that kinda goes into your brain. You remember the light and stuff…

I love oil painting as much as I love doing stuff in the street. I still do a lot of skulls, a lot of ruffnecks, hillbillies. But I still see teeth everywhere, since I started doing them in 2005. I’ve sort of stopped doing them now, after this. I feel like you do things until you get bored of them, like you’ve got a sponge, and you stop when it’s wrung out.

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London is so gentrified, a lot of “pay as you go” walls, lots of street art tours and a lot of them are shit. The walls are also controlled by people who are only in it for what they can get out of it, jumping on the bandwagon. There are so many rules in graffiti now as well, like “you have to do a piece, a shadow, a cloud, an outline, a power line, no drips” etc. etc. the language is very confined. I like to be a little less defined, so people can’t really say what you are. I still like doing throw ups and bubble letters and rollers, but I don’t like people to label me and say “Oh, he’s a street artist” or “Oh, he’s a graffiti artist”…I don’t know what I am, I just love painting and like minded people, people who have energy and are doing things…you bounce from that, don’t you?

Lately, I like to not tell anyone where I’m going, say that I’m going fishing and head off to paint and travel. I met Belen (from Res Non Verba) at a show I did in New York, then she invited me here. I didn’t think it would happen, but then all of a sudden here I am! I love painting here. You’ve got blue skies, the weather is great, you can paint in your shorts at night, you can hear all the insects chirping, it just feels really chill. I can imagine it’s got other sides to it. I sort of feel like staying!! I want to come back next summer. I’ve done some walls during the day, and a lot of stuff at night. The police came once, and I freaked and ran, I thought they were coming for us, but they just drove by! In London, there are CCTV cameras everywhere, and that’s how they get you. We put 100 posters around at night, that was fun. And you can get really nice paper here as well. I painted with Sonni, he was really chill and nice to work with. I painted with Malegria and El Marian in La Boca. I went out a few times with Perla and Raws as well, and Borneo. A few walls with permission, and a few cheeky ones.

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More from Sweet Toof on his website: sweettoof.com

Interview by Sorcha O’Higgins. Photos courtesy of Res Non Verba.

Zosen & Mina

Barcelona-based duo Zosen Bandido and Mina Hamada, Argentine and Japanese respectively, have just come to the end of a 3 month tour of Argentina, Peru and Bolivia. Zosen and Mina Hamada’s collaborative work is characteristically free-flowing, colourful and optimistic, reflecting the real-life personas of the artists who are nothing but buena onda. Starting their trip with a show called “Cultura Popular” in Club Cultural Matienzo, they moved through Cordoba, Mendoza and Salta before heading further north to Boliva and Peru, ending their trip with an exhibition entitled “Nomadas” in Paraiso Galeria in Lima. Sorcha O’Higgins talked to them about their experiences in South America and how the scene here is different from that in Europe.

Zosen: I got into graffiti through skateboarding. I was born in Buenos Aires, but my mother is from Spain, so I’ve been living in Barcelona for a long time. When I lived in Buenos Aires when I was young, I used to skate. There was no culture of graffiti here yet, it didn’t exist. Sure, there were the political paintings, paintings by rock and roll bands, but no graffiti like in New York. But people were skating, that culture existed here then, like the punk/skate scene. So when I got to Barcelona, I continued skating and the people who were skating there were also into graffiti. I started doing tags, got into doing some really bad letter.

Mina Hamada: I had never painted in the street before living in Barcelona. Before, when I was living in Japan, I didn’t know anything about murals. I used to draw all the time in Japan, and write stories and poems which I’d illustrate. So when I moved to Barcelona in 2009, I met loads of people who were painting in the streets. I’d go out with them, to parties, or to paint. At the start I was a bit nervous, or embarrassed as I didn’t know how to use spray paint, but I did it anyway and really enjoyed it. 

Zosen: Now, painting in the streets in Barcelona is totally illegal. You get in lots of trouble if you’re caught, so you have to choose where you’re going to paint very carefully before you go out, so that your wall lasts and doesn’t get removed immediately. In Latin America, you can paint wherever you want.

Mina Hamada: At the start, I’d paint in abandoned places in Barcelona. But it’s more fun here, in Latin America. You just talk to the owners of the house, and if you get on well with each other, you can paint. It’s a lot easier in Buenos Aires.

Zosen: I’ve painted a few small walls in Buenos Aires before. One near Parque Chacabuco and another with Mart and those guys, near the River Plate stadium. There’s actually still a bit of that one left. At that time, people like Blu still hadn’t come here, so no one really knew how to paint up high, people were only painting as far as their arm would reach. Seeing as I had come from Europe, I knew you could do it that way, so we painted the whole top part. That was in 2006, and when we went back in December it was still there.

Zosen: Barracas is like a “Hall of Fame”, there are so many walls. Pol Corona, Mart, Jaz, Pastel and Chu have all painted down there too. Seeing as we were here, we wanted to paint something, so they invited us to paint a walls that’s right in front of the Sullair buildings. The house belongs to a woman called Susana, who’s lived in the neighbourhood for 45 years. Everyone calls her “Abu”, short for “abuela” (grandmother). She was so great. We spent 3 days down there. We ate in her house, we hung out with her grandchildren.  The part of Barracas we were in was more industrial, but the dodgier part is just around the corner. One day when we were painting, we saw a guy who had just been robbed running after the thief. The police came…then you realise that it’s not Palermo, you know?! The houses, the people…it’s more humble. But, also I think that’s why it’s more interesting to paint down there, the people aren’t able to repair their walls, it’s almost like you’re not doing an artwork on their house, you’re giving it a new coat of paint! It was also great to really get to know another part of the city that most people don’t get to see.

Both: Painting in Mendoza for the Muropolis Project was fun. We painted in a school in Mendoza that the artist Quino, who did the Mafalda cartoon, had studied in. That was in a sketchy area too. 15 year old kids were asking Mina for her number, asking her to draw the “5 points”. She didn’t know what it was, they told us it’s something from a videogame that the kids tag there these days. It was great to paint with some old friends, and to get to know the artists from Mendoza, as well as meet artists, like Lelo https://www.facebook.com/lelo021?fref=ts  from Brazil, that we hadn’t met before. There were 30 artists painting, 15 from Mendoza and 15 from other places. We went out and danced cumbia one night, drank lots of wine, went to lots of asados. We went rafting too!! It was like summer camp.

 Both: The scene in the Northern Argentina is pretty young, and a lot smaller than Buenos Aires or Cordoba. But it’s nice because there are more indigenous-style murals. We also painted in La Paz and Cochabamba in Bolivia. The scene there is kind of similar to Argentina in that there’s a lot of freedom, you just ask the owner for permission. We painted a big mural in a workshop in December, the rainy season. The weather was tricky, we were constantly looking at the forecast to see when it wouldn’t be raining, getting up at 5.30am to start painting at 7am and we’d have to stop at 12pm. Acrylic takes longer to dry than spray paint as well, which was problematic.

Both: We saw lots of artisan craftsmanship in the north.  But we can’t say how much that will influence our next projects until we get back to Europe. Three months of travelling and meeting so many different people…it will take some time to process all that and see what comes out of it! But it’s cool that we’ve spent so much time with locals wherever we’ve been, you get a much better understanding of the place that way.

Zosen: The photographs we took will form part of a project that I’m working on. When I did the trip in 2006, I went to Brazil, Chile and Argentina, and I started to write some articles for a few magazines, explaining a bit about the reality of the street art scene down here, so people in Europe could understand the differences. Like, in Chile, they mix spray paint to get different colours. I mean, you’d never see that in Europe. In Sao Paolo too, you’ve got “pixação”, and some guys do it with a tiny roller. So, for every city that I’ve been to, I’ve written something, so I’m going to make a little book, with the photos that we’ve taken. Maybe we’ll do a video too, but probably just with the photos, to show places like El Alto in Bolivia.

 

Making Beautiful Mistakes
     Defi Gagliardo reflects on his career as an artist, the transition from streets to galleries and his recent solo show in UNION

Making beautiful mistakes – interview with Defi Gagliardo

“When I make a mistake, I find a new way to move forward”

Defi Gagliardo reflects on his career as an artist, the transition from streets to galleries, the art market and his solo show in UNION, titled “Fuck I Missed”.

I studied and taught at UBA for three years. We made the magazine FASE, which was super anti-academic. So much so, it went full circle and teachers began to use it. The first edition was published in black and white, the idea was to challenge the way design was taught.  We reviewed the contents of each design course, so students could choose the way they learnt. It was our way of taking revenge on the way the system was organised.

My time at university inspired me to do the exact opposite of what we were taught. I think studying graphic design challenges you in a different way to other visual arts programs, because you have to focus more on the concept. The design course I took was very prescriptive. I butted heads a lot.

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From 2001, I was painting constantly. I was careful about choosing walls… we used walls in a similar way to how Facebook is used today. We’d use walls to communicate something, like the launch of one of our magazines. I believe that social networks have killed creativity, or at least mine.  Today, people find out information through their computers rather than on the streets…. and that’s something I can’t adapt to. I grew up in another world.

Graffiti stopped exciting me when it became a competition to see who’s best. That’s when the concept was lost for me. To replace painting in the streets, I made the transition to painting in galleries. I began spending less time painting in the street and more in the studio, and after a while, I found the street obsolete. From 2004 to 2009 I had the opportunity to travel a lot and paint.

My artistic career is a bit strange. I started working with galleries outside the country before I started working with local galleries. It was around 2008 or 2009 when gallery owners started advising me on how to exhibit my work. I think a lot about how the show will be presented before I start to paint.

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It took a long time for urban art to reach galleries, and when it did I was no longer a part of it.  I’m aware that my work changed during this period and turned towards fine art. Street art’s arrival has been great in some contexts, it’s reached a lot of people. Whilst there’s a market for it elsewhere in the world, I don’t think it will really thrive here. The market depends on a socioeconomic model that we don’t have. It’s still a small niche in Argentina.

My work can’t be described as being just one thing. I got recognition in the street for painting cats, but I was very active in other ways as well. I used to put stickers on supermarket shelves, then I would advertise them on the street with posters I’d put up that said, “Visit the exhibition in the cookie aisle”.

I started experimenting with moments frozen in time. Like frames in a film. That’s when my work diversified and I began making my boxes,  each of which contains a story that develops as I build the scene. I look at the boxes as a way to capture the fragility of a moment. Each box takes a lot of time to make, selecting the components, sanding the wood, wiring the electrical circuits. I make all of it myself.

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Creating a collage means experimenting until you find the elements that fit. I like doing puzzles, trying to find faces in things. Maybe they are ideas or memories that I’ve lost somewhere, and I’m looking for ways to visualise them. I made collage faces for my exhibition “Fuck, I Missed”, and also donkeys using a  similar technique.  In all of my exhibitions there’s always a donkey chasing a carrot, a sort of symbolic representation of the dynamic between work and deception. But the whole concept came about by accident, while I was messing about with the elements of the piece.

I’ve known Pedro (Perelman) for years. We make music together, and we painted a piece for this show based on a track made. We understand each other very well when we’re working, but wanted to exhibit something different from our collaborations painting walls. This is the first time we’ve painted on canvas together.

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My paintings are an explosion of energy and all its layers. Some are more subtle and hidden. I might draw something then paint over it, but there is always something that can be found. I call my abstract works “scribbles”, and I’ve mainly worked with primary colours for my latest exhibition. The mistakes are always clear in my work, and when I make them, I find a new way to move forward.

“Fuck, I Missed” is a celebration of error, and  a celebration of chaos. It is trash and harmony. The challenge for me is to drive the composition towards an aesthetic balance, until it borders on chaos. The rest is instinct.

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Interview by Ana Laura Montenegro

To view more works by Defi Gagliardo, you can download a catalogue here.

Interview: Jaz & Pastel

After a collective absence of close to 6 months, Argentine muralists Jaz and Pastel are back in Buenos Aires and have collaborated to paint two amazing new walls in Barracas.

Located under a bridge next to the Centro Metropolitano de Diseño, the walls depict a procession of characters, half man/half beast, by Jaz, juxtaposed against a floral background by Pastel. Jaz takes influences from Latin American traditions and combines them with local cultures and animals to create often violent scenes. Pastel contextualises his work through the use of local flora and fauna and sets this against a deeper understanding of the site, resulting in a delicate and muted representation of an area.

Jaz and Pastel say they have created a “micro-environment” of Barracas underneath the bridge. We caught up with them in their shared studio in Villa Crespo to find out more about the wall itself and the experience of working together.

Graffitimundo (GM) – When was the last time you painted together?

Pastel (P) – The first and last time?

Jaz (J) –  We’ve painted together before, but the last time was in 2011. It’s not there anymore, it was in Saavedra. It was two of my guys facing each other, Pastel did a geometric, architectural drawing in the middle. It was good, simple. Really nice. It was for a video, but I never saw it. For a TV program on the city channel or something…

GM – When did you decide to paint this wall?

J – Just recently. When I got back from my trip. Before I got back, Pol Corona had asked me if I wanted to paint the wall, and had sent me a photo. When I went to see it, the first week I got back, I thought it was huge and that I didn’t have much time, and he [Pastel] was still abroad, so I asked him if he wanted to paint it with me when he got back.

Pastel (P) – So I changed my flight and came straight home!

GM – How did you decide what you were going to paint?

J – Pastel had just been painting in Barcelona with Alexis Diaz from Puerto Rico, and Alexis ran out of time and couldn’t finish, so Pastel started to paint all around Alexis’ piece and I saw the photo and thought “Wow, it’d be cool to do it like that”, the same vibe, like between the two of us we would do a giant pattern of figures and Pastel’s flowers.

GM – This wall seems different to most collaborations. The work isn’t as separated as it usually is. That was intentional?

Both – Yeah, definitely.

GM – How did you collaborate in terms of themes or styles on the wall?

J – We went to the wall and we just said, ok, let’s do this like this, that like that…

P – I mean, each of us already knows how the other one works really well, so in two words we had it, it was really easy… So we said, we’d do the guys running and the plants of the area, and that was it really.

J – I went by myself one day and marked out my part on one side…

P – Then I went and did my part….

GM – You guys are good friends. Do you like painting together?

J – Not really…(laughs)

P – Not anymore, not after painting this wall…(laughing). For me, I suppose, Franco is older than me and he’s been painting for longer. Having shared this studio for a while, you learn a lot from the other person, so sharing the wall is exactly the same, it’s like an extension of our studio.

J – It’s weird cos at the moment, none of us are used to painting together. We each do our own work and…

GM – Why is that?

J – Because we’ve become bourgeois (laughs)… No, because every artist does his own thing and is very independent in his work. So we’ve stopped collaborating as much. Everyone’s work has its own weight and it can be difficult to to relate your work to someone else’s. And also because we’re constantly moving around, I’m here, he’s there… With Pastel I knew that it wouldn’t be very hard to collaborate.

P – It’s also a question of scale. It can be complicated to share a wall that big, especially if you’re not going to use the traditional language of “graffiti”, where each artist has his own part of the wall. The way we wanted to do these walls was to do both of them together to produce one single work.

GM – So do you prefer to work this way, or more independently?

J – I always like working alone. But sometimes there’s an incentive to collaborate because you like the other person’s work, because you’re interested to see how it turns out or because of friendship. I remember that about the graffiti scene, that everyone painted everything together. But now I’m a bit older, and I prefer to work alone.

GM – So did you have permission to paint the wall?

J – It’s a commission by Sullair, the lift company. They run community programs in Barracas, and organise different projects – this is one of them. They didn’t give us any instructions. They paid us, but we were totally free to paint what we wanted.

P – The crazy thing is that even though we were free to paint what we wanted, the walls don’t belong to the actual factory, it’s a public space. They didn’t have permission to paint there…

J – The reality is that if you’re going to do something with permission, especially in that neighbourhood where it really needs it, you’ll lose three months waiting for the official go ahead, so they opt for just going ahead with things anyway.

GM – So you guys have a good relationship with Sullair?

Both – Yeah, yeah.

J – Yeah, the best. Really good. For a company, they’re really great about getting things done. It’s big, so they have the facilities. They’re all about giving back to the community. They fix things, they cut the grass, loads of stuff. It’s really impressive what they do down there.

GM – Jaz, are you still working with gasoline and tar?

J – No. It’s been a while since I’ve used “weird” materials. Most of the big walls I’ve done internationally have been in regular, latex paint because most have them have been commissioned, or at festivals where it’s more about pure muralism. They don’t want an ephemeral work, they want something that will last. I try to use those [weird] materials when it’s a piece I’m doing for myself, or a smaller project.

P – Painting in a festival with those types of materials is kind of contradictory as well, using really basic materials when you have the luxury of painting with whatever you want.

GM – Pastel, do you always just paint with latex?

P – I use latex, and a lot of ink as well. For the details, because it has a different texture, a different consistency and fluidity.

GM – You have both been painting huge walls around the world recently. Has that had an influence on what you painted here?

J – Well in comparison to the walls we’ve done abroad, this is really small. It’s very long, but it’s easy. It’s covered, it’s protects you from the rain and the sun, it’s not an awkward wall.

P – It has a very human proportion as well, it’s not that high. But ok, if you turned it on its side, it would be a 9 story building. So that’s big. But we’re used to working at this scale. You get to work closer to the wall, it’s much more dynamic, you’re close to the materials…

GM – Jaz, you recently started working with collage. Has that influenced this wall in any way?

J – Not really on those walls, more on what I’m doing inside, for my gallery work. Eventually I’d love to do it in the streets, but to do it in the streets you’d need a totally different method of working that I’ve never done. I’ve never tried using paper in the streets, so I don’t know how to start. I’d have to start with something small, easy, straightforward, closeby…I wanted to use paper on the wall in Barracas, but because of the size and texture of the wall, it’s very porous, it would never last. It would last for a month, tops. Also using paper in the streets would be connected to that idea of using ephemeral materials, and as it’s a commission…

GM – Pastel, there is always some deeper context to your work – historical, geographical etc. Is there an element of that in these walls in Barracas?

P – Yeah. Generally I try to create a relationship with the context, the environment – the history, the geography, the people, the society, nature, the flora and fauna…also to create a feeling of the identity of the area and a sense of belonging for the mural. Usually that translates into using wild vegetation, small plants and representing that on the wall. It could appear just as a pattern, something decorative, but behind it there is a search for the identity of that particular place.

GM – So did you pick flowers from around the bridge in Barracas?

P – Yeah, I always pick flowers and plants from the bottom of the wall, but here there was loads of vegetation above the bridge near the train tracks, so I took about 4 or 5 plants from there and made a composition from those.

GM – So have you used any of the arrowheads that normally appear in your work?

P – No, there are none here. I use the arrows as a study of the history of Argentina, in particular where my family is from in Misiones, to start to use the events that happened in the area as an exploration of identity. But they have a stronger and more permanent significance, more violent from a certain point of view, harder, that tells another part of the story, a harder side of life, about war, symbolising defence.

GM – Jaz, your figures on this wall have black, faceless animal heads. Is there anything behind these?

J – It’s the same thing as always, to not give them an identity, but at the same time giving them one. For this mural in particular it was more about a herd of animals, but unrecognisable. They’re flat…it’s obviously an animal, but the identity is revealed in other details – the tattoos, clothes, the shoes – all of that is directly from the neighbourhood. I obviously can’t replicate all these things exactly, I don’t know what they mean to those people, but it’s a reference. A tattoo is a mark of belonging, it’s tribal. The identity is shown through those things, the local iconography, but the heads are to strip away the personality, the faces of the people. That’s what they ask me, “Why do they have animal heads?”, that’s where the biggest fear is, “But who are they…??”

P – They’re anonymous

J – Exactly, they’re anonymous, but at the same time they’re not.

GM – What types of animals are they?

J – All kinds. On the first wall, I chose the animals myself, but while I was doing it I had the idea to ask people which animals they wanted. So for the second wall they’ll be animals that people suggested to me…”I want a bear, I want a dog…”. So that, and names of the people down there. All the tattoos, all the clothes, they have names of people from the neighbourhood on them. That’s how they assimilate the mural and make it theirs, and they feel like they’re part of the wall. But at the same time there is none of them in it. So I tried to look for that, to represent the area via these mechanisms, so that they claim the wall as their own. That was the crazy thing, we were there every day, painting, but if we weren’t there to paint, we wouldn’t have stuck around for 10 minutes, no way. It’s a pretty hardcore neighbourhood. But they took us in, they looked after us, they talked to us, they told us their stories, and in that way, you become involved in the situation. And you realise the variety of societies that exist in the same city, you access it in a another way, even with all your huge differences.

P – Another crazy thing is that, beyond both of us working with themes of identity in our art, down there you really became part of that society for a time, which goes beyond the wall. There is a recognition there at the end of it, that you know how things are in that neighbourhood. It’s really dodgy…

J – Yeah, really heavy. The police are there all the time, people are drunk..

P – But at the same time, they’ll offer you something to drink, ask you if you’re hungry, they’ll bring you anything you need…

J – Or they’ll tell you about their brother, their cousin, they’ll show you their scars from prison, tell you why they were in jail…there are situations where you’re like “Whaaaaat???” but at the same time they’re really interesting. Normally you’re not exposed to that.

P – One day when we were painting a guy came up and said “Do you know how many people have wanted to come and mess with you, and we’ve said “Don’t go near the guys who are painting?””

J – They were looking out for us, and for all the people that came down to film, to take photos…keeping us safe cos “They are helping us”

P – “They’re painting for us…”

J – And for someone who’s middle class, who’s an artist, that went to university, to be able to see the way that other people live in places like that, it makes you think, you know? I mean, we’re painting a mural, we’re not changing their lives, but at least it creates a dialogue. I thought it was really fun actually.

P – But if you think about it from another point of view, in this neighbourhood (Villa Crespo), if you see someone, a cartonero or something, he probably has a similar feeling being here as we did being there, but inverted, you know? The individual against the masses. And unfortunately in middle-class or upper middle-class neighbourhoods, the difference between the individual and the unity creates marginalisation.

GM – Pastel, recently in Spain you used the colour palette of the area to inform your pieces. Is there anything here behind the colour that you used?

P – Not here. Jaz had more to do with the colours in this one…

J – In the neighbourhood, there are two football clubs, Barracas Central and Deportivo de Barracas. One has a white and blue jersey and the other white and red. That just started as an idea, it changed as we went along, we started with those colours but expanded to a larger palette. Actually, across the Riachuelo, there’s Independiente and Racing, that use the same colours, so the neighbourhood is really influenced by those teams. Half the people down there are part of the Independiente barra brava and the other half of the Racing barra brava. So they started to notice certain things about the colours…so sometimes that was a bit tricky, how we got around using them…but that was how it started anyway.

GM – So do you think you’ll paint together again?

Both – No, never (laughing)

J – No, I don’t know, I’m leaving again soon and I don’t know when I’ll be back…

P – One day, when we’re old…

J – Or maybe in another country…

Sorcha O’Higgins

jaz-pastel-2

bs.as.stncl

bs.as.stncl is a two person stencil collective comprised of artists NN and GG, a printmaker and graphic designer respectively. bs.as.stncl have a long history of involvement in the Argentine street art scene, and led the first wave of stencil art in the capital’s troubled streets following the 2001 crisis. Formed in 2002, the duo was motivated by the potential for expression and communication using the medium of stencil as an urban intervention.

Despite deliberately leaving their work unsigned, their easily recognizable style has gained a loyal following. Their early work had strong political undertones, created to communicate clear messages to its urban audience. Over time their pieces became less overtly political, and shifted towards a focus on satirizing popular culture, icons and current affairs. The trademarks of their creative backgrounds are evident in their work – the bold use of primary colors and stylized figures combine to create a heavily graphic style.

bs.as.stncl emphasizes the importance of collaboration, insisting that this is what gives street art its incredible power and impact. They celebrate “do-it-yourself” culture, as both a system of organization and in the production and distribution of their work. In 2006 they were two of a group of six artists who launched Hollywood in Cambodia, an artist-run urban art gallery in Buenos Aires.

For more work by bs.as.stncl:
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Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Cabaio

Cabaio began painting in the streets following the Argentine economic crisis of 2001 as part of the stencil collective Vomito Attack, a politically motivated group who used stencil art to unleash caustic political commentary and anti-consumerist messages throughout Buenos Aires. Departing from Vomito Attack in 2005, he adopted the name Cabaio Stencil and began creating independently.

Following his initiation in heavily anti-political and anti-establishment street art, Cabaio has developed an elaborate style of collage-like layering with carefully curated imagery, which reflects a more personal and intuitive expression. His stencil compositions are dense and colorful and are characterized by the repetition of geometric shapes combined with figurative and textual elements.

Cabaio has exhibited in galleries around the world. He creates spontaneous stencil interventions in the public sphere as well as custom works on canvas and other supports.

For more work by Cabaio:
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Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Chu

Chu is a founding member of the DOMA art collective, and one of the early pioneers of street art in Buenos Aires. Influenced by skateboarding culture, travel and biology in his youth, he graduated as graphic designer from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA).

Following the Argentine economic crisis of 2001, he was an integral participant in an artistic movement that saw a shift in the visual language of the city. Where previously there had been political propaganda and the conflicting voices of advertising and activism, a more playful, colourful aesthetic began to appear in the public realm, spearheaded by Chu and his graphic design contemporaries.

Chu’s style is characterized by the use of cartoon-like characters with curved shapes, and the creation of abstract universes, often influenced by geometry and mathematics. A multi-disciplinary artist, his work ranges from motion image/graphic design, animation and art direction to mixed media sculpture, art installation and toy design.

For more work by Chu:
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Instragram
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Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Corona

Born in France, Corona grew up in Madrid before moving to Argentina where his artistic career took shape. Having begun painting in the streets of Madrid under the pseudonym “Rena”, Corona’s creative trajectory took a new direction when he became exposed to the elaborate muralism and unique freedom of the street art movement in Buenos Aires.

The adoption of the name Corona signified a change in energy, style and creative direction. Considering himself both a graffitero and muralist, Corona pushes the boundaries of graffiti by incorporating figurative elements into his paintings. His recent pieces depict portraits of ethnic figures, often combined with landscapes or wildlife. Though his work often borrows from urbanism and abstraction, Corona has never fully departed from his roots in the language of letter-based graffiti.

Corona has participated in urban art festivals across Latin America and his murals can be found in Bolivia, Peru, Spain and France as well as Argentina.

For more work by Corona:
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Dano

Dano was one of the early pioneers of graffiti writing in Buenos Aires. He began painting walls and private buildings in the late 90’s when graffiti was first hitting the city, establishing himself as a mainstay of the local scene.

Both the New York graffiti scene in the 70’s and hip-hop culture have provided important inspiration to Dano and he maintains a significant connection with traditional graffiti throughout his body of work. Having trained in graphic design and comic illustration, his pieces, whether letter or character-based, display strong influences from these backgrounds as well.

For more work by Dano:
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Defi

Defi Gagliardo is a founding member of FASE, a multidisciplinary art, design and music collective, formed together with Tec and Pedro Perelman in 2000. Together with the DOMA art collective, Defi and FASE were the driving creative force behind a graphic design influenced form of street art, which stood out for its use of latex paint, bright colours, friendly characters and overwhelming positivity. The movement was hugely influential in defining the aesthetics and philosophy of early urban art in Buenos Aires in the years following the 2001 Argentine economic crash.

Defi’s work is characterized by the use of bold explosions of color in compositions varying from the abstract to the figurative. His artwork celebrates spontaneous experimentation and the innocent anarchy of adolescence in works that often feature his childhood pets as protagonists.

For more work by Defi:
Website
Flickr
Instagram
Available artworks in UNION Gallery

DOMA

Doma, formed by Mariano Barbieri, Julian Pablo Manzelli (Chu), Matias Vigliano (Parquerama), and Orilo Blandini, came of age in 1998 amidst the Argentinean political and economic collapse, immediately taking a critical, yet optimistic and fun, stance against the chaotic environment they experienced. The collective creates fantastic, absurd and often playful conceptual universes and characters that make a direct reference to the society in which they live.

Doma’s early urban interventions made the group one of the most important collectives Buenos Aires in the 1990s. Known for wacky, attention-grabbing urban installations as well as stencils, street projections and strange campaigns verging on performance art, Doma turned strong social and political content on its head in order to provoke its audience.

Currently, Doma works with various media, mainly audiovisual, creating animations, films, drawings, silkscreens, and sculptures, which are usually part of large installations.

For more work by DOMA:
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Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Ever

Ever began his career as a graffiti writer in the streets of Buenos Aires in the 90’s. His style developed almost accidentally as he began painting portraits of ex-lovers and his brother. Through giving importance to the inconsequential, the anonymous faces he adorned the city walls with were imbued with an unintentional gravitas by the viewer. His philosophy was, and still is, that graffiti is a point of connection for people.

Ever explores the themes of religion, contradiction and politics in his murals. He is fascinated by the human body and uses this as an artistic vehicle, combining portraits or figurative studies with social critique. His style is more closely related to traditional fine art and he is highly skilled with both aerosol and latex. His compositions are often vibrant in colour and he has recently begun to experiment with art installations, providing commentaries on current events using stuffed animals, ping-pong tables and toilets.

For more work by Ever:
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Available works in UNION Gallery

Georgina Ciotti

Georgina Ciotti is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work includes muralism, sculpture, fashion design, illustration and special effects. She first began painting in the streets in the early 2000’s while living in Barcelona. She found that the streets provided the perfect outlet for experimentation and has continued to use the public realm as her canvas ever since. In her special effects work, she was part of the team that worked on the Oscar winning Pan’s Labyrinth, directed by Guillermo del Toro.

Georgina’s work is highly visual. She creates intricate figurative pieces that depict animals or female characters combined with elaborate decorative elements, resulting in surreal and fantastical compositions. The mythical creatures depicted in her ethereal paintings offer a glimpse into a parallel universe, both beautiful and bizarre.

Ciotti has extensive experience working in different mediums, however her focus is in painting. Specializing in murals and site specific interventions her works can be seen on the facades and internal spaces of businesses and residences from Barcelona to Buenos Aires.

For more work by Georgina Ciotti:
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Pablo Harymbat

Pablo Harymbat was born in 1977 in Buenos Aires, Argentina and began painting graffiti in the 1990’s. While his work has focused primarily on muralism, he has also explored diverse mediums such as ceramic, sculpture, drawing and video animation. His first large-scale murals were created in 2004, and between the years of 2006-2014 the artist was known by his alias “Gualicho”.

Harymbat’s work has evolved through several formal stages, but always centers around a fundamental exploration of organic and the mechanical aspects of life and human nature. He has created murals and exhibited artworks throughout the Americas and Europe and has also participated in many urban art festivals, including the LGZ Festival (Moscow), Biennial of Cuba, Monumental Art (Poland), and the Concreto Festival (Brazil) among many others.

For more work by Pablo Harymbat:
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Available works in UNION Gallery

Jaz

Franco Fasoli aka “Jaz” studied and worked in scenography at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, and studied painting with Jose Marchi, Nahuel Vecino and Diana Aisemberg. He is recognized as one of the first major graffiti writers to begin painting in the streets of Buenos Aires in the mid 1990’s.

Jaz’s artwork evolved into large-scale figurative muralism, borrowing techniques and mediums from his scenography work and the political graffiti which characterizes the urban landscape of Buenos Aires. He works in blended mediums of latex paint, tar and gasoline, as well as in acrylic, aerosol and paper collage.

The artist explores identity, on both a personal and cultural level, in pieces that feature hybrid creatures, which are part man, part beast. His compositions are characterized by conflict and duality, and frequently reference popular culture and local traditions, with a particular emphasis on Latin American themes.

For more work by Jaz:
Website
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Available artworks in UNION Gallery

La Wife

After studying painting at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes Prilidiano Pueyrredón, much of La Wife’s artwork developed in the public sphere. In 2007 she began participating in street art festivals, and working with collectives such as The Stickboxing Federation.

Raised in the Patagonia region of Argentina, La Wife cites the arid and exotic panoramas of her youth as a source of inspiration in her artwork. Her paintings often reference the rituals, traditions, flora, fauna and sun bleached skeletons that are common to that part of the country.

La Wife’s work draws from a range of eclectic influences; from comics, anime and pop art to the vintage aesthetic of the 50s and Katsushika Hokusai’s iconic prints. Her paintings, wheat pastes and illustrations feature an electric palate of fluorescent colours and portray a stylized vision of the future, where tradition and ritual converge.

For more work by La Wife:
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Available works in UNION Gallery

Malatesta

A former professional skateboarder, Dario Suarez aka Malatesta has transferred the skater’s intimate and dynamic relationship with public space and urban culture to his nostalgic, experimental artwork.

Malatesta creates mostly figurative works utilizing a range of mediums including stencil, etching and sculpture. He incorporates a number of methods in the creation of his vintage-style portraits, which are often elaborated by scratching the design from layers of paint on the surface of found objects like scrap metal. Local and urban culture feature heavily in his art along with references to anarchy and alternative scenes.

In 2006 Malatesta was part of a group of six artists who launched Hollywood in Cambodia, an artist-run urban art gallery in Buenos Aires.

For more work by Malatesta:
Flickr
Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Mart

Mart began painting in the streets of Buenos Aires at the tender age of 12, joining older graffiti writers to participate in the first wave of New York influenced graffiti to hit Argentina in the 1990’s. Working with these early writers, Mart became one of the first graffiteros to paint entire trains, introducing this form of art to Buenos Aires.

Over the years Mart’s style evolved beyond graffiti writing and he became a self-taught muralist. His public works are predominantly figurative, and often appear to be whimsical in nature. Mart uses fine, loose lines of freehand spray and vibrant swaths of latex paint to elaborate playful works where eccentric stylized characters are the protagonists of fantasy scenarios.

For more work by Mart:
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Available artworks in UNION Gallery

NASA

NASA is Hernan Mariano Lombardo. His artistic formation is rooted in graphic design, architecture, skate and urban culture. NASA explores the chaos between the analog and digital worlds in murals and on canvas, clothing and objects.

A colour palette of high contrasts, and dynamic geometric forms juxtaposed with organic shapes and enigmatic symbols characterizes NASA’s artwork. Seeking to subvert traditional methods of communication in his cryptic compositions, NASA borrows from calligraphy, ideograms, graphic design, and modern art.

NASA’s collaborations range from painting the streets with DOMA and FASE, to murals commissioned by renowned architect Clorindo Testa.

For more work by NASA:
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Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Nerf

Originally from Korea, Nerf has grown up in Argentina most of his life and has been painting graffiti for 15 years. Though his art is heavily influenced by the New York graffiti styles and hip hop of the 1970’s, Nerf is perhaps best known and admired for his distinctive style of 3D isometric forms.

Whereas many artists use computer software and masking tape to achieve the perfect angles and lines that make this 3D style visually pop off the wall, Nerf has reached a master’s level of skill, and paints his elaborate sculptural works completely free-hand.

Nerf’s pieces can be found blending into cohesive murals with street artists as well as lined up side by side along walls with other formidable graffiti writers. His abstract 3D style is incredibly versatile, and his futuristic landscapes of mutable shapes and bright colors enable him to blend seamlessly into murals of any artistic style.

For more work by Nerf:
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Pedro Perelman

Pedro Perelman is a member of FASE, a multi-disciplinary art, music and design collective which formed in Buenos Aires in 2000. Working with other artists, they pioneered the city’s street art scene. In his solo project, Perelman’s works are marked by their experimental character and graphic quality.

Perelman studied at the University of Design of Buenos Aires, where he has also worked as a teacher, and his design background has influenced both his murals and his more traditional artistic projects. His work, which displays a careful balance between organic and geometric forms, and incorporates both subtle and explicit elements, is carried out in a variety of mediums including canvases, walls, silkscreen prints, engravings and installations. The protagonists are often surreal characters, sleepwalking robots and synthesisers. The worlds depicted in his paintings provide a visual representation of Perelman’s other life – that of a musician.

For more work by Pedro:
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Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Parbo

Lucas Lasnier aka “Parbo” is a graphic designer and visual artist who was part of an entire generation of Argentine artists who took their talents in art and design beyond the traditional confines of gallery and commercial settings.

Having begun painting in the streets in 2001, experimenting with letter-based graffiti and stencil, Parbo ultimately gravitated towards large-scale muralism. Much of Parbo’s artwork is graphic design and character-culture inspired, though he also has a flair for stunningly realistic portraiture and bizarre installations.

In 2002 Parbo founded Kid Gaucho, a multidisciplinary design and art collective. The collective specializes in experimental and commissioned artwork and provocative installations as well as commercial projects.

For more work by Parbo:
Website
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Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Parquerama

Parquerama is a project from Matias Vigliano, a founding member of the DOMA collective.

Since DOMA’s formation in 1998 Vigliano has influenced the visual identity of the collective, injecting surreal imagery and ideas  into the urban landscape through painting, stencils and installations.

Parquerama is Vigliano’s individual project, and represents a distinctive graphic universe. A love of illustration, animation and influences from cinema and comic art inspire his designs, which include plush and vinyl dolls, books, illustrations and limited edition posters.

As a highly sought after creative mind Vigliano has worked for leading agencies, media and entertainment clients, and has earned a number of industry awards for his animations.

He continues to play an active role as part of the DOMA collective, creating installations and exhibiting throughout the world.

For more work by Parquerama:
Website
Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Pastel

Pastel is a painter and architect. His work is rooted in historic events and the physical places where they unfolded, developing these as themes through the lens of personal experience and interpretation.

In his compositions flora, fauna and natural landscapes are both descriptive and conceptual tools that represent a place and symbolize the events that marked it, resulting in artworks that stand as contemplations of the dialogue between mankind and space, and the confrontation between industry and the natural world.

Pastel incorporates a range of different methods and mediums in his art, including technical drawing techniques, watercolor and gouache. A harmonious balance between different styles and techniques characterizes his organic, figurative pieces.

For more work by Pastel:
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Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Plumas

Ignacio Gustavo Iturrioz, better known as “Plumas”, was born in the city of Neuquén in Argentina. He relocated to Argentina’s capital in 2004, where he completed his studies in architecture at the University of Buenos Aires. Surrounded by the burgeoning movement of graffiti and street art in Buenos Aires, Plumas discovered a passion for painting and public intervention. He went on to study painting with Gustavo Lichinchi and developed a body of work on canvas and in large-scale murals.

While deeply influenced by the expressiveness of the local graffiti movement, Plumas’ personal style first explored colorful abstract muralism before delving into fragmented, figurative works inspired by the nudes of renaissance painting.

For more work by Plumas:
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Poeta

Poeta began painting in the streets in the year 2000, taking part in the first waves of graffiti and street art to develop in Buenos Aires. He credits the barrio of Villa Ballester, in the province of Buenos Aires, as his greatest influence. There, alongside the artist Roma he spent his formative years, developing his style and nurturing his desire to transform his surroundings. While his background is firmly entrenched in graffiti culture, he developed a muralism that has evolved from the figurative to the abstract.

Poeta’s art explores color and form, in an abstract geometric style of saturated color and firm line. His striking puzzle-like compositions are inspired by his research in philosophy, mysticism and esoterica.

For more work by Poeta:
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Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Pum Pum

Pum Pum is one the best known artists participating in the street art scene of Buenos Aires, and another of a generation of artists to take their talents in design and illustration to the city walls. Beginning in the early 2000’s, while many of her contemporaries experimented with aerosol and letter-based graffiti or stencil, Pum Pum gravitated towards latex paint and brushes in a figurative, character-inspired muralism.

The iconic two-dimensional protagonists that define Pum Pum’s work are created with bold color and clean line, and are characterized by a mixture of the artist’s own eclectic influences; from Hello Kitty to legendary hardcore punk bands like Black Flag. A graphic designer by trade, Pum Pum creates murals and works on canvas, as well as unique illustrations and screen-printed series.

For more work by Pum Pum:
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Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Roma

Roma was amongst the first artists in Argentina to begin experimenting with graffiti. Inspired by hip-hop culture and New York style graffiti, Roma began his career as a writer in 1996 when the letter-based art form was first taking root in Buenos Aires. His style evolved over time and by 2000 he had traded in traditional graffiti for organic abstract muralism.

In both his indoor and outdoor works Roma creates elaborate detailed compositions with a mixture of abstract and figurative forms. He predominantly paints with aerosol, acrylic and latex. Much of his work, both graffiti & murals alike, is characterized by an exploration of form and colour, which stems from a love of improvisation.

For more work by Roma:
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Rundontwalk

rundontwalk formed in 2002 and was one of the earliest street art collectives to begin painting in Buenos Aires in the wake of the Argentine economic crisis of 2001. Composed of artists Tester Mariano (Tester) and Fede Minuchín, RDW became a pillar of the Buenos Aires scene, thanks in large part to contributions made by Minuchín, who works exclusively with stencil in his public work.

While stencil art in other countries became popular as a way of minimising time spent painting in the street, rundontwalk have taken full advantage of the relative tolerance shown to street art in Buenos Aires. Over time the collective’s works have become increasingly ambitious in complexity and scale, resulting in masterful stencils that would be impossible to put up in less permissive environments.

The work of RDW has been heavily influenced by punk and skate cultures and pieces frequently explore social themes, satire and politics. While the group often encodes provocative messages in their clever combinations of images, rundontwalk is equally well known for its playful works, especially its series of exotic, domestic and hybrid animals.

In 2006 they were two of a group of six artists who launched Hollywood in Cambodia, an artist-run urban art gallery in Buenos Aires.

For more work by rundontwalk:
Flickr
Available artworks in UNION Gallery

SAM

SAM is a Brazilian transplant to Argentina. His early paintings were heavily influenced by hip-hop culture and graffiti, which were prevalent in Villa Ballester, the province of Buenos Aires where he grew up. However, after having experimented with letter-based art, SAM ultimately developed a more abstract style of muralism.

SAM favours the streets as canvas and has a penchant for enormous walls. His work oscillates between monochrome and vibrant colour palettes while his compositions shift between the organic and the geometric. His style reveals influences from cubism, surrealism and futurism.

For more work by SAM:
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Sonni

Sonni is one of a number of artists who have used their experience in graphic design and illustration as inspiration for urban art in Buenos Aires. Together with other artists from similar backgrounds, Sonni helped to define a local movement that is referred to as muñequismo, a style of street art defined by its playful cartoon aesthetic.

Having studied graphic design, Sonni has also worked as an Art Director for animation and film companies. His artwork is a celebration of playful child-like imagination, often with a hint of irony. He seeks simplicity through the use of primary colors and a cast of cartoon-like characters elaborated from geometric figures.

Sonni creates with a range of mediums and supports, including public murals, illustration, acrylic on canvas, and wooden sculpture.

For more work by Sonni:
Website
Flickr
Instagram
Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Stencil Land

Stencil Land took to the streets of Buenos Aires in 2003, participating in the renaissance of politicized stencil art that developed in the wake of the 2001 economic crisis in Argentina.

True to his name, Stencil Land works exclusively with the medium of stencil, crafting original concepts through the elaborate manipulation of borrowed images. His pieces are at once accessible and provocative, and striking both in terms of their content and level of complexity and detail.

While stencil art in other countries became popular as a way of minimising time spent painting in the street, Stencil Land has taken full advantage of the relative tolerance shown to street art in Buenos Aires. Over time his works have become increasingly ambitious in complexity and scale, resulting in masterful stencils that would be impossible to put up in less permissive environments.

Stencil Land continues to be a fixture in the local street art scene of Buenos Aires. He is one of a group of 6 artists to run Hollywood in Cambodia, an artist-run street art gallery in Buenos Aires.

For more work by Stencil Land:
Flickr
Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Tec

Tec is a founding member of FASE, a multidisciplinary art, design and music collective, formed together with Defi and Pedro Perelman in 2000. Together with the DOMA art collective, Tec and FASE were the driving creative force behind a graphic design influenced form of street art, which stood out for its use of latex paint, bright colours, friendly characters and overwhelming positivity. The movement was hugely influential in defining the aesthetics and philosophy of early urban art in Buenos Aires in the years following the 2001 Argentine economic crash.

Tec’s work celebrates the raw and colorful eccentricities of Argentine life and culture in pieces characterized by a cast of bizarre characters, crude forms and unfinished textures. His playful and at times ironic art is developed in large-scale mural works, on canvas, in wooden sculpture and screen-printing.

For more work by Tec:
Website
Flickr
Facebook
Instagram
Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Tester

Mariano Tester Alonso belongs to the artist collective rundontwalk, together with stencil artist Fede Minuchín. A self-taught and collectively trained artist, his career began in the late 1990’s, developing within the local music scene before taking to the streets.

Tester’s compositions are a riot of abstract and popular phrases, stamps and lettersets combined with hand-drawn forms. Heavily influenced by the DIY attitude of the Buenos Aires punk rock scene, Tester creates elaborate works using analogue processes and a range of materials including aerosol, ink and acrylic paint.

In 2006 he was one of a group of 6 street artists to launch Hollywood in Cambodia, an artist-run street art gallery in Buenos Aires. In 2014 he helped create Club Albarellos, an art studio and gallery en El Tigre, Buenos Aires.

For more work by Tester:
Flickr
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Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Vomito Attack

Vomito Attack was an art collective that was formed in 2001 in response to the Argentine economic crisis and the aftermath that followed the September 11 attacks in the US.

Part artists, part social activists, Vomito Attack used urban art as a platform for making scathing commentary on political corruption and rampant consumerism, targeting both government institutions and global corporations. In addition to their caustic political stencils which featured heavy doses of satire and dark humour, the group was also involved in a practice called ad-jamming. The artists would manipulate and deface advertisements to distort and subvert their meanings.

Vomito Attack became notorious for running a fake political campaign under the banner of “Poder, Corrupción y Mentiras” (Power, corruption and lies). Utilizing the same tactics typically employed by political party activists, they promoted the fictitious PCM party with huge block letter messages painted along the sides of highways and main roads. They covered the city walls with their propoganda posters to draw attention to the outrageous levels of corruption in Argentine politics.

Zumi

Zumi began painting in the streets of Buenos Aires in 2006, as one of the initial participants in a series of collective street art experiments called Expression Sessions. Her background in fashion design has contributed to the development of a unique style of muralism that is colorful and feminine.

In her outdoor work Zumi takes inspiration from zen philosophy and nature, combining flora and fauna in fantasy landscapes created in aerosol and latex paint. Through her artwork Zumi creates oases that recall the peace of natural surroundings amidst the noise and pollution of the city streets.

For more work by Zumi:
Flickr
Instagram
Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Interview with bs.as.stncl – "Carton Pintado"

bs.as.stncl is a stencil collective made up of two artists working under the monikers NN and GG. They share backgrounds in printmaking and graphic design.

bs.as.stncl have a long history with the Argentine street art scene, and led the first wave of stencil art in the capital’s troubled streets following the 2001 crisis. Despite deliberately leave their work unsigned, their profile and following has grown over the years and their street work is immediately recognisable.

After an 8 year hiatus since their last solo exhibition, they returned to the mecca of Argentine street art, Hollywood in Cambodia gallery, for “Carton Pintado” (Painted Cardboard).

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NN: “Carton Pintado” emerged from us playing around with cardboard, sketching and experimenting. We liked the format so much it became the concept for the exhibition. Someone even said to us once (makes a mocking voice) “Ahh this is painted cardboard”.

GG: I liked the idea of using cardboard because it’s a challenge, it’s not an easy material to paint. It doesn’t absorb the colours of spray paint well, it’s really cheap, kind of crappy, it bends, it creases…The idea of creating art with it was fun.

NN: When we began to focus on the exhibition concept, we wanted to elevate the quality of work.

GG: All the works in this show are framed to give an artificial impression of quality, which plays with the original concept.

graffitimundo: Some works have specific messages or images, whilst others have very different themes.

GG: Yeah, we thought it would be fun to play with different shapes and we approached it with the intention of exploiting the technique. For example, there are some works where the drawings are not painted, but left as silhouettes, the form is only implied.

NN: In those cases, we want to direct people’s attention to the interplay between the design and material.

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graffitimundo: You once said your work has to have a message, even if it is only understood by you. Do you think that people will understand the message this time? Do they care?

GG: The name of the show is quite specific.

NN: And if somehow people see it and feel let down …

GG: (interrupting) That completes the concept!

graffitimundo: How would you explain the phrase “Carton Pintado” to a foreigner?

GG: There is a phrase in English that means the same thing – “Fool’s gold”.

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graffitimundo: Do you think the streets are lacking the rebellious stencils of the past? Does it feel noticeable?

NN: The rebellious stencil is there when it’s needed, to accompany any important moment for society. It’s not about rebelling for the sake of rebellion. Anyway, we always liked creating ironic stencils. Maybe now work is being made from an artistic perspective instead of a cynical one.

GG: Maybe we have this need within the collective to focus on irony. But I like the way other artists manipulate the stencil as a tool, for example I really enjoy “gigantism” (i.e. stencils of massive proportions).

Outside of Argentina, bs.as.stncl have been active on the international scene in recent times. In 2013, they were invited to participate in the European festival “Avant Garde Urbano”, sharing walls with renowned artists Vhils and Rodriguez-Gerada.

bs.as.stncl is part of the Hollywood In Cambodia (HIC) collective with artists rundontwalk, Stencil Land and Malatesta. Together they run Argentina’s first street art gallery.

“Carton Pintado” can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday from 18:00 to 21:00hs in Hollywood in Cambodia.

Interview by Ana Laura Montenegro

Hollywood in Cambodia
Thames 1885 (in the back of Post Bar)
www.hollywoodincambodia.com.ar

Tester ‘Bruma, a Todo Color’ in Galería UNION

Thanks for everyone who came along to the opening at Galeria UNION last night! Tester’s work is looking incredible. More photos coming soon.

To visit the gallery please send us an email at info@galeriaunion.com

UNION, Carlos Calvo 736 Buenos Aires, Monday to Friday, 12-6pm 

Tester ‘Bruma, a Todo Color’, opens 18 September in Galería UNION

Everyone’s invited to the opening of the new show at Galeria UNION on Thursday 18 September. ‘Bruma, a Todo Color’ is a solo exhibition from the extremely talented artist Tester.

Tester’s work crosses the line between the figurative and the abstract. The fear of emptiness and emptiness itself coexist in compositions created around abstract and popular phrases, stamps and lettersets combined with hand-drawn forms. Heavily influenced by the DIY attitude of the local punk rock scene, Tester creates elaborate works using analogue techniques, and incorporates spray-paint, ink and acrylic paint into works which suggest an ordered form of chaos. “Bruma a Todo Color” brings together 20 works on canvas and wood, from small to large format.

“Bruma, a Todo Color” obscures in order to reveal, taking us away from the familiar and directing us to the wanderings of our own imagination. The interpretation of Tester’s work is a continuous process, and the search for meaning within the chaos of his paintings completes the work whilst ensuring an enduring appreciation.

Mariano Tester Alonso is part of the collective Rundontwalk, the Hollywood in Cambodia gallery and the Club Albarellos gallery. A self-taught artist, his career began in the late 1990’s within the local music scene, after which he took his art to the streets before moving indoors to art galleries.

Galería UNION is an art gallery and project space in San Telmo. The space brings together artwork of South American artists in a celebration of contemporary and urban art. UNION is run by the graffitimundo team.

Location: Galería UNION, Carlos Calvo 736, San Telmo, Buenos Aires

Opening night: Thursday, September 18th, 5 – 10pm

UNION opening hours: Mondays to Fridays, 12 – 6pm

For more information: Marina Charles 15 3153 3932 //  uniongaleria@gmail.com

“I love the chaos that rain brings"

Photo: Arnaud Paillard

It’s been over a decade since Cabaio began painting on the streets of Buenos Aires, adopting stencil as medium. He’s since become one of the city’s leading stencil artists. graffitimundo interviewed Cabaio as he prepared for his first ever solo show, titled “La Lluvia” (The Rain”).

GM- What is the concept behind “La Lluvia”?

C- “Rain” felt like a metaphor to capture this moment in my life, when everything I’ve had pent up inside for so long can be released. Rain can represent strength, but also chaos, because you never know exactly when it will come. This exhibit is about these storms, the thunder and the downpours in my life.

GM- You’ve chosen the concept of “the rain” as opposed to “the storm”.

C- Yes, the rain is liberating. It brings relief – the calm that follows the storm. Rain is a shared experience that is at the same time different for every person. I love being out in the rain.

GM- You have said in the past that your work is influenced by images you’ve seen which have left their mark on you.

C- Totally. Some of my works contain personal references, which is what I meant when I said that the exhibition captures where I am at this moment. These are the works that best represent me at this time.

GM- What were the first things you painted in the streets?

C– I started painting with Nico (Vomito Attack). We regurgitated the information we were being bombarded with, collecting images and subverting them. That was our dynamic at the time: we would improvise with material that we found in the street. We started interacting with images that were already painted, and the work of others. We would use material we found in the streets, and play about with ways of layering different materials, colours and stencils. At the time the whole process was unplanned and unconscious. Over time I found myself intentionally moving towards simpler and smaller images. These days, my large format works are primarily created using fairly simple images.

GM- How often did you paint?

C– When we first started, we used to paint every week for a year. Then between 2004 to 2006, I painted only painted 2 or 3 times a year. I could only afford to buy the materials to paint regularly when I had money. Then in 2007 or 2008 I started to focus, when I went out I was more alert, always mindful of what I could paint and where. I looked for inspiration; walls and adverts which caught my attention. By then I was hooked and there was no turning back.

GM- At what point did your find the style you are known for as Cabaio?

C- Whilst I was between jobs (that had nothing to do with street art), I began buying materials and had more time to paint. At the time there wasn’t much variety in aerosols; there were only 5 colours available. Even though I hadn’t found my style, I really enjoyed painting. I’d go out to paint by myself at night, and had some really fun, chilled evenings. That’s when I said: “This is what I want to do, I want to keep doing this forever.”

A year before my show with Clara Domingas (“1%”, in Hollywood In Cambodia, 2008) I started feeling more comfortable about the work I was making. Different colour aerosols became available from Kuwait, and this revolutionized the way I worked. Domingas encouraged me to take painting more seriously, and her support was very important to me. Since then time I’ve been painting with more enthusiasm than I have ever had before.

GM- What did you study?

C- I studied architecture, but I quit at the start of 5th year. At that point I was already painting, and it gave me much more satisfaction so I decided to dedicate all my energies to it. Around that time I met Marina ( co-founder of graffitimundo) and we had a few meetings before graffitimundo was created. She sold one of my first works was sold. That made me so happy, I couldn’t believe it. I saw that the work spoke for itself.

GM- How much of an influence did your studies have your art?

C– It influenced me in terms of methodology. At university I learned to love what I do, and I learned to create work with meaning.  Sometimes I became particularly interested and dove into research on one visual style.  I’m sure that my studies in geometry have influenced my work.

GM- Are there other artists that are influential for you right now?

C- I’m very inspired by the readings that Clara Domingas has shared, for example those of the Brazilian psychologist and anthropologist Eduardo Viveiro de Castro.  I also love Walter Benjamin and read Cortazar over and over. In terms of visual artists who I respect and who blow my mind, I’d say: Banksy, Blek le Rat, Acamonchi.  With Acamonchi I really like the way he weaves images together, but I try not to view too much of his work because he’s such an important influence for me!

G- What can you tell us about the works we’ll find in the exhibit “La Lluvia”?

I hope that people can interpret the artworks’ messages, although I’d like everyone to make their own personal interpretation of the pieces. There’s one image of a trainer with a turtle that I only painted once before the show, which represents the idea of trying to force someone to give something what they can’t deliver. I prefer using images just once, as I get bored quickly.

GM- It’s interesting that you use a tool characterized by repetition while you’ve also said that painting an image more than once bores you.

C- Yes, it’s a contradiction but it’s true.  I feel comfortable with the medium but at the same time I would like to close this chapter. I am trying to expand the scale of my work as well as to experiment with other elements.  Right now, for example, I’m working with watercolour with the idea of mixing it with stencil.  I’m looking to break out of my comfort zone and that’s exactly what Chen Chen, the collective we’ve created with Clara Domingas and which is carried out between Buenos Aires and Salvador de Bahía, is about.  We push each other to experiment and to create using new tools and techniques.  That’s how I discovered that I like to draw.  These are phases we go through as well though, because some days I can’t even think of picking up a paintbrush while there are others moments when I want to go out and paint every day.

View the catalogue of Cabaio’s show at Galeria UNION here. Cabaio’s show closes 11 September at Galeria UNION, Carlos Calvo 736, Buenos Aires.

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Cabaio La Lluvia (19 of 6) copy Cabaio La Lluvia (2 of 17) H Cabaio La Lluvia (10 of 17) G Cabaio La Lluvia (7 of 17) D

Ana Laura Montenegro 

Cabaio exhibits in UNION

Here are some images of stencil artist Cabaio’s vibrant solo show which opened at our gallery, UNION, at the end of June. You can view the catalogue of artworks here.

If you’d like to view the show in person, just send us a mail to arrange an appointment: info@galeriaunion.com

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In a city known for its vibrant, rapidly evolving urban art scene – picture garage doors enlivened with splashy color, tall buildings covered in dreamy murals, brick walls tattooed with politically charged stencils – graffiti is no longer relegated the outdoors. The street art enthusiasts behind graffitimundo have opened UNION, a new gallery and project space dedicated to exhibiting the work of prominent urban artists in Buenos Aires and beyond.

Cabaio’s first solo show "La Lluvia" opens in Galeria UNION, 26 June

Galeria UNION is proud to present “La Lluvia”, the first solo exhibition from Cabaio.

Cabaio began painting in 2001 in the stencil collective Vomito Attack, unleashing dark humour and caustic socio-political commentary in the aftermath of the economic crisis. He currently works solo under the name Cabaio, and as part of the art collective Chen-Chen, together with Brasilian artist Clara Domingas.

Cabaio has a distinctive style, using multiple layers of stencils to create intricate and visually arresting works. For his first solo show, Cabaio has created a diverse collection of 20 artworks on paper, canvas and wood. The exhibition presents aesthetics and concepts developed throughout his painting career, both in the streets and his studio, in a deeply personal collection of works that range from the emotive and intimate, to the polemic and political.

The chaotic beauty of life in the city requires us to live with overwhelming levels of visual stimulation. Cabaio demonstrates a heightened sensitivity to his urban surroundings and  ‘La Lluvia’ acts as a form of catharsis for the artist. He channels  the volatile energy of the city, capturing its chaos and beauty which he transforms into unique works of art.

Opening: Thursday 26 June,  5pm-10pm
Closes: 28 August
Venue: Galeria UNION, Carlos Calvo 736, San Telmo, Buenos Aires
Opening Hours:  Monday, Wednesday & Friday 12-17hs
Please email us prior to your visit to arrange a viewing: info@galeriaunion.com

graffitimundo joins the Google Cultural Institute

graffitimundo is pleased to join Google’s Cultural Institute as a partner on Google’s new Street Art Project which launched today. graffitimundo is one of 30 global partners to contribute to this new platform which aims to document and preserve street art from around the world.

graffitimundo has uploaded more than 300 images to form a collection of some of the best examples of urban art from Buenos Aires, both past and present. In addition, graffitimundo’s curated exhibitions explore different aspects of the scene and its history.

The high resolution images can be viewed at high levels of magnification, revealing minute levels of detail such as brush strokes and wall texture. The images are available for viewing purposes only and the platform is strictly non commercial, all intellectual property rights remain with the artists.

Jonny Robson from graffitimundo says, ‘ The Google Art Project supports our work in documenting and promoting the Buenos Aires urban art scene. We have created a collection of works which give viewers from around the world an insight into this extraordinary scene.’

The project launched  with events in Paris and Buenos Aires. The Buenos Aires event will featured live painting and projections from artists Pum Pum, Cabaio and Chu.

Visit graffitimundo’s collection of works here.

Interview with Oz Montanía

The walls of Buenos Aires are a channel for politics, activism, art and expression and play an important role as a means of communication within the city. The city’s reputation for art and expression has attracted artists from across the world to paint in Buenos Aires, who come to paint and collaborate with local artists. Oz Montanía recently visited Buenos Aires and created a spectacular new piece working together with the artist ICE.

Oz was born in Paraguay in 1985, and has been immersed in art and illustration since his childhood. He first began painting in the streets at the tender age of 12, and by the time he was 17 he had developed an immediately recognisable style. He has since spent the last 8 years travelling the world, painting in Toronto, Santiago de Chile, Johannesburg, Cartagena, Sao Paolo, Lima and Zurich among others.

graffitimundo caught up with Oz while he was in Buenos Aires and he shared a little of his vision with us.

GM: When was the first time you painted in Argentina?

OM: – I had visited Buenos Aires for a design conferences, but the first time I came to paint here was back in 2009, and I painted with Ice, a local artist I met. We were invited to paint in a show called Sinvergüenzas (no regrets) in the Spanish Cultural Centre, painting alongside local and international artists.

GM: I know the art scene has developed a lot in Paraguay over the years. What’s the situation with policing? Is street art and freedom of expression controlled?

Paraguay doesn’t really share the same 30 year history of vandalism and street art that Brazil, Chile and Argentina all share. But 35 years of living under a military dictatorship has definitely left people with a desire to get out in the streets and paint. Police don’t really view it as vandalism, even if it’s done in broad daylight. It’s pretty relaxed in that sense, you can paint beside the Congress, in front of police stations and nothing happens. Of course there is always an exception, and the occasional isolated incident, but it is not common. And in Asunción there are loads of places to paint… abandoned houses, parking lots, ruined buildings etc

GM: Many visiting artists have told us that the aspect they find most interesting about the street art scene in Argentina is the interaction and collaboration between artists. What do you think of this perspective, and how did you feel about working with Ice?

OM: Working with Ice really changed the way I paint. Before I met Ice I think the way I painted was pretty basic – basic forms, shadows, light, outlines – a very comic book style. Ice is obsessed with the details – he uses spray paint like he’s doing tae-kwon-do! He’s very technically gifted, and that really inspired me to try things I hadn’t done before. We got along really well and we worked very productively together. We have since set up workshops in Asunción and Montevideo, collective exhibitions and we are both participating in events in Chile, Brasil, Uruguay and Peru. We have also done a few commissions. We have a great working relationship.

GM: Did anything happen to you while you were painting in Argentina that made you think “this could only happen here…”?

OZ: In Latin America in general, the people you meet while you are painting are very engaging, but Argentina it is something else! If you paint in the street, you have to get used to talking to every single persons who walks past, you answer a million questions and end up meeting the whole neighbourhood! People are always offering you water, ladders, beer, cookies even pot… I’m sure this might not happen everywhere, but it’s seemed to happen all the time whenever I’ve painted here.

Together with Ice, Oz has created hundreds of works in various parts of the world, and their latest collaboration can be seen in Buenos Aires, in El Quetzal (Guatemala 4516) bar in Palermo. Entry is free and the wall can be seen from 7pm onwards Tuesdays to Sundays.

To find out more about Oz and his work, visit www.facebook.com/pyrotaurus

(Interview by Ana Laura Montenegro)

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Double standards

On the 26th of May two minors were caught painting graffiti on the side of one of the government’s 1.27 million dollar train carriages. A press conference was held were it was stated that the parents of these two minors would be held responsible for the damage.

The Minister for the Interior and Transport, Florencio Randazzo made some incendiary remarks during a radio interview, in which he said that the the two young graffiti writers “need to be killed, this makes you want to kill them, how can they be so evil? If any kid of mine painted a train, do you know how I would beat his ass for being such an idiot?”

Speaking as a representative of a government which has modeled itself on tolerance, the minister’s remarks were unfortunate. Security Minister Sergio Berni quickly tried to dismiss his remarks, assuring the nation that the comments had been made through “fury and impotence at what had happened” and of course this “it is not what he thinks, and not what we in the government think.

The mayor of Buenos Aires Mauricio Macri jumped on the bandwagon, and said that anyone caught painting graffiti on the subte will be forced to remove it. Macri’s position on graffiti is interesting. His administration has organized the first international graffiti festival in Buenos Aires, whilst simultaneously assembling an anti-graffiti task force, charged with removing graffiti from national and religious buildings. He is also arguably one of the worst culprits of graffiti in the city.

Politicians have used public space for propaganda and promotion since the 1950’s. Whilst the practice of painting propaganda on public and private property is just as illegal as the graffiti painted on these trains, it is largely accepted as a feature of the urban landscape – and most importantly, it is paid for the very same political parties who decry the “vandalism” of public property.

Early graffiti writers in New York chose to paint trains because the trains enabled their work to travel the city and be seen everywhere. The practice of painting trains first took off in Buenos Aires in the 90s, but had died down until a sudden resurgence in recent years. The sight of these new trains covered with graffiti has provoked fury. The view from inside the trains makes an interesting contrast though. If you take a train ride anywhere in Buenos Aires and look out of the window, you’ll see the names of every political party, candidate and union leader looking to promote themselves splashed across the walls of the city.

Political painters and graffiti writers both paint public and private property without permission. Both write in colourful block letters. The original graffiti writers in Argentina are the politicians, and they are still the most prolific.

(Ana Laura Montenegro)

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STREET ART WALKING TOUR

Our walking tour takes you through the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Colegiales and into the hidden enclaves of Palermo Hollywood. This tour provides fresh insight into the modern movement of Buenos Aires’ street art, with a brief introduction to the country’s fascinating history and the culture of self expression in the streets.
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This tour is led in English and is subject to cancellation in the case of inclement weather.

– tours run every Tuesday, weather permitting
– starts at 3pm in Colegiales and finishes at 6pm in Palermo Hollywood
– includes our mini-guide to Buenos Aires
– includes 10% discount off of our exclusive silkscreen prints: view the catalogue
– $20 USD per person

STREET ART ORIGINS TOUR

This is our original and most popular tour. This tour provides a visually stunning introduction to the vibrant world of urban art in Buenos Aires and its compelling history.
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We explore the barrios of Colegiales, Chacarita, Villa Crespo and Palermo, neighbourhoods which feature a rich variety of art from leading local and international artists. While we visit amazing walls and take in examples of all the major styles, you will learn how the country’s history is connected to the movement, and how street art has evolved in Buenos Aires.
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This route will introduce you to artworks of many different artists, and will also give you the chance to see how the scene is evolving in different spaces, as we include visits to two urban art galleries. The tour is lead in English, and we explore both on foot and using our private air-conditioned minibus. The tour finishes in Post Bar in Palermo, home to the unique artist run street art gallery Hollywood in Cambodia.

– tours run every Wednesday, Friday & Saturday
– starts at 3pm in Colegiales and finishes at 6pm in Palermo
– includes our mini-guide to Buenos Aires
– includes 15% discount off of our exclusive silkscreen prints: view the catalogue
– $35 USD per person

URBAN ART & ACTIVISM TOUR

Our tour explores several areas of the south of the city, namely the historic and industrial barrios of La Boca and Barracas. These neighbourhoods are steeped in art and history, and home to some of the most huge and spectacular murals in the city as well as recent urban art festivals and artistic projects.
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This route combines the historical framework that has shaped the different facets of the graffiti and urban art movement of Buenos Aires with large scale projects far off the beaten path. This tour takes an in-depth look at the effect of politics, economics and social change on Buenos Aires street art and activism. You’ll finish the tour with a greater understanding of how Buenos Aires’ history has influenced public expression.
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This tour is lead in English and we explore both on foot and using our private air-conditioned minibus. The tour finishes in a central location in San Telmo.

– tours run every Monday
– starts at 2pm in La Boca and finishes at 5pm in San Telmo
– includes our mini-guide to Buenos Aires
– includes 15% discount off of our exclusive silkscreen prints: view catalogue
– $35 USD per person

PRIVATE TOURS

For anyone looking for a personalised and completely unique experience we offer private tours, where we can tailor the experience to whatever best suits your schedule and interests.
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If you would like to visit galleries and artist studios we work with the scene’s leading artists and would love to guide you through the city’s emerging art scene.
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We can also combine visits to stunning art in open air galleries around the city with a free-hand aerosol or stencil workshop lead by a local artist at our art gallery in Palermo.
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– tours available on request and tailored to your schedule
– tours available in English and Spanish
– private transport, including pick up and drop off anywhere in the city
– includes 20% discount off of our exclusive silkscreen prints: view catalogue
– contact us about options and pricing

UNION gallery opens in Buenos Aires

We are thrilled to announce the opening of our new gallery and project space, UNION.

After months of renovation and restoration to a beautiful period building in the historic barrio of San Telmo, we finally have a home. UNION will will bring together artists from across South America in a celebration of contemporary and urban art.

Our first exhibition showcases the incredible home grown talents of Buenos Aires artists. The artworks range from small to large format, in a variety of mediums.

You can view the catalogue here.

We’re delighted to be able to provide a new space for the local artistic community, and to continue working to support the urban art movement and artists of Buenos Aires and beyond.

If you’d like to come and visit us, or for any more information please send a mail to uniongaleria@gmail.com or call on 15 36 83 32 19.

UNION is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 12-17hs. Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment only.
Address: Carlos Calvo 736, San Telmo, Buenos Aires.

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Amor

Jorge Pomar, also know as “Amor”, is an artist who credits the diversity, chaos and vitality of the public realm as being his primary artistic influence. From an early age he has seen the streets as forum for play, experimentation and exploration, both as a skateboarder and a young graffiti artist. While in many respects he has gradually moved away from graffiti, the tag is still deeply rooted in his work as a fundamental element and action.

Esthetically, Amor evades definition, allowing himself to be inspired instead by different areas of focus which lead him in a wide range of creative directions. However, his work is characterized by the use of bold, primary colours which evoke an innocence that acts as a foil to the more powerful themes he tackles, such as war and capitalism.

Amor’s work offers a glimpse into the personal world of the artist, where symbols embody both a unique vision and a universality that coexist in his art. In addition to painting murals, he has delved into ceramics to create more sculptural pieces, and in 2015 made a documentary of his travels to Europe. His walls can be seen in places as diverse as Argentina, Ukraine, France and Colombia.

For more by Amor:
Instagram
Website

Elian

Elian Chali was born and raised in Cordoba, where he currently lives. His relationship with the streets began with adolescent tagging and although his background is in graphic design, as an artist he is self-taught. Elian’s work focuses on creating a dialogue with the urban fabric, letting the characteristics of the wall inform the piece. He identifies with urbanism and architecture more than muralism or graffiti.

Stylistically, his work is notable for adhering to a disciplined form of minimalism and abstraction, influenced by North American artists such as Sol LeWitt. Employing a parametric set of primary colours, the artist uses layers, overlapping and opacity to create geometric compositions that either reflect, engage with, or disrupt the planes of the built environment he works on. Latex is his material of choice and although he favours the streets over studio work, he is equally adept at working on canvas as he is on walls.

For more by Elian:
Website
Instagram

Ice

Once a student of fine arts and graphic design, Ice’s murals were initially influenced by hip-hop style graffiti. In the 1990’s when letter based graffiti first began to hit the streets in Buenos Aires, he developed a penchant for aerosol while remaining independent from the crews that began to form as part of the movement.

Inspired by the breadth of possibilities offered by muralism, Ice’s artwork has gravitated towards a wide range of figurative subjects. With flawless technique, Ice uses latex paint and aerosol to conjure up portraits of familiar faces and whimsical landscapes, lifelike bugs and animals, and his notorious mushrooms, which have popped up throughout Buenos Aires as a signature image of the artist.

Ice has painted murals and lead workshops across Argentina as well as in Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brasil and Peru. He has also participated in events such as Ciudad Emergente, Arte Patricios, Meeting of Styles Festivals, and Latido Americano, among others.

For more by Ice:
Instagram
Flickr

Nazza Stencil

Nazza Stencil (aka Nazza Plantilla) began painting in the streets in 1994. His introduction to stencil came through technical school rather than from street art, where it was presented as an efficient and economic technique for image reproduction and typography.

An artist at the crossroads between artistic practice and political activism, Nazza’s work is an aesthetic realization of his political ideals. His compositions have focused on issues such as the Argentine Disappeared (the estimated 30,000 disappeared during the last military dictatorship), the Grandmothers and Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (the association of women whose children and grandchildren were disappeared during this same period), and the silent destruction of Argentina’s indigenous cultures and peoples. Each of his interventions tackles a specific issue, developing it on an artistic level with the aim of inserting it into the public sphere.

For more work by Nazza:
Flickr
Instagram
Available artworks in UNION Gallery

Prensa La Libertad

Federico Cimatti created Prensa la Libertad in 2008. Having studied graphic design, he ultimately gravitated towards the letterpress printing system used in old school typography. Highly skilled in a medium now all but extinct, Cimatti uses vintage machines and collections of movable types and characters salvaged from defunct printing shops to create typeset works that both celebrate and reinvent traditional printing.

Fascinated by the minutia of day-to-day city life, Cimatti collects words and phrases from things seen in the streets and heard in idle conversation. These urban snapshots serve as inspiration for visually compelling works composed around the artist’s thoughtful minimalist verse.

An artist with the eye of a designer and the hand of a craftsman, Prensa la Libertad creates visually stunning works that transmit meaning through messages at times cryptic and always memorable.

For more work by Prensa La Libertad:
Website
Flickr
Instagram
Available artworks in UNION Gallery

 

Border crossing: Urban art, from the street to the gallery

Last month, Gachi Prieto Gallery exhibited“Instantes” by artists Defi (Gustavo Gagliardo) and Pedro (Pedro Perelman). The contemporary art gallery in the heart of Palermo has cultivated a fruitful relationship with urban artists since the gallery’s first landmark show of street art in 2009. At that time, it was one of the first commercial art galleries to open its walls to this kind of artwork.

Many of the talented street artists of Buenos Aires have honed their craft for well over a decade, and it shows. Artists boast an incredible skill set in a wide range of mediums and have well developed and distinct personal artistic styles. What for some started out as a hobby of interacting with the streets through art and intervention, has evolved over the years into a passion that knows no limits.

However, even for artists with incredible skill, talent, and experience, it can be difficult to find the point of crossover into the contemporary art world. Defi and Pedro, however, have found their way comfortably into the gallery setting and seem to fit right in. Their art maintains something of the vibrant and unpredictable nature of the urban context that has so inspired them, even when hung on spartan white walls.

The works by these two artists, who have formed the collective FASE together with artist Tec since the late 1990’s, have always worked well together. In the gallery the works by both artists are displayed in a boisterous mixture, spread across the gallery walls in an eclectic display of painted works on canvas and wood, works with mixed media, and sculpture boxes.

Pedro’s works feature his unique cast of iconic characters, at times in isolated snapshots and at times busy playing various archetypical roles on the stage of his detailed symbolic worlds. Defi’s works range from explosive abstract and highly gestural paintings to his minute magical universes constructed with stunning detail inside glass front boxes.

Whether works are created on street walls or on canvas, both artists continue to meditate on themes inspired by the heartbeat and character of the surrounding city and the nature of life in the urban context.

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As without, so within. "Fuerza" – a new exhibit by Poeta

Just like any big city, Buenos Aires is full of messages, from the street signs integral to the order of the urban landscape to the publicities that holler at us constantly as we make our way through the streets. In Buenos Aires a massive quantity of political messages are added to this basic level of visual noise as well.  This city, like many others in Latin America, has a very long tradition of political graffiti.  Throughout the city there is a dizzying array of official posters but also endless anonymous commentaries and huge organized propaganda paintings.

Maybe it’s no surprise then that street art often finds such a welcoming audience in this Buenos Aires.  In a city where most people will tell you that they cannot remember a moment when there were no political paintings, perhaps we’re grateful for the unexpected presence of an artistic mural created just because an artist felt inspired.

In the midst of so much noise, murals of bright colors and abstract forms, like those created by the artist Poeta, offer us a beautiful repose.  In the streets we’re surprised to discover a pure expression by someone who isn’t trying to tell us anything concrete or sell us anything, but just trying to make us stop for a moment in our tracks and contemplate.  This art invites us to step into another space in the middle of this chaotic city.

Here we have an example of an artist whose work translates easily both outdoors and in.  Poeta’s art has impact on and off the streets and there’s a clear coherence whether it’s created on a wall or on canvas.  Poeta is creating from a pure artistic impulse and his message manifests itself wherever he leaves his mark.  Where “traditional” graffiti has been defined by the nature of its context, in this case the artist has discovered his voice and shares his creative word wherever he happens to be.  Of course, our experience of his works changes depending on whether we discover it on a busy street corner or hanging in a gallery, but there’s a continuity and consistency in what the artist accomplishes through his art that is not dependent on context.

At the moment Poeta has an incredible exhibit on at the Honeycomb art gallery and project space.  Full of experiments in different mediums; from acrylic to watercolor and ink, artworks with bright colors and complex geometric forms call out to us from canvas, paper and wood.  Sizes range from small delicate works on paper to large impressive pieces on canvas, as well as the huge mural that greets us in the entranceway of the gallery.

Be sure and get out to visit the exhibit before it closes on September 14!

To arrange a visit, please write to info@inthehoneycomb.com – Exhibition Closing Event: Saturday 14 September, from 6pm to 10pm.

To see more work by Poeta, check out his website: www.christianriffel.com

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LOST AT E MINOR

The Talking Walls of Buenos Aires is a collective art show curated by Buenos Aires-based graffitimundo bringing together 21 leading Argentinian artists, such as Jaz, Poeta, Malatesta and Defi, who are invading The Fridge gallery in Washington DC with their beautiful work.

Buenos Aires invades Washington DC

On a sultry summer night in Washington DC the graffitimundo team took over the walls of The Fridge gallery, bringing the vibrant colours of the Buenos Aires urban art scene to the American capital.

The Fridge functions as a gallery, community and project space, and has built up an impressive reputation for showcasing unconventional art from graffiti & street artists.

We spent the week leading up to the show playing with power tools, cutting lumber for the frames and assembling the 70 pieces of artwork into a coherent order.

Our aim was to create a show which represented the different visual styles and artistic influences that make up the contemporary urban art scene in Buenos Aires. The show brought together works from artists with backgrounds in graphic design and illustration, punk, skate & stencil and abstract and figurative works from graffiti artists and muralists.

Curating a show with such a variety of different aesthetics, from the comic to the anarchic is always a challenge, but we were very happy with how it all came together. Whilst each artist has their own distinctive voice and visual language, collectively they express common themes and offer a glimpse of the city that has nurtured their talents.

The show will be open until Sunday July 28th. If you live in the DC area we’d love for you to see it.

For those of you who can’t make it, you can download the exhibition catalogue here: bit.ly/talkingwallsDC

Artwork can be delivered anywhere in the world. For any questions about the artwork, the show or artists just get in touch!

The Fridge: 516 1/2 8th Street SE, Washington, DC 20003

Open: Thursday – Saturday: 12pm–8pm  Sunday: 1pm–5pm

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White Walls Say Nothing finishes filming

After months of filming, we are very happy to announce that we have completed the first stage of production for our feature documentary White Walls Say Nothing.

It has been an intense and incredible experience. With a small crew of five people from three different countries, we conducted over 50 interviews and shot hundreds of hours of footage.

We started filming with a clear idea of who we wanted to speak to, and what we wanted to capture. Having spent several years researching art and activism we felt confident about the story and how to capture it. But despite all of our preparation, we were surprised to find that the project quickly took on a life of its own.

We interviewed artists we’ve worked with for years, many of whom are close friends. Without exception, every single interview brought us something new and unexpected. Sometimes it was a story we’d never heard, other times it was a perspective we hadn’t considered. Every interview opened up new lines of investigation.

The film gave us the opportunity to speak to a number of artists and activists from a variety of different backgrounds, and who have been active during different periods in history. On many occasions we were left in awe of the lives people have led and the actions they have taken. We began to see connections between artists and activists separated by generation and discipline. It became clear that even though the methods used and the context may be very different, there was a common motivating factor behind people’s actions.

We were very grateful for the wealth of knowledge that leading academics and historians shared with us. They gave us invaluable insights into the traditions which influence the relationship between action, protest, painting and public space, and helped us see how all the different elements in the story fit together.

In between interviews we explored the barrios and provinces of Buenos Aires. We captured the stark contrasts between the elegant neighbourhoods whose architecture and well heeled inhabitants inspire comparisons to European cities, and the complex yet vibrant barrios whose haphazard construction and eclectic personality represent a different side to this modern Latin American city. We looked to the streets for inspiration, to public space and the public themselves, whose faces and anecdotes provided enough material for a film of its own.

We are incredibly grateful to everyone who took part, who shared their time and their lives with us, and who supported the production of the film. We are certain that something incredible is going to come out of this and we are very excited to share it.

We are currently working our way through the hundreds of hours of material for the first stage of editing. We captured so much more than we anticipated that the film has already taken on another dimension. This is a story about art and activism in Argentina. But perhaps more importantly it is a story about resistance and the power of expression.

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Argentine urban art showcase in the USA

graffitimundo presents the group exhibition “The Talking Walls of Buenos Aires”. Opening Saturday, July 13th at The Fridge in Washington DC. This will be the first time Argentina’s unique urban art culture has been exhibited in the US.

Urban art in Buenos Aires reflects the city’s turbulent history and rich cultural heritage. Throughout the last century the city walls have been extensively painted by artists, activists, political groups and the public and have become an established and dynamic channel for expression.

During the last two decades several different artistic styles have developed. The devastating Argentine economic crisis of 2001 created a generation of young artists determined to take to the streets and reclaim their city. As they collaborated in a spirit of solidarity a new and distinctive visual language began to emerge.

“The Talking Walls of Buenos Aires” features mural art and original artworks from leading Argentine artists and art collectives, as well as video works and historical and contemporary photography portraying the urban landscape of Buenos Aires and seminal moments in the country’s history.

The exhibition celebrates a form of expression rooted in activism and a desire to transform public space, and in the process challenges conventional views on what graffiti is, what street art represents, who creates it, and why.

Artists

Buenos Aires Stencil / Cabaio / Chu / Defi / DobleG / Ever / Fede Minuchin / Gualicho / Jaz / Malatesta / Mart / Pastel / Pedro Perelman / Poeta / Prensa La Libertad / Pum Pum / Roma / Sam / Stencil Land / Sonni / Tec / Tester

Event information

The “Talking Walls of Buenos Aires” will open at 6pm on July 13th 2013 at The Fridge, 516 1/2 8th Street SE, Washington, DC 20003

Note to editors

graffitimundo

graffitimundo is an arts organisation which supports urban art in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The organisation works to promote this unique art scene and support local artists.

Contact: info@graffitimundo.com

THE FRIDGE

The Fridge DC is an art gallery, performance space, music venue and classroom located on Barracks Row in the historic Eastern Market neighborhood of Washington, DC.

The Fridge: 516 1/2 8th Street SE, Washington, DC 20003

Open: Thursday – Saturday: 12pm–8pm  Sunday: 1pm–5pm

Contact emma@thefridgedc.com

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Tester-rejas

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“Respiración” – new exhibition from Gualicho at Honeycomb

If you haven’t been to Honeycomb (a beautiful project space and art gallery in Palermo) to see Gualicho’s current exhibit, we highly recommend you do so before the show finishes at the end of June. This exhibition is a stunning collection of works by this elusive and eclectic artist, and an excellent representation of his style and multiple-medium expertise.

The exhibition is titled “Respiración¨ (Breathing). The first thing you see as you enter the space is an elaborately sculpted ceramic baboon face sporting a serene expression with its mouth slightly agape, perhaps taking the first breath of the show.

Gualicho’s works trace a path between the external and the internal world. Evident in titles like “Use your pain” and “Internal and external space”, the artist delves into our innermost processes, and explores the relation between the depths of human nature and the light of the waking world.

The exhibit is composed of works on canvas, found pieces of wood, screenprints and painted ceramic plates and tiles, featuring Gualicho’s typical palette of bold colors and mystical forms.

Moody moonlit landscapes stretch across large canvases, mysterious and haunting. Pieces rife with symbolism offer provocative glimpses into Gualicho’s dark inner worlds.

His screenprints feature labyrinthine worlds composed of organic and amorphous forms, which blend seamlessly with industrial components to create Gualicho’s surreal universe.

To see a catalogue of works from the exhibition, or to arrange a visit to Honeycomb gallery to see it in person please contact Honeycomb by email:info@inthehoneycomb.com

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DEFI: "Carnaval" at Hollywood in Cambodia

The first of three consecutive exhibitions by the FASE collective at Hollywood in CambodiaDefi’s “Carnaval” is a riotous display of vibrancy and colour.

Defi’s works consistently convey a kind of kinetic energy. Whether painting on canvas, wood or creating his intricate boxed miniature sculptures, his works express action and movement. Defi’s canvases have become more abstract in recent years, his trademark feline characters have been replaced instead by intense strokes of colour.

Through his miniature sculptures encapsulated in his ‘toy boxes’ as he calls them, Defi has explored the idea of converging energies in a more delicately narrative way. On the one hand the characters are appear to be insignificant miniature figurines, but at the same time, they draw us into their worlds and tell their own stories, inviting interpretation from the viewer. Every piece enacts its own drama – a sailor rowing out to sea in a tiny wooden boat, a lady waiting for her love while sitting on an old pick-up truck full of sunflowers, an idyllic Alpine scene hit by comic disaster.

These tiny risk-taking protagonists face their crises with stoicism. Defi captures that moment when time appears to stand still, taking on the roles of narrator and observer as well as artist, he subverts reality and encapsulates the action within his wooden structures, the moment preserved forever.

There is humour, joy and playfulness encapsulated in these pieces which aptly reflect the Carnaval title of the show. This is art that has been clearly influenced by the artist’s own culture and country and the human condition itself – so even in a gallery context, retains a sense that it’s come from the streets.

It could be said that Defi’s work channels important aspects of life in Buenos Aires. The pieces reflect characteristics of the city itself – the chaotic energy of the metropolis where people live for the moment, pinballing from one crisis to another. But it’s the perfect moments amongst the crisis and chaos where real beauty can be found.

Defi’s exhibition “Carnaval” at Hollywood in Cambodia, 1st floor, Thames 1885, Palermo Buenos Aires. Open 6-9pm Tuesdays – Sundays.

The exhibition closes this Sunday 9th June so this is your last chance to catch the show. If you’re in Buenos Aires, do not miss this!

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Beautiful new mural from Mart in Palermo

A few years back, the facade of a house in Palermo received a makeover, by way of a mural for Coca Cola being painted on it. The owner had given permission for a local artist to paint the mural as part of their branding campaign, but on the understanding that once a year was up, the artist would come back and paint something new.

Once their time was up, their advert was replaced by a strange a controversial mural by Ever. Continuing his exploration of the aesthetics of Chinese propaganda, Ever painted a piece depicting the communist visions of Chairman Mao, besides two children looking towards the Virgin Mary. Unbeknownst to Ever, he inadvertently represented Mary using the iconic image of the Virgin de Guadalupe. The church of the Virgin de Guadalupe was just a few blocks away. The Pastor and parishioners were unimpressed and threatened retaliation, but the piece remained untouched for over a year.

The owner of the house decided to make his property into a public art space, and invite local artist Mart was invited to paint a new mural. Having whitewashed the wall, Mart made the interesting choice to create a monochromatic piece. A glance at the street art and gallery works featured on Mart’s website, flickr & facebook makes it clear that he has a serious love affair with color, so it was surprising to see him create an extraordinary detailed piece using just one colour of aerosol. The effect is striking, and calls attention to Mart’s mastery of aerosol and his unconventional techniques.

As a young artist with little money to spend on materials, Mart learned how to make the most of every drop of paint he had access to. Whilst his contemporaries used aerosol for block fills and colour gradients he became proficient at painting clean narrow lines, creating delicate pieces with subtle details.

Mart’s latest piece is a beautiful example of how a city’s context and environment can influence its art. Mart has grown up in a city with an abundance of walls to paint, and a tolerance towards public art. The limiting factor to him painting was his lack of access to materials. This limitation drove him to experiment with unorthodox painting techniques, and develop a striking freehand style. With just a few cans of one single colour Mart has created a huge and beautiful work of art, showcasing his skills and paying tribute to the  barrio which has nurtured his talents.

Ever's controversial mural

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The Hidden Walls of Buenos Aires

One of the things we love most about the urban art scene in Buenos Aires is how it hides in plain sight.

Towering murals are hidden within industrial neighbourhoods and humble historic barrios, their only audience the local workers and residents who pass them. Even in the center of the city thousands of people will walk past murals, oblivious to their presence. Art is such an established part of the urban landscape that for many it fades into the background.

Jocelyn Mandryk is the co-founder of Foto Ruta, who run brilliant photography tours of Buenos Aires. Last year she joined for a private tour, and we explored the art hidden throughout  the city.

Her photographs demonstrate the stunning variety of work found in a city in which every barrio has its own story and distinctive spaces for artists to paint.

You can see more work from Jocelyn Mandryk’s personal portfolio here:
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Puente: A Public Art Project in Córdoba

When discussing Argentine urban art, there’s a tendency to talk only of Buenos Aires. However there’s also a wealth of artistic talent to be found outside the capital. The city and artists of Córdoba for example, deserve recognition for their own developing urban art movement.

Tec hails from Córdoba and his stunning Ruta 9 project from 2010 aimed to beautify the derelict buildings alongside the abandoned Cordobese motorway, with the desolate geographic expanse providing an impressive backdrop.

And in the last year or so, the street art scene in Córdoba has been given a huge boost  thanks to the efforts of Kosovo Gallery, its first urban art gallery, co-run by the street artist Elian.

In addition to producing many wonderful exhibitions in the last year, Kosovo has also been instrumental in developing public art schemes, helping to establish the strong link between the gallery space and the streets and people of the city.

Puente (Bridge) is the title of their latest public art project which is supported by the local government and businesses. The idea of Puente is to use street art to encourage urban renewal. Alongside the painting of murals by the talented artists Martin Ron, Elian, Gualicho and Peter Quatrix, areas will be improved with more street lights, cleaner streets and better access for people with disabilities.

This is a great example of how artists, local councils and corporations can work together to beautify cities and in turn make the streets more enjoyable and secure environments.  In a country where street art is accepted and welcomed by the communities there is such great potential for harnessing artists talents and using street art to create positive urban change.

Kosovo will be sending out an open call for Argentine artists interested in participating in future editions of the project.

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Pop Up II: Lo Desconocido

For a week in March the fleeting magic of street art moved indoors,  bringing color and vibrant company to a period building in La Boca.  This event is the second of its kind produced by artist Poeta, following the success of the first pop up art gallery which took place two years ago in the neighborhood of Las Cañitas.

This time around Poeta teamed up with curator Lucas Zambrano to create an even more ambitious temporary art installation and gallery.  During the days leading up to the opening Pop-Up II: Lo Desconocido (The Unknown) was abuzz with activity as artists transformed massive walls and cavernous rooms with murals, installations and framed works. The event featured work from 30 different artists, including Kid Gaucho + Federico Felici, Mart, Dardo Malatesta, Pelos de Plumas,Amor, Ever, Jaz, Roma, Elian, Poeta, Nerf, Shonis, Cabaio Stencil, Corona, Trystan Bates, PumPum, Georgina Ciotti, and Zumi among others.

This edition of the pop up called upon the participating artists to challenge themselves creatively:

“Jump into the unknown, forget about everything we know.  A refuge is merely a place of security, and therefore a limited space where there are no surprises.  What we’ve already learned distances us from the adrenalin-filled uncertainty of throwing ourselves with abandon into the unknown.”

For artists accustomed to working outdoors, where their work is at the whim of the elements and the local public, the prospect of moving indoors could be viewed as an easy transition into a comfortable, controlled environment. The event sought to challenge this perception by encouraging artists to push themselves, maintain the ephemeral quality of their art and experiment in this new environment.

Artists responded to the challenge by testing out new materials, processes and innovative mediums. Ever created a massive mural of Chairman Mao which combined mural artwork with a delicate collage created using found materials – discarded paper and plastics. Mart created an interactive installation in the form of a wooden bicycle and rider which visitors could operate. Poeta created one of his beautiful geometric abstractions, adding strips of luminescent neon tape which gave a new dimension to the piece as the light faded.

Under a bright full moon the closing party stretched on into the early hours of the morning as artists, friends, family and neighbours from La Boca came together in a celebration of ephemeral and unconventional art.

Installations:

Kid Gaucho + Federico Felici / R3NDER + FIEND / SebaAcampante / Mart + Ale / DardoMalatesta

Mural Art:

Itu Plumas + Amor / Ever / Jaz / Roma / Elian / Malegría / Poeta / Nerf / Shonis / Cabaio / Pol Corona /

Exhibiting Artists:

Trystan Bates / Diego Roa / PumPum / Franco “Jaz” Fasoli / Rudi Caretti / Georgina Ciotti / Marina Zumi / Martín Lapalma / Yorke / Elian

Concept: Christian Riffel

Curation: Christian Riffel, Lucas Zambrano

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POP UP Gallery in La Boca

A couple of years ago the artist Poeta lead a remarkable art project. For a single weekend a dilapidated house in Las Canitas was transformed into a pop-up gallery, featuring murals, installations and artwork from a selection of urban artists.

This year Poeta has found a new location for the project – a beautiful period building in a secluded part of La Boca. For the past few days a host of artists have been working on the exterior and interior walls, creating murals, installations and gallery space for artwork and video works.

The opening event took place last Friday – giving visitors a chance to get to know the space, view some of the works in progress and a selection of gallery artwork on display.

Tonight (Wednesday, March 17th) is main event – the closing party, and the first and possibly only opportunity to see the completed installations and murals.

This will be one of the most impressive urban art events of the year. Do not miss!

"White Walls Say Nothing" production update

We have just finished the third week of filming our documentary “White Walls Say Nothing”.

We’ve travelled the length and breadth of the city, capturing the faded opulence and the urban sprawl, and we’ve met with political activists, experimental art collectives, graffiti writers and muralists.

It has been an intense and exhilarating experience, and we’re really happy with how the production is developing.

Here are a few stills from the last few weeks. If you’d like to follow the progress of the shoot we upload images to our tumblr at the end of each day of filming.

Photos from top:

Fede Minuchin of rundontwalk in Congreso / Poeta and Roma in Ballester /  Juan Carlos Romero and Ral Veroni  / Jaz and Ever in their studio / Ever / Malatesta in Hollywood in Cambodia / Corona and Nanook in Constitucion.

All photos by Michael Lockridge 

Pop Up Art Show

We love the opulent space at The Oasis Clubhouse. Last week we had a lot of fun putting on a pop up art show, featuring works from a selection of urban artists. For the last few months we’ve been working hard on the pre-production for our documentary White Walls Say Nothing, and putting on the show was a great way to focus our energy on a different project.

We were very proud to display works from Cabaio, Chu, Defi, GG, Gualicho, Jaz, Malatesta, Mart, P3DRO, Pastel, Pum Pum, Roma, Sam, Sonni, Stencil Land, rundontwalk & Tester. We transformed the elegantly designed space into a riot of colour and contasts, and were happy to host a packed opening night.

The show will be on for another week – if you are interested in visiting the show please contact us!

You can download a full artwork catalogue from the show here.

CIVILIAN GLOBAL

Some of the most intriguing and beautiful [graffiti art] can be seen in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The local graffitimundo collective – founded in 2009 – is a group of like minded artists, curators and accidental gallerists.

 

 

HYPERALLERGIC

This week, filming started on a feature-length documentary called White Walls Say Nothing (Paredes blancas no dicen nada in Spanish) that aims to capture the history and contemporary vibrance of Argentine street art.

"White Walls Say Nothing" begins filming

We know we’ve been pretty quiet these last few months, but we have been anything but idle. Following the success of our Kickstarter campaign we’ve  been working hard to plan out the next stages of the documentary.

Our researchers have been digging through video & photographic archives for material which will bring Buenos Aires’ past to life. We have scouted locations, arranged interviews and diligently planned the logistics of the shoot. We have also been planning for the future, and working to secure the funding we need to take us beyond production.

Our crew are now assembled and ready, and we are about to begin eight weeks of intensive shooting, interviewing, shadowing and exploring. We’ve spent over two years working on this film, and it feels like everything we have done has been building up to this moment. We are unbelievably excited to get started, and we’ll be posting regular updates throughout the shoot both on this blog and on our White Walls Say Nothing Tumblr

It’s an incredible feeling, knowing that we are making this film thanks to your support. We couldn’t have got here without you, so once again – THANK YOU ALL!

graffitimundo & the white walls crew

(artwork in main image by rundontwalk)

MILK MADE

If you’d like to see the history of Buenos Aires then look no farther than its streets, where the city’s colorful and sometimes tragic past is painted on the walls.”

New collaboration between Ever & ROA

We got to spend some time with the artist ROA over the Christmas period. A very cool guy and an incredibly talented artist whose iconic paintings of animals grace the walls of cities around the world.

Roa painted three pieces in Buenos during his stay. A partially skinned animal now hangs on the terrace above Hollywood in Cambodia gallery, a sloth occupies an abandoned building near the studio space shared by Jaz, Ever & Pastel, and during his last few days Roa and Ever painted a remarkable piece on the front of a squatted building in Palermo Viejo.

The collaborative piece is titled “The people feed communism to the beast”.

Roa paints animals which are native to the countries he visits and which hold a symbolic relevance to the context in which he paints, whilst Ever uses the aesthetics of Chinese propaganda to explore the relationship between ideological fantasy and reality.

The surreal image of Chairman Mao’s disembodied head being offered to an elephant seal is both visually arresting and intriguing in its symbolism.

See more from Roa on his flickr, and more from Ever on his website.

SMART PLANET

Marina Charles remembers the exact piece of graffiti that motivated her and Jonny Robson to found Graffitimundo, a Buenos Aires company that gives street art tours and promotes Argentine graffiti artists.

Kickstarter campaign – thank you!

We are truly humbled by the incredible support we’ve received for our Kickstarter project. As of Sunday night we met our financial target for the campaign, and have secured the essential funds we need to complete filming. This film has been a labour of love for us from the start, and we’re so happy that we’re going to be able to finish the film and do the story justice. To everyone who has backed this project, promoted it and helped make it possible – thank you.

We’ve just a few hours to go until the end of the campaign, and would still love for more people to get involved. We still have amazing rewards to offer backers. Any additional funding we receive at this stage will go towards making the film even better. It will gives us more time to film, more resource to organize painting sessions and even more opportunities to connect with artists outside of Buenos Aires

Whilst Kickstarter is coming to a close, we will still be campaigning to raise funds for editing, animation, post production and all the things we need to do to sculpt the raw footage into a finished film.So we hope you will continue to spread the word! The more people we can involve in this project, the better it will be for their support

Gracias y abrazos a todos!

Incredible artwork from Tester

Tester is an enigmatic and entirely self taught artist, and is one half of the artist collective rundontwalk. One of Buenos Aires’ most celebrated urban artists, Testers’ style is influenced by punk culture and firmly rooted in the art of sketching and freehand painting as opposed to conventional letter-based graffiti.

With his unique and intuitive visual style, Tester possesses a sense of creativity unaffected by conventional cultural and artistic norms. He incorporates a number of different styles and techniques into his work, combining his love of painting with stencil and screen printing.

Improvisation is essential to his process, and whilst Tester has filled dozens of sketchbooks, the majority of his paintings on canvas and found objects are created in the moment.

His most characteristic works are dense and explosive, and tend to straddle the boundary between figurative and abstract. Tester frequently integrates stamped words and lines of text into his pieces, but insists that there is no meaning to be found, or at least none encoded intentionally. Packed into his pieces are strange animals, bizarre faces and abstract phrases that hint at meaning but defy attempts to grasp it.

Here are some examples of Tester’s stunning work. Pledge $500 USD to the White Walls Kickstarter campaign and you’ll be rewarded with a medium format (50×70 approx) piece of original art.

For more information visit our project page: http://bit.ly/whitewallssaynothing

 

Image-173554-full

Image-173555-full

"Talking Walls" in The Malba

We are delighted to be hosting a talk in the Malba this evening titled  ‘The talking walls – reflections on urban interventions’

The talk will feature a series of discussions from key artists and academics. Participants are: Juan Carlos Romero, Ral Veroni, Claudia Kozak, Alfredo Segatori “Pelado”, Dano, Pastel, Jaz, Hollywood in Cambodia crew, FASE + DOMA.

For more information check out Malba’s page here.

At the end of the talk we’ll be presenting the trailer for our documentary “White Walls Say Nothing” which is the first film to explore urban art and activism in Buenos Aires.

Tickets are selling out fast so be sure to arrive early to secure a seat.

‘Paredes que Hablan’ Monday 22 October 6-8pm in the Malba, Av. Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Buenos Aires

Entry is $40 pesos or $20 for Friends of the Malba or students with ID

All proceeds go to the Constantini Foundation 

AUSTIN CHRONICLE

‘White Walls Say Nothing’ Plans to Paint the Screens. Kickstarter for documentary about Buenos Aires street artists.

The Roots of Urban Art in Buenos Aires

The contemporary urban art scene in Buenos Aires is a product of the city’s turbulent history and tradition of public expression. To understand the role it plays in public life we need to examine the roots of this form of expression, and challenge preconceptions about what graffiti and street art represent.

Using art to connect with the masses was once a pretty revolutionary idea. Almost 100 years ago a socially and politically motivated art movement was born in Mexico which quickly spread throughout Latin America. This movement used public space to communicate with, engage and inspire the public by injecting art into their daily lives.

Mexican muralism left an important mark on Argentina, but due to the repressive political climate at the time, the Mexican muralists who travelled to Argentina were unable to paint the large scale public pieces that characterised the movement.

Faced with the impossibility of transplanting large scale public muralism in the country, Mexican artists such as David Siqueiros instead adapted to the unique local environment and its own particular needs and ultimately introduced the technique of stencil instead. With this technique he empowered the early movements of political painting that he saw in urban centers with a more efficient and productive method with which to challenge the dictatorship of the time.

Local artists, like Antonio Berni, were inspired by Mexican muralism and responded to the repressive climate by developing mobile murals – large format pieces painted on transportable canvases which could be shown in public.

Throughout Argentina’s troubled history its people have found themselves subjected to a traumatic cycle of democracy, military dictatorship and economic catastrophe. This cycle of repression has ultimately nurtured the desire for expression within the Argentine public. Through repressing the public’s right to express themselves, military regimes contributed to the public’s understanding and appreciation of the value of freedom of expression.

Explosions of demonstration, protest and action in the public space were widespread during the regular periods between military rule. Argentina began to develop its own visual language of protest and resistance, and the streets became a vital channel for public expression.

With such a turbulent history it is no surprise that movements of political graffiti and activist art have been important fixtures in Argentina throughout the past century.  The streets have been filled with posters, stencils, paintings and graffiti of all kinds for as long as anyone in Argentina can remember.  The only periods in Buenos Aires’ history when the streets were empty of expression and the walls remained white where when people were being forcefully repressed.

Understanding this tradition of expression changes how we view everything in the streets of Buenos Aires.

The stencil has almost 100 years of history as a tool for activism and expression.  When stencil art exploded onto the streets in the aftermath of the 2001 economic crisis, it drew upon the symbolic power the stencil holds within Argentine society.

When the streets became suffocated with propaganda and negativity following the economic crisis, art collectives such as DOMA & FASE tried to restore positivity to public space by creating artwork which broke up the monotony of political graffiti. They targeted neglected parts of the city and painted colourful cartoon characters at enormous scales – simple, vibrant images which contrasted with their surroundings. It was a bold concept which helped redefine the relationship people had with public space. However it’s a concept that is lost on anyone who doesn’t appreciate the context in which these artists were working, and can’t see beyond the characters themselves.

One of the most striking aspects of the art scene is the sheer scale and complexity of some of the street paintings. Abstract works cover entire buildings in a sea of colour, whilst towering figures stare down from the sides of residential apartment blocks. Some works are painted with permission, some are not. Visitors to the city struggle to understand how such feats are possible without extensive planning, or how artists can work during the day without being arrested. It’s a valid question, but to understand the city’s tolerance for expression, you need to understand the country’s history.

We’ve spent four years sharing the stories of the walls of Buenos Aires. One of the most rewarding aspects of our work is being able to transform the way people look at the walls, the art, what it communicates and what it represents.

Through our documentary “White Walls Say Nothing” we hope to capture more of these stories and bring them to a wider audience. They are stories that deserve to be shared.

If you are interested in this documentary, please consider supporting our project on Kickstarter.

"White Walls Say Nothing" Kickstarter Campaign goes live

For the past four years, graffitimundo has been dedicated to building the profile of Buenos Aires’ thriving urban art scene, working in close collaboration with a network of its leading artists.

Two years ago graffitimundo began a project to document the scene and explore its roots. We began to research the evolution of urban art, unearthing archive footage from different eras in the city’s history. We have interviewed a broad range of artists, capturing their art, their vision and their stories. Our aim is to make a feature documentary which explores urban art and activism, and the changing role of expression in public space.

We have a brilliant team that has put two years work into this project. But in order to finish filming, and truly do the project justice we need some financial support, to cover some of the essential costs of production.

To help support our project, we have launched a fundraising campaign through the online platform Kickstarter. For anyone unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it is a funding platform for creative projects. The beauty of Kickstarter is that we can involve people in the production of our film and reward their support at the same time.

You can visit our kickstarter page until October 31st, to learn about our documentary and make a donation in exchange for unique rewards, including original artwork from some of the scene’s leading artists.

Kickstarter functions on an all-or-nothing premise. We are giving ourselves 30 days to reach our fundraising goal, and if we fall short, we get nothing. So even if you don’t feel you could contribute much – please know that every dollar counts! And every effort you make to help promote the project helps us reach new potential backers.

The full kickstarter project link is here: kck.st/whitewallssaynothing

Here’s a trailer for the film we want to make. With your support we can make it happen. We hope you will back our project!

LDN GRAFFITI

Photo Gallery of “The Talking Walls of Buenos Aires” exhibition 09/09/2012

BROKEN CULTURE

Broken Culture reports on graffitimundo’s London exhibition ‘The Talking Walls of Buenos Aires’ at London Newcastle Project Space

CLARIN

“The Talking Walls of Buenos Aires”, una exposición que explora la cultura de arte urbano de Argentina, se verá en el London Newcastle Project Space

HOOKED

This fantastic show opened last Thursday to a packed out crowd which considering the scale of the space was pretty impressive.

"The Talking Walls of Buenos Aires" urban art exhibition

Our exhibition “The Talking Walls of Buenos Aires” opened last Thursday at Londonewcastle Project Space. We had an incredible opening night, are very proud to have been able to bring such vibrant and unique art to London.

Huge thanks go to everyone who came to the event, who bought art and supported the Buenos Aires art scene.

Special thanks go to Mart, Zumi, Roma & Poeta for bringing colour and buena onda to the streets of London, to the amazingly talented artists and photographers who participated in the show, to Londonewcastle for letting us use their incredible space, to our sponsors Gaucho, Argento Wine, Ap Art, Montana & End of the Line for their generous support and to everyone who helped us promote the show.

If you are in London (or anywhere nearby) the gallery is open every day from 12-7, closing 7pm on Thursday 13th. The address is Londonewcastle Project Space, 28 Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DP.

You can download a full catalogue of available works from the show here. If you see anything you like please let us know! All reasonable offers will be considered.

"White Walls Say Nothing" documentary

“White Walls Say Nothing” is a feature length documentary we are producing about art, activism and expression in the streets of Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires is a city like no other. Its unique culture has been shaped by its turbulent history, creating a city full of contrasts and contradictions. Nowhere is this more evident that in its walls.

graffitimundo was born out of a desire to support the city’s extraordinary urban art scene and the artists who had inspired us. We were captivated by the city walls and the stories each artist had to share with us.

As we began to immerse ourselves in the history of Buenos Aires’ walls we discovered that they did much more than showcase the talents of a generation of young street artists. The walls were a channel for expression, art, activism, propaganda and public opinion. They had been used to challenge dictators, denounce human rights atrocities and had broadcast the stories the media wouldn’t touch.

We have spent three years researching the city’s urban art culture, working with artists, activists, academics and the public to better understand the role the city walls play. We have all made a huge commitment to making this documentary, but have reached the point where we need some financial support to keep going. To help achieve this we’re going to launch a kickstarter campaign which we hope will secure the essential funds we need to cover the cost of producing the film.

For anyone unfamiliar with Kickstarter – it’s a funding platform for creative projects, where rewards are offered to backers in return for their financial support. We have some amazing rewards to offer, including original artwork from some of the scene’s leading artists. We hope you’ll support our project!

We’re currently putting the final touches on the documentary trailer, and will be launching the kickstarter campaign on Monday, 1st of October. More details soon! Until then, here are a few stills from the film…

graffitimundo presents: The Talking Walls of Buenos Aires

(Artwork shown above: Pedro Perelman & Tec)

We’re very excited about the new exhibition we are preparing, opening Thursday September 6th at Londonewcastle Project Space in London.

The exhibition is titled “The Talking Walls of Buenos Aires” and explores Argentina’s unique culture of urban art. The show will feature mural art and original artworks from leading Argentine artists and art collectives, together with video works and historical and contemporary photography portraying the urban landscape of Buenos Aires and seminal moments in the country’s history.

The exhibition will celebrate a form of expression rooted in activism and a desire to transform public space, and in the process challenges conventional views on what graffiti is, what street art represents, who creates it, and why.

The following artists will be taking part:

Cabaio Stencil / Chu / Corona / Defi / Ever / Fede Minuchin / Gonzalo Dobleg / Gualicho / Jaz / Malatesta / MartNasa / PastelPedro Perelman / Poeta / Prensa La Libertad / Pum Pum / Roma / SAMStencil Land / Tec / Tester / Zumi

This will be a unique opportunity to view an incredible body of work from some truly exceptional artists, and for anyone living in or around London it is not to be missed! We look forward to seeing you there….

Private view: Wednesday September 5th from 6pm (RSVP only)
Opening night: Thursday September 6th from 6pm-10pm

The exhibition is free and open to the public daily from 12-7pm, from September 6th – 13th at Londonewcastle Project Space, 28 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, London, E2 7DP

You can download the press release here

For more information please contact info@graffitimundo.com

Elian

We first met Elian last year, when he travelled from his native city of Cordoba to paint at last years Meeting of Styles festival in Buenos Aires. He painted a subtle and accomplished abstract piece for the festival which explored form and colour.

We’ve become big fans of Elian, and have picked out a few of our favourite pieces below, all taken from his flickr and painted during the last two years. You can see a clear evolution in his work, as he explores 2D and 3D forms, colours and the potential for interaction through transparency.

Elian has a solo show at Hollywood in Cambodia (Thames 1885, Palermo), opening on Wednesday 27 July. The show will explore the relationship between material goods and the human spirit through transparency and contrast.

It sounds intriguing – if you’re in Buenos Aires do not miss! There’s more info on the show on Facebook here

The cultural centre of the Borda

(Image: “El Interno” by Alredo Segatori)

The Borda is a public psychiatric hospital sited in an unwelcoming building in Barracas. The hospital is home to over a thousand patients, and provides services to thousands more. It is Argentina’s leading psychiatric institution, but the buildings are dilapidated and have been without gas for over a year. Were it not for the staff who pay for electric heaters out of their own pockets, the building would have no heating.

The cultural centre of the Borda has developed rapidly during the last few years. A long abandoned building within the hospital’s grounds has been converted into a multi purpose space with a theatre and exhibition hall filled with the art brut (outsider art) of the patients, together with paintings and murals from the staff and local artists. Visitors are welcome, and a number of artists and art collectives work with the centre and the patients. I visited with Joss from foto-ruta who has been working with the centre for a couple of years, and has recorded its slow transformation from a derelict building into a colourful and active cultural centre.

Last year facebook lit up with rumours that Banksy would be visiting the centre to exhibit his work. Thousands of people from across the country announced their intention to make a pilgrimage to the Borda to see Banksy’s work in person. The hype surrounding the event spiralled out of control until Banksy’s representatives quashed the rumours that he would be attending. Irrespective of how the rumours started, the intense interest surrounding the fictitious show helped highlight the fact that the Borda has an active cultural centre which they are rightly proud of, and which deserves more attention and support.

A local artist once told me that nearly all of the most important artistic activities in Argentina had invariably happened through the solidarity and motivation of the public. Since the state and institutions can not be relied upon for support, people simply do things themselves. A lack of budget is countered with resourcefulness and enthusiasm.

The physical condition of the Borda is shameful testament to institutional neglect. What is undeniably impressive is the commitment of the staff and volunteers. They make the work being done in cultural centre, conducted in the shell of an abandoned building, all the more inspiring.

For more info on the cultural centre visit espacioculturalborda.blogspot.co.uk

Roma & Sam create the giant of Ballester

I spent an afternoon with Roma last week, and he took me around his neighbourhood of Villa Ballester to show me some of his latest pieces. I always like visiting Ballester. It’s just outside of the capital and is full of beautiful street art which looks especially striking in the context of Ballester’s modest low rise residential streets.

Roma’s latest mural is a collaboration with Sam. Both artists favour abstract forms and vibrant colours and their styles complement each other perfectly. The piece is gigantic. A 40 metre giant, composed of swirling shapes and psychedelic colours reclines against the wall of a printing warehouse. Each section of the giant has been beautifully detailed, and each body part is a work of art in itself.

It’s incredibly difficult for photos to do the piece justice – there is no way to recreate the sensation of walking along a quiet residential road and discovering a 40 metre giant. The only people who will ever really experience the full impact of this piece are a handful of local residents, which is exactly how Roma wants it to be. This humble barrio is slowly transforming into what could be called the abstract graffiti capital of Latin America.

Jonny Robson

Roma & Sam create the giant of Ballester

Roma & Sam create the giant of Ballester

Roma & Sam create the giant of Ballester

New piece from Ever for Open Walls Baltimore

One of the most inspiring aspects of our work is watching artists’ styles develop over the years. We first met Ever back in 2008, and immediately warmed to his cheeky sense of humour and friendliness. At the time he was painting portraits of chihuahuas combined with ex-lovers all over Buenos Aires, and you could clearly see a touch of his personality coming through his surreal paintings.

His recent works have a different tone and feature creative juxtapositions of strikingly realistic portraits together with abstract forms. This theme has been incorporated into his latest piece for Open Walls Baltimore, where he has painted an extraordinary mural that spans the length of a building.

The mural was inspired by a comment Ever heard on a bus during the swine flu crisis. Public transport in Buenos Aires can be a little overcrowded at the best of times, and during the swine flu crisis tempers ran high. A man boarded a local bus trying to sell trinkets to the passengers, and noting that the passengers were glaring angrily at sneezing child, he began his sales pitch with the line “remember, the body is just a suit to be worn upon the earth”. The line may not have sold him many trinkets but it made a lasting impression on Ever.

Taking inspiration from this idea, Ever created a collage with Rosanna Bach which explored the relationship between the mind, the body and the soul. The collage became the basis for this mural, a stunning piece which is testament to Ever’s skill and ability to make ideas work at enormous scales.

We’re very happy to be able to share some photos of the mural taken by legendary photographer Martha Cooper, whom Ever was very honoured to spend time with during his time in Baltimore.

Ever is in high demand at the moment, and will shortly be heading to paint at festivals and exhibitions in Spain, Germany & London over the summer. We’re looking forward to see what he paints!

All images are copyright of Martha Cooper. 

ever open walls baltimore

ever painting at open walls baltimore

APARTMENT THERAPY

Thanks to an informative tour by the folks at Graffiti Mundo, I was able to get an insider’s view and learn some of the stories of the artists whose work you see all around the city.

"Arte Patricios" – open air art gallery

Parque Patricios is a barrio to watch. It’s a fairly traditional, residential neighbourhood boasting some beautiful turn of the century architecture, a large park and a newly opened subte line. A huge amount of investment has gone into the barrio in recent years, and one of the latest projects has been to develop an an entire neighbourhood block adjacent to the park into the new site for Banco Ciudad.

Arte Patricios was an innovative event which brought together dozens of artists over a single weekend to create an open air art gallery around the the perimeter of the construction site for Banco Ciudad. Wooden boards were attached to the metal walls surrounding the site, creating a gallery of empty spaces for the participating artists. Some artists focused on painting the board itself, whilst others incorporated the surrounding wall into their pieces.

We turned up late on the last day of the event having got lost en route. Whilst Parque Patricios is a barrio to watch, it’s also apparently a barrio that can be difficult to get to (according to our taxi driver anyway). So unfortunately we didn’t manage to capture all the artwork from the event – but happily if you’re interested in checking it out, the artwork will remain in place for the next 8 months whilst the bank is built, and then following completion of the site the artwork will be auctioned off.

From the little we caught it seemed like a great event with an interesting concept – transforming an inherently ugly construction site into something attractive for local residents. There were some beautiful paintings and a friendly vibe as artists, their friends and local residents enjoyed the art.

Stencil Land arte patricios

Amor Arte Patricios

Martin Ron Arte Patricios

Cabaio Arte Patricios

P3DRO Arte Patricios

Pelos de Plumas Arte Patricios

Pum Pum Arte Patricios

Malatesta Arte Patricios

Poeta Arte Patricios

Roma Arte Patricios

Corona Arte Patricios

Tester Arte Patricios

Chu + Defi + Tec in Choque Cultural Sao Paulo

The Buenos Aires artists Chu, Defi and Tec open their new exhibition at Choque Cultural in Sao Paulo on Saturday 28 April.

These three early pioneers of Buenos Aires street art have been collaborating for over 10 years, since they met at the University of Buenos Aires. Sharing ideas based around the motto ‘Do It Yourself’, they formed the art collectives Doma and Fase, and went on to play key roles in the artistic movement which responded to the 2001 economic crisis in Argentina.

The vibrancy of their art, pared with its bold simplicity engaged the public, and demonstrated the power that art has in transforming public spaces. Their early interventions played an important role in defining the relationship between the artists, street art and the public.

Though their provocative styles have a natural resonance with the streets, Chu, Defi and Tec work on a wide range of formats. The artists have deeply unique individual styles, but maintain a collective ethos – creating collaborative work that transcends the individual artist and transforms spaces whether they’re inside or out. The new exhibition at Choque Cultural provides an insight into how their art has developed after a decade of explosive interventions.

“BsAs” from Tec, Defi and Chu @ Choque Cultural
Saturday 28 April – 2 June 2012
Choque Cultural, Rua Joao Moura 997 Pinheiros choquecultural.com.br

images from top: chu, tec + defi

"Pájaro" – new exhibition from Poeta

“Pájaro” is the new solo exhibition from Poeta at Hollywood in Cambodia gallery.

Poeta is one of a generation of young artists who began painting graffiti in the 90s, alongside Roma, Jaz, Ever & Mart. Like his contemporaries Poeta’s style and technique has evolved over the years, and his letter based pieces have made way for figurative and abstract creations.

For his first solo show, Poeta reflects on freedom and space using the metaphor of the bird, its relationship with the city, its freedom to explore and the place we define as its home. This concept is visualised through a series of delicate watercolour paintings which explore the relationships between colour, form and space.

“Pájaro” will be running until the end of May and is open to the public from 6-9pm, Tuesday to Sunday.

There’s a beautiful video to accompany the show which we’ve embedded below, and you can see more photos from the exhibition on Poeta’s flickr.

(Hollywood in Cambodia / Thames 1885)

Jaz + Ever

We’re really excited to present Jaz + Ever, a new exhibition at The Oasis Clubhouse. The show opened on Tuesday 20 March and will be running for 2 more weeks.

Jaz (Franco Fasoli) & Ever (Nicolas Romero) are two of the leading artists to emerge from the Buenos Aires urban art scene.

Buenos Aires is an extraordinary city. Its turbulent history and long standing tradition of popular, public expression has promoted a climate of tolerance, respect and admiration towards public art. Whilst street art and graffiti is often characterised as vandalism and a visible symbol of urban decay, Buenos Aires represents a new paradigm – a city with a thriving urban art scene built upon a foundation of respect, in which the lines between graffiti and muralism have become blurred.

Jaz and Ever have developed as artists in a city which has nurtured their talents, allowing them to experiment in an environment free from the repression which inhibits urban art in other international cities. Both artists began by painting letters, inspired by the global culture of graffiti. But over time they decided to move beyond the established conventions of letter based graffiti, in pursuit of their own styles, techniques and method of interacting with the public.

An artist should not be defined by the surface on which they paint. Both Jaz & Ever have a long standing relationship with urban art, but they are not defined by their decision to paint in public space. Each artist has developed a distinctive visual language, and their styles and techniques have been shaped by their street paintings. However both artists are equally comfortable projecting their concepts onto canvas, wood and other more traditional supports.

graffitimundo has the pleasure of presenting original artwork from Jaz & Ever, in an exhibition which pays tribute to the work of two truly remarkable artists and the scene from which they have emerged.

If you’d like to visit the exhibition, just email us at info@graffitimundo.com and we’ll arrange a viewing.

"A las chapas" – new exhibition from Malatesta

Malatesta is a member of the Hollywood in Cambodia (HIC) crew alongside rundontwalk, bs.as.stncl & Stencil Land. Together these artists have been responsible for shaping the development of stencil art in Buenos Aires over the past decade, and helping define its distinctive aesthetic.

Malatesta’s new exhibition showcases both his talents as an artist, and his unconventional techniques. All of the pieces on display incorporate techniques from stencil art. But instead of taking a box cutter to cardboard or plastic to create his images, Malatesta took a screw driver to metal panels.

“A las chapas” features works that have been scratched into pieces of metal found lying in the street. The scratched designs have been oxidised, transforming the images into rusted scars. The grittiness of the found materials and rust coloured designs is offset by the muted pastel colours the panels are decorated with. Its a very unusual combination of techniques and it produces striking results.

There are a few images from the exhibition below, and you can find a full set of images on facebook here

But if you can, it’s much better to see it in person. “A las chapas” is held at Hollywood in Cambodia gallery until the end of March.

(Hollywood in Cambodia / Thames 1885 / Open 18-21, Tuesday to Sunday)

a las chapas exhibition malatesta buenos aires stencil art

a las chapas exhibition malatesta buenos aires stencil art

Neo-muralism? Intriguing new piece from Ever

With his classic, painterly style Ever’s murals have always attracted attention. Part of what makes his pieces so intriguing are the subjects of his paintings.

On walls throughout the city you can find huge portraits of former lovers and his brother. More curiously you can also find portraits of Chihuahua dogs, Chairman Mao and a crack dealer from Los Angeles called Miguel, whose police mugshot on google images caught Ever’s eye.

A four metre portrait begs some questions. The most obvious being “why is this here and what does it mean?”

This is part of what we love about Ever’s work. He plays with expectations of what public art is supposed to represent. A four metre portrait of Ever’s brother usually leads people to conclude that he must be dead, and the painting is an homage. A huge mural featuring the face of Chairman Mao leads people to assume that the artist has a political agenda. And the smirking profile of Miguel the crack dealer leaves people wondering who this character is, and what he has done to merit being beautifully recreated at scale.

A recent trip to Mexico has left Ever inspired by the power of muralism, and looking for new ways to interact and communicate with the public through his paintings.

Following on from his portraits of Chairman Mao, his latest piece uses a visual aesthetic found in Chinese propaganda posters. The piece counterpoints a communist propaganda poster celebrating a new bridge and railway line with a waving golden lucky cat – a mass produced piece of plastic found the world over.

The text at the bottom of the image explains that children are observing the progress of a communist city, following the arrival of capitalism. Ever explained that he wanted to represent a clash of cultures and the contradictions it produces. China lives the contradiction of a communist regime embracing capitalism, whilst Latin America wrestles with its indigenous cultural roots and its history with Europe.

There are lots of interesting personal touches to the painting. It’s inspired by Mexican social realist muralists, but Ever has chosen to use images from Chinese propaganda because it suits the aesthetic he’s been exploring.

The text below the image is written in French, because Ever attributes his political perspectives to the time he spent in France.

And whilst this is a mural with a message, inspired by history and painted beautifully in a classic style, it’s location says “graffiti” as opposed to “institutionally sanctioned mural”. The mural is fairly well hidden by a tree, and is painted on the front wall of a squat, next door to a busy parilla.

Nerf cubed

(para versión en castellano, click acá)

Graffiti can be a challenging term to define.

Is it any marking scratched into or painted on any flat surface, as the latin word “grafito” itself originally indicated? Is it an illicit letter based form of art, painted in aerosol on walls & trains? The Buenos Aires based artist Nerf claims the title graffiti writer, but is perhaps best known for his futuristic abstract style which defies categorisation.

Nerf first began exploring graffiti when he discovered the New York graffiti movement and hip hop culture in the late 90s. He quickly mastered the use of aerosol, and developed a style that rivalled the best writers in terms of technique, style and complexity.

Though Nerf continues to use his name as the basis of many pieces, employing his own unique stylized approach to lettering, he has also developed a parallel style that crosses over completely into abstraction. Fascinated by forms and the way they fit together, Nerf uses toy blocks and puzzles as his inspiration for complex isometric 3D forms.

Creating three dimensional forms on a two dimensional surface requires an extraordinary amount of practice, patience and skill. Many other artists rely on sketches and painters tape to help them create an image and manage perspective. Some will even use computer modeling software & projectors to create an image. The precision of the lines and angles is fundamental, as well as the subtle development of light and shadow, and the layering and shading of colors done to achieve the impressive visual effect. If any of these elements is even slightly off, the impact is lost completely.

Whilst many artists incorporate 3D elements in their pieces, very few are able to work as intuitively and spontaneously as Nerf. Without the aid of a sketch, guides or any visual aids, Nerf approaches walls with nothing more than the colours he’s chosen for the day. His organic 3D masterpieces are created completely freehand.

Nerf’s development as a writer and an artist reflects a broader evolution within the scene. As with all art movements, graffiti has evolved as writers tested the boundaries and experimented with new techniques.

There are writers who insist upon a strict and narrow definition of what graffiti is and isn’t, and many have little tolerance for pieces which deviate from “old school” letters.

Nerf has no qualms about describing himself as a graffiti writer, whilst continuing to adapt and change his style. Neither does he have any issues painting with other artists from very different backgrounds. The mutability of his 3D cubes allows him to mesh with just about any style, and create spectacular and unique collaborative murals.

When all is said and done, “graffiti” much like “street art” is just a label. Labels conjure up certain things to certain people. There are broad and narrow interpretations of what labels mean, and interpretations change between cultures and over time.

Nerf’s work isn’t defined by his style, his techniques or the locations in which he paints. Nerf’s work is ultimately defined by Nerf himself.

Melissa Foss

nerf buenos aires graffiti

nerf buenos aires graffiti writer

nerf  buenos aires graffiti artist

cubes by buenos aires graffiti artist nerf

nerf buenos aires graffiti artist

Mejor en bici: bike tours of Buenos Aires street art & graffiti

We love cycling, and have wanted to run a bike tour for ages. So we’re very happy to have partnered up with the excellent people from Biking Buenos Aires and now run a tour on two wheels every Sunday afternoon.

Riding through the streets is one of the best ways to get to know the barrios of Buenos Aires. Cycling around gives you a different perspective on the urban walls, and is a great way to explore and find hidden street art pieces.

Many of the artists rely on their bikes to help them scout out new walls to paint. Some artists like Gualicho even take their paints with them as they cycle, so that they can start work straight away whenever they find a good spot.

For those interested, the graffitimundo bike tour lasts about 4 hours and is $35 USD for the tour, bike & helmet hire and refreshments. We take a leisurely ride around some of the lesser-known spots in Palermo before heading up to Villa Crespo to see fresh pieces by artists such Mart, Jaz, Zumi, Ever, Nasa, Nerf, rundontwalk & Stencil Land to name but a few.

As with all our tours,  our close relationships with artists and intimate knowledge of the scene allows us to reveal the stories behind the art, the different styles and techniques on display together with the cultural and historical context of the movement.

The tour is run in collaboration with the Biking Buenos Aires crew, who keep everyone safe on the road, maintain the bikes and make sure we’re topped up with water, maté and biscuits.  For more images of the tour, the Travel Chica has some great shots on her blog.

Just shoot us a mail if you’d like to join us, a shiny playera bike and the colourful stories behind the walls await.

(All images are by Mart, and are taken from his flickr)

street art in buenos aires by mart

street art in buenos aires by Mart

The pride of Ballester – Roma & Poeta present "Díada"

“Díada” is the new exhibition from Poeta & Roma, held in the Museo Casa Carnacini in the heart of their barrio – Villa Ballester.

Villa Ballester is an unassuming barrio with an interesting history, located just outside the city limits of Capital Federal. In the early decades of the twentieth century Villa Ballester flourished, attracting wealthy European families, intellectuals and artists. Ballesters’ contemporary reality is a fairly chaotic jumble of retailers, businesses and newly-constructed housing blocks. However, despite its modern transformation the barrio retains a number of period buildings and its artistic character.

One of the most striking aspects of the barrio is the graffiti and art which cover its walls. If you visit by train, one of the first things you notice is the enormous mural Roma painted on a building near the opposite platform. If you come by road, you can’t fail to miss the stunning psychedelic murals painted by Poeta, Sam & Roma as you cross the railway. Venture further into Villa Ballester and you’ll discover murals and graffiti everywhere.

Poeta & Roma belong to a generation of artists who first began writing graffiti in the mid 90’s. Over time this generation experimented with techniques, materials and concepts, and their creations spanned from spray-painted letters to figurative and abstract compositions painted with everything from tar to blood.

For the exhibition “Díada”, Poeta & Roma were invited inside an important Ballester institution – the Museo Carnacini. The building itself is the former home of the painter Ceferino Carnacini, who built the house a hundred years earlier. The building has been beautifully restored, and features engravings and paintings from Carnacini on the ground floor, with a large exhibition space on the first floor.

“Díada” is a testament to Roma & Poeta’s talents as artists and their journey from childhood to maturity. The main exhibition space is full of stunning large format pieces from the pair, but our favourite part of the exhibition was a wall covered in photos in an adjoining room. The photos documented a lifetime spent painting in the streets. From the first ever pieces of graffiti they painted to their most recent murals, the photos documented each step taken by two teenage graffiti writers towards becoming the artists they are today.

One of the main aims of our project is to share the context to Buenos Aires’ urban art scene. The city’s art will always be impressive for its aesthetics, but for us it has always been just as important to provide the story of how it came to be there, who painted it and why.

“Díada” is a beautiful exhibition of Roma & Poeta’s work, made even more engaging through the presence of a visual journey depicting their development as artists.

Diada, Casa Carnacini, Calle 110 (Pueyrredón), 2720, Villa Ballester. 

Huge new mural from rundontwalk

Here are a few photos of the spectacular new mural from the Buenos Aires art collective rundontwalk, created with the support of Roger Waters.

The massive mural in Palermo features a number of enormous animal stencils from Fede Minuchin, set against a colourful backdrop of swirling shapes and vines painted by Tester.

Fede Minuchin has been responsible for releasing a host of strange, often mutated animals into the street of Buenos Aires over the years. We’ve managed to capture a number of them in a facebook album titled the Buenos Aires Zoo.

The two artists who make up the collective are both prolific in their solo projects, and its a rare treat to see them collaborate together on a piece of this scale.

street art  in buenos aires by rundontwalk

street art by rundontwalk in buenos aires

Things we loved in 2011

2011 was a great year for urban art in Buenos Aires.

Hundreds of remarkable pieces were painted throughout the city, and the year seemed to be filled with inspiring projects and spectacular exhibitions.

We couldn’t even begin to pick out favourite individual pieces, so here are some of the collaborations we loved in 2011.

* * * * *

The transformation of the Konex

Back in early January Tec, Pum Pum, Jaz & Fede from rundontwalk created a spectacular collaborative mural on the towering walls of the Konex cultural centre.

Whilst each artist has a distinctive style and approach they were able to work together to fill the space with a host of surreal characters, including giant stencilled marsupials, smiling cats, lion masked wrestlers and a fairly terrifying looking gaucho on horseback.

We spent spent three days filming with the artists, and created an album of photos documenting one of the largest murals ever to be painted in the city.

* * *

Plaza Zinny

Nestled in the quiet back streets of Palermo Viejo lies Plaza Zinny – a small, walled plaza at the corner of Gascon & Gorriti.

Plaza Zinny was not a place of outstanding beauty. The walls of the plaza hinted at a mural which may have been painted many years ago, but had long since been covered by several hundred layers of political graffiti and the tags of local graffiteros.

Mart saw the potential in the space. He had grown up in the barrio, and knew people on the local council who gave their permission for him to paint there. And so one weekend Mart joined Jaz, Ever & Poeta and took on the huge walls surrounding Plaza Zinny.

Through our relationship with Sinteplast we were able to provide paint for the project, and the local council provided scaffolding. But ultimately the project was lead by the artists. They put their time, money and talents into the project and created something beautiful for the barrio.

We documented the process in a photo album you can see here.

* * *

The Turbo Parade

Turbo was a much loved institution in Buenos Aires – one of the few galleries which supported street artists and provided a space for them to exhibit their works.

The closure of their Palermo gallery marked the end of an era, which they saw off in style in a raucous costumed street parade through Palermo Hollywood.

The event captured the spirit of Turbo and the “buena onda” of the scene. Artists, friends and family joined together to parade through the streets in costume, on bicycles, waving flags and playing instruments.

It was an amazing party, and a reminder that its not just the art – its the artists and their spirit that makes Buenos Aires truly special.

Read more about the parade here.

* * *

Pop Up Gallery

The concept behind the pop-up galley was a great – a group of urban artists stage an intervention in an abandoned period building in Las Cañitas, transforming it into a  gallery / installation for one weekend. But with Red Bull hosting the event, it could have easily become a cynical youth marketing exercise.

Fortunately, the event proved to be a huge success. The building was remarkable, the art stunning. Branded presence was  discrete and kept to a minimum. The project was lead by artists, and each artists was given full control over how to approach their space. Red Bull might have only been doing it to market their product, but they helped create something beautiful in the process.

More on the Pop Up Gallery event here.

* * *

Casacuberta

Casacuberta is a quiet residential passageway in the Parque Patricios. Earlier last year the residents of Casacuberta reached out to stencil artists from the Hollywood in Cambodia gallery with an offer – they would provide all the materials, tea, biscuits and buena onda they could, if the artists would consider painting their homes.

The offer was accepted, and several houses have been completely covered in intricate stencil art from bs.as.stncl, rundontwalk & Stencil Land. Casacuberta has become the stencil counterpart to Calle Lanin (a passageway in Barracas where the houses are covered in colourful mosaics) and another great example of a project made possible through the mutual respect between artists and the wider community.

More photos from Casacuberta here

* * *

Fuera de la Línea

We loved the Fuera de la Línea exhibition. Curators Lucas Zambrano & Soledad Zambrano took over the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Rosario (more commonly known as the MACRO), and put on an extraordinary exhibition of paintings, murals and installations from a broad selection of artists from Argentina & Brazil.

It would have been easy for this exhibition to have labelled itself as an exhibition of street art. Street art is media friendly and currently falls under the global spotlight of “things that are cool”. The participating artists were all well known for their urban art and shared a long history working in the streets. But instead of focussing on the physical context in which the artists paint, the exhibition focussed on something else the artists have in common – they had all consistently pushed the boundaries with their art.

Street art draws much of it’s impact from its context, but once you get over the fact that there’s art in the streets, you’re left with the much more interesting question about what the act of its creation implies. Once you started to look beyond the walls themselves, you can explore the different methods of expression and the way context has shaped and refined techniques.

We loved this exhibition because it wasn’t about celebrating the fact that art had been painted in the streets. It celebrated the work of  artists who challenged conventions, broke rules and worked outside the lines.

Read more about the exhibition here.

* * *

Garibaldi Pum urban regenration project

A two block passageway between Boca Juniors football stadium and the tourist hotspot Caminito was mainly used as a toilet for local dogs and dumping ground for rubbish. This changed thanks to an ambitious project called Garibaldi Pum organised by Fundacion X La Boca.

A group of artists were invited to work together to transform the passageway, and in doing so help regenerate a small part of La Boca outside of the heavily policed tourist zone. Over the course of a week, artist from different background with very different techniques transformed the forgotten passageway and made it into an outdoor art gallery.

Garibaldi Pum showed how art can be used to regenerate an area. An ugly forgotten part of La Boca was made beautiful, and attractive for tourists and residents alike.

Read more about Garibaldi Pum here

* * *

Street Arte BA 2011

Two great events from Street Arte BA this year.

The first was a repeat of the excellent intervention they staged last year at La Oxygena. A large and eclectic group of artists came together to transform both the outside walls and inside spaces in a disused Oxygen factory in Once, turning a disused industrial space into a fairly spectacular art installation.

They later returned to the space for their recent exhibition graffiti en canvas brought together a diverse group of artists together for an exhibition of murals and framed pieces.

We have lots of images from the first painting session here, and a post on the recent exhibition here.

* * *

Tecnópolis

Argentina’s sprawling arts and technology fair was the setting for some of the more impressive pieces painted this year. The sheer scale of the site and the size of the warehouses offered a number of artists huge concrete canvasses on which to work.

More info on tecnopolis here, plus you can see a full set of images on our flickr here

* * *

Meeting of Styles Buenos Aires

The Meeting of Styles urban art festival revitalised tired walls and transformed public spaces throughout the city. The three day event saw graffiti writers and street artists fly in from all over the world to collaborate with local artist in transforming the walls and public spaces of the city.

Buenos Aires enjoys an incredible reputation for street art. It is a city full of walls waiting to be painted, with a strong spirit of collaboration between artists, and public which supports expression and creativity. The event built upon the reputation Buenos Aires enjoys, and brought together artists from a wide variety of backgrounds to create some exceptional work.

More about the Meeting of Styles festival here

2011 was a great year. We’re looking forward to seeing what 2012 brings.

Street Arte BA: Graffiti en Canvas exhibition

(para versión en castellano, click acá)

We love Street Arte BA.

Over the years Street Arte BA developed its own distinctive visual identity and “onda”. Since its beginnings as a huge painting session, the vibe of Street Arte BA has been inclusive and experimental. Their events bring together artists and collectives from different countries, backgrounds and from all ends of the spectrum of visual art.

Their latest exhibition is held at “La Oxigena”, a former oxygen factory managed by the Fundacion Rosenblum. The site has played host to a number of interventions, and the exterior and interior of the building is covered in graffiti, stencils & murals from a number of local and visiting international artists.

Venturing inside the building, past the workshops and artists studios on the lower floors and the building starts to feel like an art squat. The peeling paintwork and crumbling plaster has been partly restored through the course of each painting session, not to mention radically transformed by dozens of artists, each seemingly pursuing their own vision of how to improve the space.

The exhibition is titled  “graffiti en canvas”, and features an eclectic mix of canvas & framed pieces, murals and installations from a number urban artists. The artwork is spread across two floors, both featuring a large central space and a number of smaller adjoining offices. Each office is in a different state of repair, and has its own unique character thanks to the remarkable variety of styles and techniques on display.

Elegantly framed pieces hang next to paint spattered installations. Some artists have chosen to restore the dilapidated offices, others have interacted with the building’s obvious signs of neglect and decay. The show captures the dynamism and experimental quality of urban art, and give the impression of carefully curated anarchy.

The exhibition is open by appointment only every Saturday, from 4pm – 7pm until December 16th.

To make an appointment send an email to streetarteba@gmail.com, for more details visit streetarteba.com/graffiti-en-canvas.

We’ve posted a few photo highlights below, and will be uploading more photos onto facebook and flickr over the next few days.

decertor-street-art-buenos-aires-graffiti-canvas-exhibition
el decertor
poeta-mart-right-street-art-buenos-aires-graffiti-canvas-exhibition
poeta + mart
sordi-street-art-buenos-aires-graffiti-canvas-exhibition
Sordi
jade-street-art-buenos-aires-graffiti-canvas-exhibition
jade
oz-montania-ice-street-art-buenos-aires-graffiti-canvas-exhibition
oz montania + ice
luna--street-art-buenos-aires-graffiti-canvas-exhibition
luna

malatesta-street-art-buenos-aires-graffiti-canvas-exhibition-2
malatesa
pelos-de-plumas-fisheye-street-art-buenos-aires-graffiti-canvas-exhibition
pelos de pluma
pastel-street-art-buenos-aires-graffiti-canvas-exhibition
pastel

street-art-buenos-aires-graffiti-canvas-exhibition

"Club" – new exhibition from Pum Pum

(para versión en castellano, click acá)

“Club” is the new exhibition from Pum Pum.

The exhibition represents a slight departure from the cute characters & vibrant colours that Pum Pum is famous for.

The football themed show features a host of characters (which are still admittedly cute) sporting tattoos, clutching choripan & vino, and occassionally brandishing batons. The hint of violence and muted colours give the show a delicious touch of darkness.

The exhibition is being held at Hollywood in Cambodia gallery (open Tuesday to Sunday, 5pm-9pm) and will run until Saturday 10th December.

If you’re in Buenos Aires don’t miss the show!

If you’re not, and would like more info about the show and Pum Pum’s artwork please contact us.

club is the new exhibition from pum pum in hollywood in cambodia

club is the new exhibition from pum pum in hollywood in cambodia

club is the new exhibition from pum pum in hollywood in cambodia

club is the new exhibition from pum pum in hollywood in cambodia

club is the new exhibition from pum pum in hollywood in cambodia

club is the new exhibition from pum pum in hollywood in cambodia

Meeting of Styles festival hits Buenos Aires

The world famous graffiti festival Meeting of Styles hit Buenos Aires a couple of weeks ago.

The event was run by Estilo Libre in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment & Public Spaces, with sponsorship from Sinteplast & Sullair.

Over 130 local and international artists participated in the city-wide urban art festival. Artists from different backgrounds with a wide array of styles transformed buildings, bridges and public spaces throughout the city.

Meeting of Styles festivals are held throughout the world, however the events do not follow a rigid template and the vibe and format of events changes by city. There was some controversy regarding the inclusion of street artists in the Buenos Aires event, however their inclusion better reflected the nature of urban art in the city.

A formidable amount of art was created over 3 days. The festival breathed new life into some of the city’s faded graffiti halls of fame, and brought colour to a host of dull city walls.

We’re still taking photos, and will eventually have a complete record of all the art created for the festival on our Flickr account.

But for now here are a few of our favourite pieces:

chu + tec + defi + p3dro for Meeting of Styles urban art festival Buenos Aires

Roma + Highraff at Meeting of styles urban art festval Buenos Aires

Emy Mariani at Meeting of styles urban art festval Buenos Aires

entes + pesimo at Meeting of styles urban art festval Buenos Aires

Kid Gaucho + Erik + Lake at Meeting of styles urban art festval Buenos Aires

Georgina Ciotti at Meeting of styles urban art festval Buenos Aires

Martin RON at Meeting of styles urban art festval Buenos Aires

Jim Vision at Meeting of styles urban art festval Buenos Aires

martin caos + kumbo + cube at Meeting of styles urban art festval Buenos Aires

mart + ever + poeta + decertor at Meeting of styles urban art festval Buenos Aires

Jaz at Meeting of styles urban art festval Buenos Aires

Turbo Galeria presents XXL: large format urban art

We miss Turbo. The closure of their Palermo gallery (run by the Doma collective) marked the end of an era. The gallery closed in style, hosting a raucous costumed street parade through the barrio.

The event also marked the beginning of a new stage in Turbo’s evolution. Turbo became a nomadic gallery, curating exhibitions in virtual spaces and through pop up events.

Turbo’s most recent pop up event opened on Saturday. The keenly anticipated show is entitled XXL and showcases large format artwork from a host of celebrated Argentina & Brazilian urban artists, including works from bs.as.stncl, Chu, Malatesta, Defi, Doma, Ever, Fede Minuchin, Jaz, Mart, Nasa, P3DRO, Tec & Tester from Argentina, and OnioBase V & Lelo from Brazil among others.

The exhibition is held in in Barrio Chino, La Boca. Anyone familiar with La Boca will know that the character of the neighbourhood changes dramatically once you leave the tourist mecca of Caminito. Venture a few blocks away from Caminito’s stylised homage to  “what La Boca once was” and you’ll find genuine 150 year old “conventillos” – shared tenement buildings built using materials salvaged from the ship yards.

The gallery space, cryptically named “The Breakfast of Champions” is cavernous – a former storage warehouse transformed into gallery. The towering white walls showcase dozens of spectacular large format artworks.

The distinctive artistic styles found in the streets of Buenos Aires are well represented in the exhibition. An array of stencils, geometric forms, figurative works and complex collages captures the spirit of the city walls, and the energy and dynamism of urban art.

The exhibition showcases the talents of a generation of young artists – the pioneers of urban art in Argentina. This collective exhibition of works embodies a unique visual language that has been crafted through a decade of artistic collaboration, and the cross pollination of techniques and ideas.

* * * * *

The exhibition is only until Saturday 10th of December. Viewings can be arranged by appointment throughout the week between 2pm and 8pm, contact us if you’re interested in visiting.

You can download a full catalogue of artwork here, feel free to get in touch if you have any questions regarding the exhibition and artwork.

Turbo XXL
California 928, La Boca
Until December 10th
2pm – 8pm

barrio chino la boca rundontwalk orilo

turbo-galeria-XXL-large-format-urban-art

Interview: GG from Buenos Aires Stencil

(para versión en castellano, click acá)

We’ve another newly translated interview to share, courtesy of the excellent people who run escritos en la calle.

GG from bs.as.stncl shares his perspective on a decade of urban art, and his experiences painting the ever-changing streets of Buenos Aires.

Thanks to escritos en la calle for sharing this interview with us, be sure to check out their project and their blog.

* * * * *

bs.as.stncl (buenos aires stencil) is a stencil collective comprised of two Argentine artists, known as GG & NN.

GG started painting with NN in 2001. Their first design had a huge impact, and was reproduced all over the world – the instantly recognisable combination of George Bush with Mickey Mouse ears. bs.as.stncl have gone on to collaborate with other artists and take over galleries and city walls throughout the world. In 2006, together with rundontwalk, Malatesta and Stencil Land, they opened their own urban art gallery called Hollywood in Cambodia.

In this interview, we cover 10 years of bs.as.stncl and a full decade of graffiti and street art in Argentina.

img0000

Why not paint in the streets?

We started painting as bs.as.stncl after my work partner NN showed me his drawings and designs. The original idea was to create a series of t-shirts, but we felt a little overwhelmed by what was involved, it would have been a slow and complicated process.

We really liked two designs made by NN – George Bush with Mickey Mouse ears, and a 1950’s woman bowling a bomb instead of a ball, coupled with the phrase “American Style”. 9/11 had just happened, and the invasion of Afghanistan had been announced. The designs were created in response to these incidents.

So, although we’d originally created these stencils to paint onto t-shirts, one night after a few drinks we thought, “Why don’t we paint these in the streets?”.  At the time, Argentina was in chaos. The spirit of that time was to get out there and make yourself heard. If you wanted to make a point you had to do something about it.

2002_los-primeros

A lot of artists started out during that period

None of us were political activists. None of us had ever painted in the streets. I’m a graphic designer, NN studied printing at the Pueyrredón. We were both involved with art, but neither us had ever painted, either on or off the streets.

When you start painting outdoors, you pay more attention to the walls. I noticed there were a lot of other stencils around, but had no idea how long they had been there. We later found out that many street artists started painted at the same time as us.

We always painted the area where we lived. Our home base was NN’s house near Luna Park. At night we would grab our stencils and paint the area where the banks were, which was abandoned at night. You have to try and imagine the scene – it’s December 2001, there’s just been a run on the banks, daily withdrawal limits were in place, all the banks are shuttered, there are news bulletins in the windows and plenty of people want to break in…

It was a unique moment in the country’s history, and I guess we were lucky to be in that place at that time.

2003_sanMelvis

Hasta La Victoria…

We started seeing paintings all over the Congreso area. We used to always remark, “There are other guys painting here too!”.

Eventually we got to know the other artists. We were contacted by Guido Indij from La Marca who had started to write a book – “Hasta La Victoria, Stencil“. He was getting in touch with other stencil artists, and put us in contact with them as well.

There were a number of other artists and collectives active at that time – rundontwalk, 220, Burzaco Stencil, Malatesta…

viamonte_2005

viamonte_2006-2

HIC Crew

We realised we had a lot in common with the guys from rundontwalk (Fede and Tester). We listened to the same music. They ran independent punk record labels and I worked with punk record label as well (Radio Tripoli Discos). We had friends in common, and we ended up becoming friends ourselves.

We often paint together with them, and our work doesn’t belong to one collective or another. When we paint together in the gallery ,(with Stencil Land and Malatesta) we’re the Hollywood in Cambodia Crew. We all share an ideology towards painting in the streets. None of us sign our work. When we paint in the streets, I don’t sign bs.as.stncl below my work, and neither do rundontwalk.

For me, painting is a way of demonstrating to the public that anyone can express an idea or emotion with just a few pesos. You don’t need the millions that brands pay to be in the spotlight. You don’t have to be a politician who pays people to paint his propaganda. You can go out alone and express yourself with a couple of pesos with a can of spraypaint, latex paint and a brush, or a stencil.

If I signed my works with my name, I’d be acting like a brand. My mural or painting would be a piece of propaganda for my name. This isn’t something I want. Once you’ve finished painting, your work becomes a part of the street. Why should I put my name to it? I think it looks even worse when you see people putting their both name and their webpage by their work. It just seems like they want to be famous.

I never sign anything. If people really want to find me, eventually they will.

2005_pichuco

A lot of people started painting letters and evolved from there

There are a lot of people who started out painting letters. Tags, bombs, pieces and hip-hop style graffiti. But at the end of the day, they’re really just painting their name. Fair enough, but it’s not for me. Also, I don’t get the codes of who is allowed to paint over who. Why not paint something better next to it and get more attention?

A lot of artists here have evolved their style over time. They experimented, found their own style and figured out what they wanted to say. Tec is a good example of this, as is Blu. Blu went on to do some incredibly original work. You also have neo-graffiti from artists like Jaz, Nerf, Mart, Poeta and Roma, who use abstract forms and lots of colour.

I guess it might be a question of age. Maybe after a certain age, you just get tired of just painting your own name.

We’re painting less as we get older. We have other things to do. I have a four year-old son and other responsibilities.

Whilst we still paint in the street, we do it in a different way. We don’t use small stencils anymore, neither do we repeat the same images over and over again. I get bored if I paint the same thing. I’m much happier painting a three or four metre piece these days. We put a lot more thought into what we’re going to paint and what we want to say.

We also run the gallery, Hollywood in Cambodia, and that takes up a great deal of time. It’s already been five years since we started.

2006_UBA_FADU

The gallery

It all started when we got a call from Post Bar. The two owners were planning on opening a bar, and were looking for a style. A friend had told them “Look, these guys are painting everywhere”, and he showed them the stencil book that Indji had made which was full of our work. He told them “Why don’t you call them and ask them to paint the bar? Then instead of having just another bar like everyone else, you’ll have a theme to your bar”.

To begin with, it was bs.as.stncl, rundontwalk, Stencil Land and Burzaco Stencil. There were eight of us but only half wanted to do it. My thoughts at the time were that if they weren’t going to pay me, I didn’t want to do it. The owners of the bar were going to make money out of the bar, so painting it for free was out of the question.

At one point NN’s girlfriend went up to the terrace and found two empty rooms. They were being used for storage at the time, but that’s when we had the idea came to put a gallery in there. It took a while to happen though. The bar opened, but it was over a year before we got everything ready as all of our energy was dedicated to the street.

What finally gave us the push to set up the gallery was the realization that if we didn’t do it, someone else would. And the last thing we wanted was to see someone with no relation to urban art coming in and running things. We didn’t want to end up having to negotiate with them to show and sell our works, so we decided to create a gallery where we could run everything according to our own rules.

80% of gallery sales come from foreigners. There are no collectors for urban art in Buenos Aires like there are in Sao Paulo for example. Tourists seem to value our art differently.

I think maybe this is because foreigners have a different perspective, having seen how things are in their own cities. They seem to value the collaborative work we do the most.

In Buenos Aires it’s common for people to collaborate together in the moment. Murals are painted by groups of artists working together, instead of a having an eight metre wall divided up into sections where each individual artist takes an area. Also, it’s common for us to collaborate over time. So I might paint something, and then months or years later someone else would add something else to my piece and make a new collaboration. That’s not really something that you see in other cities.

GG-INTERVIEW-BUENOS-AIRES-STENCIL

Collaboration

We met the artists from DOMA in 2004. I had gone to live in New York for a year, and met them at a show. DOMA had been painting stencils in the streets since ’94, and I think there are still a few of their pieces left from that era.

The guys from DOMA introduced us to the artists from FASE, who were also really active at that point. For several years we collaborated and organized what we called “Expression Sessions”. We would get together with 15 to 20 artists and paint a plaza with a big wall, and we would make flyers and publicise it like an event.

We invited people to come see us working to take the mystery out of it. We didn’t want it to always be the case that people would only ever see something after it was painted, and they’d be left wondering when did they paint this? Who did it? How? Why?

2007_ballena

Artistic exchanges

In 2002 and 2003 stencils reached their peak. It seemed as if the whole world was making stencils, and everyone was sitting quietly at the corner of the street painting. It’s just like anything else, there are always passing fads. After that, stencils went out of style after a while and a new style emerged that we call Muñequismo, which was characterised by the use of cartoon characters. Muñequismo took off in 2004 and spread throughout the city. The characters would often be life-size, around two metres tall.

Around that time a lot of artists came to Buenos Aires from other countries, and many of them ended up staying. The London Police came from Amsterdam, and they started asking the artists painting murals, “Why don’t you paint them huge, like six metres tall? If you rent scaffolding, no one is going to check if you have permission”.

Blu came to Buenos Aires to create his incredible animated graffiti. He introduced us to the technique of using extension poles. He was painting six metres tall pieces at the time. It was incredible to watch him paint, doing everything with just a huge long pole with a paint bucket six metres in the air.

I think one of the best things about the scene here is the spirit of this movement (more on this here). Artists share what they know, because they understand that everyone will use that knowledge to paint the streets.

2011_tecnopolis

From the street to the gallery

People ask me if there’s a contradiction in being a street artist and painting pieces for a gallery. I don’t think it there is. For me, the logic is that if you create something great in the streets, eventually someone’s going to notice it, like it and want to buy it. When they get to that point, they’re going to come looking for you. It’s part of the process.

Everyone needs to make money to live, and it’s great to earn money doing something that you love. For me though, I think you should paint in the streets because you love it. You should give your art to the streets without expecting anything in return, other than maybe hoping that no one else will paint over you the next day.

Urban artists, street artists, mural painters and stencil collectives are all part of a worldwide artistic movement taking place in cities everywhere. The nature of urban life and the development of internet-based communications mean that you can always connect with what’s happening on the other side of the world. It’s easy for artists to get in touch with one another.

How many people are painting in the streets today, one hundred, maybe three hundred? Then think about everyone who paints inside – how many are there painting? Thousands. It would be a revolution if everyone who paints inside went out to paint in the streets. That would be incredible.

When we’re in the streets, everyone can see what we’re doing. Even people who aren’t even remotely interested in street art will see art in the streets on their way to work. Maybe occasionally something will catch their eye and make them stop and take a closer look.

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Tolerance

I think the culture of tolerance towards street art in Buenos Aires exists partly because police have better things to do. Important things that keep them from getting bored and hassling us. There are kids running around snatching bags and robbing tourists, and then there’s us – a bunch of older guys who like to go out and paint.

If I ever get challenged by anyone I just leave. I’ll just say, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know”, and that’s it. It’s not like Berlin, where they’ll give you a fine or arrest you. in Buenos Aires you don’t have to worry about your empty spray cans being checked for fingerprints. And you don’t have to worry about your art being buffed the following day.

I just hope it stays this way. I went to Sao Paulo once and it used to be the same situation there. But then the Mayor changed, his policies changed and suddenly they started covering everything up. It can happen like that, and it makes painting challenging. But sometimes it just forces people to experiment with new techniques, and seek out places to paint where they won’t be painted over.

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The present and the future

Right now, we’re all painting in Pasaje Casacuberta in Parque Patricios (read more here). A resident from the Pasaje called us up one day, and invited to come and paint her house. The neighbours really liked what we painted, and now out of fifteen houses in the passageway, we’re painting ten. It’s a great project, and we’re all collaborating together, without any individual or collective identity.

The next project for bs.as.stncl is focused on painting revolutionary phrases in aerosol, with a stencil underneath suggesting that it’s a legally created piece. Think of an anarchy symbol with a copyright logo next to it. We want to show the contradictions found in revolutionary statements that have been legalised and legitimised.

2011_voteMonstruos

Interview by Fernando Aita

Photos: bs.as.stncl & graffitimundo

Read more: www.bsasstencil.org / www.hollywoodincambodia.com.ar

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Paredes Robadas: street art theft in Buenos Aires

This may be old news for those familiar with the scene, but for anyone who hasn’t heard about it, the story of how street art in Buenos Aires was appropriated by a conceptual artist is an unusual one.

A few years ago, something very strange happened in the streets of Buenos Aires. All across the city, large sections of murals began to disappear.

A few days before the disappearances started, we were running a tour and came across a group of people applying a coating of resin to a section of a mural painted by Bert van Wijk. When we asked them what they were doing, they replied that a gallery had asked them to protect the murals, and so they were going around the city preserving the best pieces. It seemed strange that they would only preserve a section of a mural instead of the whole piece, but they were reluctant to share any more information and quickly left.

A few days later it became obvious that the murals weren’t being protected. They were being removed. The resin applied to the wall was used to create a bond with the surface of the wall and once dried, the resin and paint were peeled away. A flower had been removed from Bert van Wijk’s mural. Sections of other murals started to disappear. In some cases, entire pieces were removed.

It seemed unbelievable, but it was happening – someone was stealing street art.

It isn’t unprecedented for street art to be physically detached from the walls. A number of pieces by Banksy have been cut away from urban walls over the years. Some of those pieces sold for six figure prices. Whilst Buenos Aires boasts extraordinary street art, it didn’t seem plausible that someone was stealing it because the pieces were worth huge sums of money. So the question everyone was left with was “who is doing this and why?”

It took several weeks for the explanation to arrive – the pieces were being removed by a conceptual artist, who wanted to use pieces of street art in his own exhibition.

Apparently the concept behind his exhibition was that street art is vandalism, and removing street art from the walls represented an act of vandalism against vandalism. Curiously, this self-proclaimed act of vandalism was also described as an act of preservation. Through vandalising vandalism, it was claimed that the artist was rescuing street art from destruction by the elements and other vandals.

The promotional blurb for the show offered the following cryptic explanation:

The artist “seizes parts of street graffiti – destined to be destroyed either for its exposure to the elements or for its covering with several paint layers – and brings them to the gallery space in an exercise of preservation that comes off closer to a forensic operation rather than to the conservation of fragments of a cultural inheritance.”

Understandably, this explanation didn’t sit particularly well with the street artists affected, or admirers of their work.

From the perspective of local street artists – an outsider had entered their scene and destroyed their art in pursuit of his own project. He had made no attempts to contact any of the street artists whose work he intended on taking. No permissions had been asked. He had simply arrived and started taking whatever he wanted for his own exhibition.

The opening night of the exhibition was discretely publicised. The gallery was full of the appropriated murals, encased in resin and suspended from the ceiling. The pieces were seemingly priced by size, each costing thousands of dollars. Fine wines were served on silver trays by waiters in white gloves. The artist was surrounded by admirers.

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Reports on what happened next are a little vague. But the key details are that at some point, a fire extinguisher was set off and people began to evacuate the gallery. And then, amidst the confusion, every piece of stolen artwork in the gallery was destroyed, and those responsible disappeared into the night.

This brought an abrupt end to the exhibition.

It seems plausible that the artist expected some form of reaction. Comments he made on Facebook suggested that he saw the destruction of the pieces in the gallery as a legitimate response that completed his concept. His attempts to vandalise vandalism had been vandalised.

But for a number of reasons, the underlying artistic concept simply didn’t make sense in the context of Buenos Aires. Several of the pieces the artist had deemed to be “vandalism” had been painted with permission. What he had presented as being worthless “street graffiti” had value – to the artists, the owners of the walls and the public.

One particular case stood out – a mural had been ripped from the walls of a private property. Like many other pieces, it had been painted with permission. The mural had been painted at the request of the homeowner, a mother who had asked artists to paint something for her young son. She was understandably furious that her son had woken up one morning to find that his mural had been “seized”.

Jaz

The artist should have researched the scene before carrying out his conceptual project here.  If he’d spoken to any local street artists they could have told him that their work isn’t generally considered to be vandalism. One of the defining characteristics of the scene here is its public acceptance, which is built upon good relations between street artists and the community. It’s common for artists to knock on doors and ask permission before painting, and people all too happily offer up their walls.

In the days following the short-lived exhibition opening, the artist found himself denounced by an angry public and an unsympathetic media. A similar exhibition that had been planned in Sao Paolo was cancelled. Many of the street artists affected made public demands that their paintings be returned. Property owners who had murals removed from their walls began discussing legal action.

It’s possible that unsanctioned attempts to strip art from public and private walls for personal gain might be condoned in other countries, but it’s hard to imagine where it wouldn’t be seen as unethical, not to mention an obvious breach of the artists & property owners rights.

We spoke with an Argentine intellectual property lawyer about the incident. She explained that in Argentina, the artist is the ultimate owner of their artwork. They decide who gets to use their artwork and how. That artists choose to paint in public is irrelevant. It doesn’t even matter if artwork is created without permission. An artist who paints without permission may be held responsible for property damage, but they are still the owner of their art.

Artists who paint in the street want people to see their work. They accept that the passage of time and the weather will inevitably degrade their work, and other artists and writers may paint over it. This is the natural cycle, and the conditions artists accept when they paint in the street. However, it doesn’t follow that by painting in the street, artists are giving permission to others to use their art for their own commercial or private gain. Their art doesn’t become public property simply because it is in public view.

Whilst the technique of physically removing art from the walls was unusual, appropriation of street art is nothing new.

Several Argentine street artists have already successfully sued multi-national companies who incorporated their art in advertising campaigns without permission.

Over in the US, a major retailer was recently ordered to pay damages and hand over their entire stock of t-shirts to a street artist whose design they had ripped off.

Whilst many street artists value the exposure print media brings to their work, an interesting article in the New York Times highlights a case brought against a photographer who had created a book featuring street paintings. Not only were artists unhappy that their work had been commercially reproduced without their consent – several objected to how their art had been presented. Based on the complaints raised by the artists, the book was withdrawn from circulation a month after its release, and damages are being sought.

Ironically, several Buenos Aires street artists whose pieces had been stolen appreciated the concept behind the exhibition. What they didn’t appreciate, was the fact that they were never consulted or included.

As urban art becomes more established, its creators are increasingly aware of the rights they have over their art. Their art may be shared with the world in full public view, it may be ephemeral and it may even constitute vandalism. But it is still their art.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

Buenos Aires’s richly mixed heritage and turbulent past seem to play into every facet of its culture, including its dark cinema, diverse cuisine, the wild street art that bedecks the neighborhoods of Palermo and Villa Crespo…

The Godfather of Stencil: Interview with Blek le Rat

This interview comes courtesy of the excellent people who run escritos en la calle, an extraordinary project which meticulously records written graffiti throughout the city.

The walls of Buenos Aires have been used as a channel of communication long before they became a medium for art. The streets are filled with politics, humour, love and rage, articulated through the simple act of someone writing on a wall.

The focus of escritos en la calle is on written graffiti, however they have also conducted a number of interviews with stencil artists. Buenos Aires has a rich of tradition of stencil graffiti, and for decades stencils have been used by politicians, activists, artists and members of the public looking to make a point.

This interview is with one of the first artists in the world to use a stencil to make a point – the legendary Blek le Rat. Thanks again to our friends at escritos en la calle for allowing us to repost this newly translated interview.

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In 1981 stencils by Blek le Rat began to appear all over the streets of Paris. Today, this french artist is preparing three exhibitions of his stencils in San Francisco, London and Paris. With his enthusiasm intact, his words inspire us in this exclusive interview, where he speaks about his career, about the transition from street artist to gallery artist, and about his visit to Buenos Aires.

By Laurent Jacobi, from France / laurent.jacobi@gmail.com / Photos: Blek le Rat

How did you begin?

I studied Beaux Arts and Architecture in Paris. Around the time of my graduation, in the 80’s, I was working with teens in abandoned tenement buildings in so-called “free” spaces. One day I watched the kids painting graffiti in our cabin. It was a great idea. A real trigger. We said to each other, my friend Gerard and I – “we’re going to do the exact same thing around the walls of Paris”… So we bought bodywork paint for vehicles and we went to the neighborhood 14. I painted graffiti inspired by the American styles. It wasn’t that bad if I remember correctly.

Had you seen anything like this before?

Yes, of course. In 1971, during a trip to New York, I was amazed by the drawings in the subway. In the 80’s I was still thinking about them, something was developing in my thoughts. If I go back even further in time, I had a visit to Italy when I was young, and I’d seen traces of fascist stencils there. Despite the theme, I thought they were really beautiful stencils. Of course I was also greatly influenced by the political paintings in French Algeria and from May of ’68.

Graffiti is everywhere: In Roma, Pompey and the Parthenon. It’s a type of art that has always existed, a social phenomenon that lets personal expression become collective. You can express anything with it, your love, your hate…

Your career began with the French left coming to power…

Yes, but that’s not to say that I felt any sort of support… I did a huge tour around France in a 4L and that gave me considerable notoriety in the press. Also, in 1983 an article was published in Télérama. During the 80’s and 90’s graffiti exploded. It was absolutely everywhere. A real steamroller of images. There was not one millimeter of wall left unpainted, there were tags on every surface.

What has influenced your work?

On a conceptual level, we are really an extension of Pop Art. The work of English artist David Hockney affected me greatly. In 1972 or 1973 I saw one of his exhibits and I was totally fascinated by his colorful crayon drawings. In A Bigger Splash, a movie that I saw 5 or 6 times, I saw him paint a life-sized character on the walls of an apartment in London. I thought it was magnificent. Richard Ambleton as well. In 1983 he painted characters 2 meters tall in Paris: beautiful shadows. At this point I had been making little rats and I decided to experiment with stencils at a larger scale.

What can you tell us about your techniques?

I’ve worked with stencils from the very beginning. If you don’t include political graffiti, I am the first to have used them for a work of art. There are no accidents with stencils. Image created this way are clean and beautiful. You prepare it in your studio and then you can reproduce it indefinitely. I’m not good enough to paint freehand. Stencil is a technique well suited to the streets because it’s fast. You don’t have to deal with the worry of the police catching you.

Has the idea of risk played a role in your work?

Absolutely not. At the beginning of the 80’s the police wouldn’t say anything at all. They asked me only if it was something political. I’d say “it’s art”, and that was it. The problems really began with tags. In the beginning police usually thought they were sectarian… The repression came later, when they realized that they were just individuals writing their names. That was also when I began to have problems with the police. They attacked me in New York and I ended up in a criminal court in Paris…

It was never very pleasant working in the streets. I’m paranoid and anxious. Even today when I paint with permission, I’m always a little bit nervous.

Do you ever go back to see how what you’ve painted has turned out?

Systematically. I take photos, I talk with people in the neighborhood and I watch their reactions without letting on that I’m the author of the piece. It’s the best part of graffiti: a moment of true happiness.

What do you want the spectator of your works to experience?

Pleasure, more than anything. I’m not interested in aggravating people. My images are clear and visible for all. I want people to love me, not hate me.

How is graffiti considered nowadays?

In France, a graffiti artist continues to be considered a vandal. There have always been a few galleries that support the art, but they are somewhat marginalised. In England, the US or Australia, the support of the media, politics and the art market is much stronger. I’m much better known internationally than I am in my own country.

What interests you about graffiti these days?

After whole periods of stencils, tags and graffiti, we are now entering into a phase of intervention in urban space. For example, I really like Space Invader, Jerome Mesnager, Costa or Zeus with his billboard interventions. In France the current scene is unfortunately quite poor. We’re lacking in imagination and creativity. We’re slow and it takes us time to assimilate new movements. You really have to go to London, Australia or China in order to find things that are truly different and innovative. I am a big fan of an American artist who does molded sculptures around cities with scotch tape. There’s also an English artist who does tiny characters and puts them in different situations throughout public spaces.

Are you conscious of having made an important impact on graffiti?

Yes. From the start I saw a lot of people who were interested in my stencils. This interest lessened until Banksy came on the scene and brought this artistic technique back into style.

I’ve received a lot of emails, almost 40 or 50 a week, where people ask me about my technique or they ask me for advice about creativity. This brings me a lot of joy and I always try to be friendly. At 60 years old I’m like a grandfather. In fact, they call me the Godfather of stencil…

What do you know about Argentina?

In 2006 I was contacted for a documentary and I spend 10 days in Buenos Aires. I arrived in December and I stayed with an older middle class woman, who passed away shortly after. The architecture there is very European. I felt like I had travelled back in time. It was like visiting my youth in Europe. I painted a bunch of abandoned ships in La Boca. I also did some work in a dumping ground between two apartment buildings, inhabited by a couple and some dogs. They had accumulated thousands of things from the trash in a pile and I added a person on the top of it. I also stuck up posters in Palermo. More than anything, I had a lot of problems…

What kind of problems?

In Palermo a woman got upset and took down all of my posters. Then one Sunday morning a complaint was filed by the people of the neighborhood and the police came and arrested me. They brought me to a police station, took my passport and interrogated me. They didn’t believe that I didn’t speak Spanish and I spent an entire day in jail.

What did you notice about graffiti in Buenos Aires?

It’s a lot more political, with very specific messages. It’s the same in Mexico City, where I also did a giant Victor Hugo on a house that belonged to a bunch of Trotskyites.

Is there an element of political discourse to your work?

In the case of Victor Hugo, of course. But I don’t create political messages for the left or right. I once made a David with a Kalashnikov, which got me into some trouble. All I was saying was “I don’t want the war between Israel and Palestine” – the right of the Palestinians to have a separate state and to come and go freely and, on the other hand, the right of Israel to live in peace.


What are you working on now?

It’s been 30 years of le Rat. I’m working on 3 exhibits for 2011-12, which will take place in San Francisco, London and Paris. I’m preparing the pieces now. They will be a mixture of old and new characters.

Do you think that le Rat has evolved?

No, it’s always been the same. Only I’ve gotten much older… I’m 60 years old now. My story is over. I hope to stop creating one day because I’m a little weary. Marcel Duchamp ended his career to play chess until the end of his life. It’s just a question of money. Artists don’t get retirement plans or pensions…

How do you work now?

I ask permission and obtain authorization before investing in a wall. I work with galleries in Los Angeles and San Francisco, who organize commissions of my works for individuals, institutions or brands. Now I create images for the places that are available. I also continue to work “illegally” but no longer in Paris. I don’t like that city.

Do you have any advice for someone just starting?

I have an 18 year old son, and I always tell him: “don’t be an artist, it’s really difficult”. The life of an artist is not made of love, creativity and fresh water. You have to know certain recipes. You have to understand how the art market works. You also have to be able to speak to the public, to flatter them, and you have to give them things they can understand. Art is a real business, and it’s complicated, with rules and laws, ways of exhibiting and of placing value on someone’s work in order to establish its market value. I wasn’t aware of all that when I began.

When you were starting out, did you imagine that you might ever make a living from your art?

Honestly, no. I was very aware that it was a new form of art, and a different type of expression. We didn’t know how it was going to develop, but we did realize that we were developing something truly innovative. I never that I would live off of this, and that I would be known in the US or in London thanks to Banksy… I merely saw the breaking point: painting in your own studio and exhibiting in a gallery was not the future. It was a transition. Art became public, it was no longer reserved for an elite audience. There was a true democratization. In fact, there’s really no contradiction between a work on exhibit in a gallery and another done free in the street.

How do you handle the fact that street art is ephemeral?

It’s ephemeral and yet the mark it leaves behind is important. There’s nothing left from the 80s. For example, all of Keith Haring’s graffiti has disappeared and they are no longer tangible. At the beginning I didn’t create works on canvas and I didn’t even take pictures of my stencils. I never imagined that what I do would someday be considered a work of art. It’s sad because an entire part of my life has been lost and it’s nice to have a memory of where we’ve been. Yes, I’ve kept some of the stencils. The only way to work is on a medium like canvas, or pieces of wood. I started to photograph my works when I noticed the consistency of what I was doing. For 20 years I’ve left works in the houses of collectors and there they are maintained.


When did you start to realize that you were creating works of art?

It’s terrible to say, but I realized when people started to offer me money. My work had always had a different value for me. When I sold a piece in Christie’s or in Sotheby’s for 40,000 dollars, something happened, the dynamic changed. Especially for those who don’t consider graffiti as a form of art.

It’s sad, but everything has a price. At the beginning, I had my own discourse: I wanted to be outside the system, to trick the art market. In fact, it’s impossible. You never leave the system, you can’t escape it if you want to live. At 60 years old, I no long want to trick anyone. I’m not creating a revolution. I came to understand that I wasn’t going to change the world. However, I continue to work for free in the streets. I give access to images the people aren’t used to seeing in museums. It’s the art at the corner of the street. It’s the gift I give to the world.

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To read this interview in French click here

More on Blek le Rat:

http://blekmyvibe.free.fr
http://bleklerat.free.fr

Jaz – urban watercolours

Jaz has painted a number of spectacular pieces in Buenos Aires during the past few weeks.

The zoo of painted animals inhabiting the streets of Buenos Aires acquired a lion and an extraordinary pair of giant polar bears, each 3 metres tall. Jaz had painted a similar piece for the Fuera de la Linea exhibition in Rosario.

His latest paintings feature a theme he explored during his recent trip to the US. His pieces in both the Ritual Exhibition in Brooklyn & the Living Walls conference in Atlanta featured a surreal visual of humans and animals melding together at the head.

The streets act as Jaz’s sketch book. All his ideas begin in the streets, with some later being adapted into gallery pieces. One of the scene’s most prolific artists, his ability to work comfortably and quickly at enormous scales is remarkable, as is his seemingly limitless range of subjects and styles.

Besides his arresting compositions and the imposing scales of his pieces, one of the more unusual qualities of Jaz’s paintings are the materials he works with. His recent paintings use an unconventional artistic medium – asphaltic paint. Also known as bitumen, asphaltic paint is a thick, black viscous liquid typically used in road construction and roofing. Mixed with petrol and blended with industrial white emulsion, asphaltic paint provides the complex array of sepia tones which give Jaz’s pieces their remarkable textures.

Painting with asphaltic paint is cheap. Really cheap. A small container of asphaltic paint has lasted Jaz over two years, and he’s only half way through it. Industrial white emulsion is the cheapest paint money can buy, petrol is substantially cheaper than paint thinner, and asphaltic paint provides all the pigments Jaz needs to render his ideas at huge scales, at minimal cost.

Once applied to the wall, the glistening blend of petrol and bitumen creates textures and reflects light in a markedly different way to spray paint. The mixture covers the wall effortlessly, in washes of colour that build in layers. Jaz’s street painting give the viewer the strange impression that he has somehow managed to paint a huge concrete wall using watercolours.

Roma explained in a recent interview that many artists were forced to improvise with materials following the 2001 crash. The high cost of imported spray paint lead to many artists experimenting with new materials for their street art, however in Jaz’s case it’s principally a stylistic choice.

“I’m taking the same materials that the streets are made from and using them in my paintings” Jaz explains. “I like the connection with the street.”

jaz-lion street art buenos aires

jaz horses buenos aires street art

jaz bikes street art buenos aires

"Conciencia Magica" – prize winning mural in Caballito

Congrats go to Federación de Stickboxing for winning the graffiti mural category of the Banco Itau urban art award.

The all-female crew were chosen to transform a 70 metre wall in Parque Rivadavia, Caballito. Together they covered every inch of the brick wall in an array of psychedelic stencils, paste ups and painted figures.

Congrats also go to Pedro Perelman (PMP) who won the graffiti 3D category, his piece is due to be created in Puerto Madero in the weeks to come.

Great to see the Minister of Public Spaces come out in support of urban art, and kudos to Banco Itau & Estilo Libre for organizing a great event.

Next up – Estilo Libre & the Ministry of Environment and Public Spaces have joined forces to bring the world famous Meeting of Styles graffiti art festival to Buenos Aires in November. The festival will see a number of public spaces throughout Buenos Aires transformed by local stars and celebrated international talent. More details soon!

federacion stickboxing Itau arte urbano prize

federacion stickboxing Itau arte urbano prize

federacion stickboxing Itau arte urbano prize

Interview: Mart

On a sunny spring day, graffitimundo met up with the artist Mart. Surrounded by cans of spray paint and friends who had stopped by to watch, Mart chatted with us as he painted.

How did your career as an artist begin?

I used to paint my name everywhere at school, but I didn’t know what graffiti was. Then I met Dano, who was my older sister’s boyfriend. Dano introduced me to graffiti and taught me the techniques behind it. We started to go out painting together, and I was still really young, only 12 years old. It was an incredible adventure.

It was funny… at school you’d get back from the holidays and the teacher would ask the class what everyone had done during their vacation. The others would say things like “I went to…wherever…with my family”. And then when they asked me I would say, “I painted a train with a friend”. The teacher looked at me like I was a delinquent.

mart bike cceba

When you first started painting, did you ever think about developing it into something bigger?

No, never. I never studied painting so I really never imagined anything happening with it. But I kept on painting, and after a while I’d get asked to do a show somewhere, and I’d accept. Then others projects would come my way, and I’d accept them too.

Its the same story today – people email me with jobs without me ever having to look for them.  I’ve got a good website, besides I’ve just let things develop naturally.

Was there ever a moment when you stopped looking at painting as just a hobby and started to take it more seriously?

Things changed when I landed my first big job that paid really well, which was with Cartoon Network. There was a major shift at that point, not just because of the job though. I saw a lot of my friends end up in jail, and realized that instead of doing things that would put me there as well, I had the chance to do something that wasn’t going to bother anyone, plus I could make good money doing it.

I realized that I loved painting. I could make a living from it and it was good for me, so it seemed like a perfect combination.

mart blossom street art

How do you feel about the neighbourhood you’ve grown up in?

It’s my place, my home. We were always the kids in the street. Now I’ve found my own way of continuing to do what I’ve always liked. When I was little all of us started off in the streets, I’m still here doing the same thing, it’s great.

I’ve found a way to remain a child, and it’s fantastic.

Your murals vary between abstract and figurative pieces, why is that? How do you decide which is right for a mural?

I’m a person in constant flux and so the subjects of my paintings change as well. I can’t keep doing the same thing all the time, once I’ve done something I won’t do it again.

I draw a lot, in black and white with pen. In fact I never stop drawing, I sketch about 20 drawings a day. And then I’ll see a wall and remember a drawing, and think, “that drawing could work here, and the space deserves it.”

For me, the space itself is really important for the painting, as much as the painting is for the space.

Your characters always have really interesting clothing, they have a lot of style.

Some day I would love to have a clothing line, that’s a dream of mine. I’ve always liked fashion and to design a line of clothing would be amazing.

mart street art

What motivates you to paint?

When the sun’s out I’m inspired. That’s really important. Getting together with friends, putting on an event, that really motivates me. When I’m out painting and living these moments I always think about how I can maintain this life, and keep doing this forever.

Do you ever think about why you paint?

No, no. If I asked myself why I paint I’d have to stop. I don’t know why I paint. I don’t like what I draw, I never have. That sort of pushes me to continue painting.

The day that I like something that I’ve drawn is the day I will stop painting. It’s like a constant cycle. But what I do know is that painting keeps me sane, I have to continue painting in order to be well.

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More from Mart: http://flavors.me/airesmart

mart street art

Banksy – lost in translation?

An abandoned two storey period building in San Telmo has unexpectedly acquired a number of Banksy stencils. The images are careful reproductions of pieces that Banksy originally created in New Orleans, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The image at the bottom right of the building depicts a girl whose umbrella seems to be raining on her. In the context of flooded, weather-beaten New Orleans it was a poignant piece.

The creepy looking painter on the left hand side of the mansion is another piece originally painted in New Orleans. This image represented a local legend known as “the grey ghost” – an anti-graffiti vigilante who used to cover graffiti in grey paint wherever he found it, irrespective of the original colour of the wall. More about the grey ghost here.

Set against the imposing colonial mansion the reproductions look pretty dramatic, especially the gas-masked figures ascending a painted staircase. But out of context these images lose their relevance.

Banksy’s success has stemmed from his ability to use street art to make a salient point in a relevant setting. Whilst these reproductions look great, their essence has been lost in translation.

Interview: Roma

Roma is something of a legend in the world of graffiti & street art, even more so in his neighbourhood of Ballester.

He was one of the first artists to begin experimenting with graffiti in the 90s, but like many artists of his generation, he chose to push beyond letter-based graffiti and spray paint and explore different styles, techniques and materials.

Melissa Foss interviewed Roma about his unique style and his changing relationship with his art and the streets.

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gm: How do you you plan your murals? Do you sketch out what you’re going to paint, or do you prefer to improvise?

ROMA: Personally, I love painting freestyle and that applies on a number of levels. It makes painting letters really fun, drawings tend to be faster and the attitude in front of the wall is totally spontaneous, plus the context is a major influence throughout.

Even with large murals that involve more dedication and care, freestyle is still really fun and unlike with letters, the mural making process usually ends up being more introspective for me. It steers me towards a more internal search, where feelings and thought come into play a lot more in the process; the soul, and the true essence of “I”.

This is really important aspect of painting for me, I end up falling in love with the composition and process itself and don’t become overly fixated on the final result. This is what drives me to look deeper inside myself. I generally only use sketches for jobs and when I need a clear plan for what I want to do.

gm: What type of materials do you work with?

ROMA: Aerosol is my primary tool. From the very beginning it was aerosol that got me out painting in the streets. It’s magic – tracing, filling in, blending, all of it.

Beyond that, I love experimenting with other mediums. Watercolours are great, as are materials like asphalt paint, latex, oils… I’ve even used car grease, tea, urine and bull blood.

We started using materials other than spray paint after the economic crisis in Argentina in 2001 – a crisis that still defines how a large part of society lives. Spray paint was and still is expensive and we live in an underdeveloped country where it’s difficult to find quality materials that aren’t toxic. Today there are brands who import spray paint, but they don’t really support local artists.

roma buenos aires street art

gm: What other artistic projects have you been involved in?

ROMA: Different jobs and projects come about as a result of painting. It’s not difficult for me to come up with different aesthetic solutions. I love working on other types of project, like photography and cinema amongst others others.

I recently started making shelves for a major women’s clothing line. They had a new store opening and wanted a theme based around “the sea”… So I prepared some designs for furniture for the shop, along with painted units to fit within the space. I was in charge of the ideas, designs and painting and an excellent team of carpenters headed by my cousin took care of the construction of the pieces.

Right now I’m working in a bike park where I’m creating signage and design of the area as well as securing sponsors, among other things. It’s set across 3 hectares of land and is a lot of fun.

gm: How does your process change when you’re painting an object, a canvas or an urban wall?

ROMA: I love painting objects. Each one has its own character and each piece of furniture has an impact on its surroundings. Objects can end up taking on a life of their own and their presence can be really powerful.

Canvases have a really mental and spiritual hold on me and I’m grateful to each one, as well being grateful for the fact that they physically endure over time. On canvas I bare my soul. Obviously the process is totally different; I can paint a canvas whilst naked, drinking mate and listening to Bill Evans in my house, whereas you can’t really paint urban walls quite as casually. Walls are full of love and hate, and the street reflects what we are and what we want.

roma buenos aires street artist

gm: Nobody likes labels, but do you consider yourself to be a graffiti artist or muralist?

ROMA: I’m a graffiti artist from head to toe, without a doubt! I was born a graffiti artist, and thats always going to be my background. I was lucky to be one of the first 30 local artists to be painting trains back in 1996, at 13 years old, when there was no internet and there were no magazines. We had to make do with the graffiti we saw in the backgrounds of Beastie Boys videos. Painting was all I could think about; trains, rooftops & tags, the crews, hardcore music, punk, rap and the energy of the street.

I know that increasingly my pieces don’t really fit neatly into the category of “graffiti”, but that’s where they come from. Sometimes I get criticised by writers who think we need to stay true to the old school styles, but I’m a person who favours change.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll end up creating sculptures and painting will just be a memory of something from another time, like how it is today with painting trains. There’s been a clear evolution in my work, both artistically and in terms of the materials I use. It’s only natural for things to change over time.

Experimenting with different materials and mediums has helped us be more objective about what we’re looking to achieve artistically. In the 90’s there were letters, then came characters, realism, fileteado porteño, backgrounds and then the abstract pieces we’re creating today. Sometimes I wonder what will come next.

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Images are taken from Roma’s Flickr – www.flickr.com/rojoroma

Roma @ fuera de la linea

Roma + Sam steet art

Roma + Poeta + Sam

Garibaldi Pum urban art project

During August a group of urban artists (including rundontwalkStencil LandMart,
NerfPastelMalatestaPum PumTriangulo Dorado & Maria Bedoian), worked on an urban regeneration project called ‘Garibaldi Pum’. The project took place in the traditional porteño neighborhood of La Boca, in the south of Buenos Aires. Although tourists flock to La Boca to watch tango dancers and to buy colourful souvenirs, it is a deprived area with high levels of poverty.

The project was run by Fundacion X La Boca, an organisation which develops and promotes social, cultural and environmental projects to improve life for people in La Boca. It focused on regenerating  ‘Paseo Garibaldi’, a neglected area between the two popular tourist spots, “El Caminito”, and Boca Junior stadium. Previously the passageway had been a dumping ground for rubbish and rusting abandoned cars. With support from the workers at the Boca stadium, the space was cleaned up and prepared for artists.

The passageway filled with colour. A diverse group of artists created pieces in a variety of styles – abstract muralism, letter-based graffiti and stencil art. Many of the pieces were directly inspired by La Boca itself, referencing the history of the barrio or the famous yellow and blue of Boca Juniors football team.

The finished works are a vibrant visual counterpoint to the obvious signs of neglect throughout the barrio. The project has transformed a neglected space into a community-friendly area, attracting interest from both tourists and residents alike. Whether you call it urban art or graffiti, murals such as these can be instrumental in changing perspectives and social attitudes towards the area. This project vividly demonstrates the power of art to revitalize outdoor city spaces.

Whilst graffiti itself is often viewed as a sign of neglect, this project shows how it can have the opposite effect. This is public art – a sign that an area is cared for, and a source of local pride.

To find out more about the project, visit Fundacion X La Boca.

(Melissa Foss)

Pum Pum @ Garibaldi Pum Pum

Stencil Land @ Garibaldi Pum

Pum Pum @ Garibaldi Pum

Nerf @ Garibaldi Pum

Malatesta @ Garibaldi Pum

Triangulo Dorado @ Garibaldi Pum

Triangulo Dorado @ Garibaldi Pum

Tecnópolis

Tecnópolis is Argentina’s brand new science, arts and technology fair, located just outside of Capital Federal, Buenos Aires.

The vast, sprawling site features countless exhibits and installations, together with some incredible murals from Argentine artists and art collectives. Following the storming success of the exhibition “Fuera de la Linea“, Lucas Zambrano & Soledad Zambrano were invited to curate what has effectively become Argentina’s largest open air exhibition of work from Buenos Aires street artists.

The towering walls of an exhibition hall offered an enormous shared canvas for a number of artists, including Pastel, Poeta, Mart, Roma, Nazza Stencil, Ever, Triangulo Dorado, Jaz along with Defi, Tec & PMP from the FASE collective. Together they transformed the non-descript warehouse into an extraordinary outdoor gallery, a testament to their talents and remarkable ease working at enormous scales.

A second space featured smaller walls surrounding the Circe de Soleil exhibit. Unfortunately some of the best pieces have been hidden from public view by the backstage area for the performers, but we sneaked behind the barriers to take some photos of works by rundontwalk, bs.as.stncl, Cabaio Stencil, Stencil Land, Vuala, Proyecto Fauna & the Federacion de Stickboxing.

There are small selection of pieces below, and you can see more on our flickr here.

Jaz @ Tecnopolis

Nazza Stencil @ Tecnopolis

Ever @ Tecnopolis

Mart @ Tecnopolis

Triangulo Dorado @ Tecnopolis

Pum Pum @ Tecnopolis

Stencil Land + Cabaio Stencil + rundontwalk + bs.as.stncl @ Tecnopolis

Stencil Land @ Tecnopolis

The Spirit of Collaboration

Collaboration has played a vital role in the development of the graffiti and urban art scene in Buenos Aires. Even before the explosion of street art following the 2001 crash, early graffiti writers working during the 90’s formed crews to paint the city walls and trains. The collaborative nature of the scene has endured thanks to the general attitudes of local artists, who are passionate about what they do and generally put their love of painting and their desire to share their art ahead of any questions of competition or exclusivity. Collectives who based their identities on collaboration developed early on in BA, and groups such as DOMA and FASE proved from the beginning that the synergy achieved through collaboration could achieve far more than the efforts of isolated individuals.

This sense of open community and collaborative spirit can be seen in murals throughout the city.  For several years the playground at Córdoba and Bonpland has been the site of colorful collaborative murals featuring artists from several different collectives – Tec from FASE, Chu from DOMA and rundontwalk. With their cast of playful characters, created using a variety of different styles and techniques, these artists blend their pieces together to create a cohesive landscape of creatures.

Blending styles has never really been seen as problem in Buenos Aires, and most artists are more than happy to share walls with other talented artists from different backgrounds. Nerf and Pum Pum are an excellent example of this dynamic, having frequently developed collaborative pieces which blend their two seemingly opposite styles. Nerf is a graffiti artist who is well known for his extraordinary skill with aerosol, his spectacular wild style pieces and his inimitable 3D cubes. By contrast, Pum Pum’s background is in graphic design and illustration, she works almost exclusively with latex paint, rollers and brushes, and her pieces are 2D, very feminine and more than a little bit “cute”. Other artists might hesitate to combine such different styles, and many graffiti artists exclusively work with other writers. Nerf & Pum Pum, whilst sharing little common ground artistically have collaborated extensively over the years, creating some truly unique walls in which their styles accent one another through their striking differences.

BA’s urban artists also prove to be warm and receptive hosts when it comes to the constant stream of international artists who touch down with paints in hand. In keeping with the collaborative spirit, local artists often view visiting artists as an excellent opportunity to develop new pieces together, learn new styles and techniques, and make new friends and contacts. When the Canadian artist Other came to Buenos Aires for several months in early 2011, he was welcomed into the scene by local artists Jaz and Ever among others. Showing him around the city, they shared their knowledge and collaborated on a range of different works, giving Other a taste of the freedom he had never experienced painting in his native home of Toronto.

The collaborative spirit of the urban arts scene of Buenos Aires is surely one of its most unique characteristics, especially given the often competitive nature of both graffiti and arts scenes internationally. In addition to making Buenos Aires one of the most accessible cities to paint anywhere in the world, this spirit has created an abundance of utterly unique pieces – the product of diverse influences and a singular desire to collaborate.

(Melissa Foss)

chu + tec + rundontwalk

chu + tec + rundontwalk

nerf+pumpum

nerf+pumpum2

other+jaz+ever

jaz+other

Casacuberta stencil art project

Casacuberta is an innocuous two block passageway in Parque Patricios (Buenos Aires) which is being slowly transformed into an open air stencil art gallery by bs.as.stncl, rundontwalk and Stencil Land.

The residents of Casacuberta had been inspired by the stencil art seen throughout the city, and invited artists to paint the facades of their homes. The owners provided the materials needed (paint, aerosol, tea and biscuits) and by way of exchange the artists aquired a beautiful space in which to work, and freedom to create whatever they wanted.

All across the world, there are homeowners who lack the freedom to paint the outside of their homes any colour but white. Streets, neighbourhoods and sometimes whole sections of cities have to conform to strict visual guidelines which are regulated by an environmental planning department. By contrast, whilst zoning laws exist in the majority of homeowners in Buenos Aires have the freedom to do pretty much whatever they want with their own property.

There are doubtless other cities where homeowners have similar freedoms, but few boast the vibrant urban art scene found in Buenos Aires. Ultimately it is the relationship artists have with the public that defines the scene, and this project serves as an excellent example of what motivated artists and a receptive public can achieve when they collaborate.

Blu – Megunica documentary

The Italian artist Blu has done some truly spectacular projects in Buenos Aires, where he has taken full advantage of the abundance of empty walls and the city’s tolerance & respect for street art.

His extraordinary animated short MUTO featured a stop motion animation painted entirely on public walls in Buenos Aires & Baden. To create the film Blu painted pretty much every day for three months, painstakingly painting each frame of the animation on city walls in full public view.

His follow-up to MUTO was perhaps even more ambitious – his second animated short “Big Bang Big Boom” featured another stop motion animation showing the evolution (and end) of life as we know it.

For a limited time, Wired.It have made Blu & Lorenzo Fonda’s documentary Megunica available to view online. The film documents Blu’s journey through Latin America, and offers a glimpse of the unique context of each country in addition to the stunning artwork created along the way.

Featuring a mix of murals, animation, graphics and stop motion video, the award-winning documentary is available to view in full until the 22nd of July.

EDIT: The film is no longer available – so we’ve replaced it with an excellent trailer:

Megunica documentary – Excerpt from lorenzo fonda on Vimeo.

JR in Buenos Aires

French photographer and street artist JR has been in Buenos Aires recently, and pasted up a huge 3m x 10m strip over political graffiti in San Telmo.

Wheatpastes are relatively rare in Buenos Aires, so it’s unusual to see two high profile international artists putting up wheatpastes in such a short space of time – barely a few weeks have passed since Yola pasted up her spectacular interpretation of “The Vicious Circle“.

JR’s photographs have covered rooftops in African slums, the Gaza wall, Brazilian favelas and the banks of the river Seine. His creativity was recognized by TED this year who awarded him their 2011 prize, and he chose to use his $100k award to fund an art project built upon public participation.

His piece in Buenos Aires hasn’t quite got the scale or impact of some of his other works, and we wish we knew more about what it represents. The image was pasted up as part of a German TV production, so guess we’ll have to wait for the program to air to learn more. If anyone knows anything else about this piece please let us know!

You can see JR’s acceptance speech at TED here and read more about the Inside Out project here.

Yola – The Vicious Circle

Wheatpastes are found in cities across the world, where the technique provides artists with a practical and inexpensive method of putting an image on a wall. In cities with strict anti-graffiti policies, pasting offers an alternative to painting. An image that would take several hours to paint can be pasted up in a matter of minutes, which is an important consideration for artists looking to avoid confrontations with the public and police. By contrast, wheatpastes are rarely seen in Buenos Aires. The public and police are more tolerant towards artists and street art, so there’s less of a need to hurriedly stick things on walls and run away. Besides – printing in Buenos Aires is expensive.

With relatively few wheatpaste artists active in Buenos Aires, we were really excited when Yola got in touch with us and talked us through her ideas. Yola is one of the most unusual and innovative wheatpaste artists in the world. Her creations feature classical paintings recreated using contemporary models, and she incorporates her passion for renaissance art, her wry sense of humour and her formidable talents in image manipulation and digital composition into her work.

Over the years her artistic career has progressed from illicitly pasting posters in Parisian streets, to being informed by the Polish minister of culture that she was free to do whatever she wanted on any public building, anywhere in Warsaw. Taking full advantage of this freedom to work, she created a series of increasingly ambitious pieces, some spanning several floors in height and requiring cranes and specialist teams to paste them up. At scale, her work becomes arresting and highly provocative. The public cannot avoid her pieces, which can be an issue. Whilst paste ups will inevitably be peeled away from the walls by the wind and the rain – Yola’s are sometimes brought down by human hands – critics who object to her subverting religious imagery in her pieces.

Her piece in Buenos Aires is a recreation of a painting called “The Vicious Circle” by Jacek Malczewski, a Polish artist whose painting depicts a circular dance, which represents human lives becoming entangled in history. Yola explained that her interpretation of the piece explores the relationship that migration has with this sense of entanglement. The models who posed to recreate the painting hailed from across Latin America and the rest of the world, as did the three street artists who shared the wall with her – Jaz, Other & Corona are from Argentina, Canada & France respectively.

The spectacular piece nestles between one of Jaz’s lion masked wrestlers, a demonic creation from Other and a set of serene, regal faces painted by Corona. Whilst elements of Yola’s piece currently overlap the other pieces, this was fully anticipated by her collaborators, who plan to return in the weeks to come and add the final touches to fully integrate their pieces with Yola’s.

There are very few artists with the technical skills required to create a piece like this (when not pasting things to the side of buildings, Yola works on CGI and digital composition for major Hollywood productions.) Even fewer would self-finance a trip to the other side of the world to recreate a relatively obscure Polish masterpiece. But aside from the impressive scale, techniques and unusual concept behind Yola’s work, what we enjoyed most was the way she collaborated and interacted with others. She incorporated the public into her piece, recreating the painting using local models and newly-made friends. In true Argentine style, she connected with local street artists to create a collaborative mural, and finally – she put the piece up in a busy street where everybody could see it.

Yola’s art, whilst highly specialised, is created to engage and interact with the public. This is surely one of the ultimate aims of art in the streets – to connect to the general public in a way that art in a museum cannot.

Yola’s piece is located at Charcas and Sanchez de Bustamente in Palermo, Buenos Aires.

You can see more work from Yola here: http://yolastreetart.blogspot.com/

ELLE

Take a sunset tour of some of the most beautiful graffiti in the world with the Graffitimundo crew (info@graffitimundo.com; +54 9113 683 3219) and then go for drinks at the Post Street Bar (Thames 1885), a stencil-art covered dive bar with awesome Krylon-decorated toilets and a graffiti gallery upstairs

Fuera de la Línea

Fuera de la Linea opened last month and will run until June 28 at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Rosario (MACRo), a remarkable building built within abandoned grain storage silos overlooking the river Paraná in Rosario, Argentina.

Set across six floors, the exhibition showcased work from Argentina artists Nerf, Pum Pum, Jaz, Ever, Georgina Ciotti, Poeta, Roma, Andrés Bonavera (Larva), Lucas Lasnier (Parbo), Pedro Perelman (PMP)rundontwalkNazza Stencil, Argentine art collectives federación stickboxing, DOMA & FASE together with Brazilian artists Gen Duarte, Zezau, Fefe Talavera and Highraff.

With an all-star lineup, featuring some of the best known and loved graffiti and street artists from Argentina and Brazil it was perhaps inevitable that Fuera de la Linea would be described as an exhibition of “graffiti art” in the press, however this wasn’t how curators and siblings Lucas Zambrano & Soledad Zambrano presented their exhibition. Instead of focusing on the relationship the exhibiting artists have with the streets, the curators presented them as vanguards that have consistently pushed traditional artistic boundaries – and worked “fuera de la linea” (outside the line). This subtle shift in presentation avoided any preconceptions of what a “graffiti art” exhibition should incorporate, and allowed the curators to focus on demonstrating how the artists have challenged convention.

The exhibition had been two years in the making, and to the curators it represented a progression from the work they had begun when they arranged for street artists to create collaborative murals in Carabobo & Puan subway stations. This had been a seminal moment for street art in Argentina, and represented institutional recognition for the main styles of Argentine street art. These murals were part of the long running project to capture Argentina’s artistic heritage within the subte network.

The inclusion of Brazilian artists in an exhibition of Argentine vanguards was an interesting move. The curators explained that they wanted to highlight the international quality of many of these artists’ work. In the same way they have pushed beyond the limitations of canvases and galleries, they have also taken their art beyond national borders. Artistically there has always been a special relationship between Argentina & Brazil. For many, Sao Paulo holds the crown as the most important city for street art in Latin America. Brazilian artists played an important role during the formative years of the Argentine scene, and ties remain strong between the two movements.

The exhibition was striking both in terms of the styles represented and the variety of work on display. DOMA & FASE (who had joined forces to become FAMA) created an extraordinary installation featuring an enormous wooden golem. Lying on the floor and set against a painted city backdrop, the golem had been coated in luminous paint and came to life when the lights were shut off and his glowing skeletal form was revealed. Two floors of the exhibition were dedicated to murals, and showcased a glorious display of techniques, styles and colours from Argentine and Brazilian artists who had collaborated to make creative use of the space. Two floors featured videos, photography and a space for sponsors, and the top floor of the museum featured a gallery of framed pieces together with a spectacular installation from Kid Gaucho & Federico Felici. Whilst the gallery was perhaps the most conventional use of space, it demonstrated how easily the artists could work “within the lines” when they wanted to.

True to its theme, the standout elements of the show were the occassions where artists had breached the conventional spaces, whether that meant extending beyond a framed canvas, splashing a concept across the museums’ walls or spilling out into the stairwell, where the Rosario collective Federación Stickboxing had covered the staircase between each floor in stickers, pasteups and stencils. The whole exhibition bristled with energy and colour, and collaboration between different artists & collectives was evident throughout.

The exhibition was visually spectacular and conceptually intriguing. With the majority of the artists exhibiting being best known for their works in the street, it would have been all too easy to position the show as one of “Argentine street art”. By avoiding the “street art” label, the curators highlighted something different and ultimately more interesting – the constantly changing relationship these artists have with materials, techniques, environments and audiences.

Photos below are from our flickr:  http://www.flickr.com/graffitimundo/

POP UP Gallery

For a single weekend, an abandoned house in Las Canitas was transformed into an art installation, with the interior and exterior walls featuring works from Jaz, Roma, Poeta, Tester, Triangulo Dorado, Mart, Dardo Malatesta, Whiskii, Mar del Plata, Sebastian Lartigue & Estudio Tokyo.

Each room featured work with from a different artist, and each took a different approach.Whilst some rooms were immaculately restored, others were left as they were found – with the textures of crumbling plaster and the shadows cast by peeling paintwork contributing to the artwork.

The installation was part of a program of events run by Red Bull called “House of Art”, which has seen various buildings in cities across the world transformed by local artists.

Plenty of brands work with street artists, commission murals and create “graffiti” style advertising, but Red Bull have been more successful than most – mainly through their commendable stance on creating opportunities, then standing well back from the artists and giving them creative control over the project.

With branded presence kept to a minimum, the “House of Art” was reminiscent of the inaugural exhibition at CCEBA, where street artists transformed another derelict building (a former orphanage) into an extraordinary collaborative art space.

Turbo parade

On a cloudy day in March, the Doma collective gathered in Palermo to do what they do best; to bring positivity, energy and life to the streets. The Turbo parade celebrated the end of an era and the beginning of new adventures for the Doma guys, as their gallery, Turbo, closed after 3 years and they get ready to work on new projects and develop their online gallery.

The carnival-style parade gave many friends and supporters of the gallery the chance to celebrate Turbo, who braved the rain to take part and dressed up in colourful costumes that the Doma guys had spent weeks creating. Once the costumes were on, banners and bikes filled the streets and the carnival danced around Palermo to culminate in Plaza Mafalda with fireworks and applause from happy, energised people.

The Turbo gallery has been a staple fixture on the graffitimundo tour since we began in 2009.  As one of the only galleries in Buenos Aires to consistently showcase street art, it has raised the profile of many young or outsider artist, who otherwise may not have had the chance to exhibit. The exhibitions have given many people inspiration and joy. We thank the Doma crew, Paula and Leo for their work at the gallery and wish them every success for future endeavours.

Long may the spirit of Turbo continue! Que siga el baile!

Thank you to Doma for letting us use the photos. More from Turbo’s flickr here

LA NACION

Crece el prestigio de los pintores urbanos y Buenos Aires gana un lugar entre las ciudades que mejor entienden este fenómeno artístico

El Nestornauta

The walls of Buenos Aires have paid homage to Nestor Kirchner in various ways. In the immediate aftermath of his death, the words ‘Siempre Nestor’ were splashed across the city. To mark the one-month anniversary of Nestor Kirchner’s death, the political group La Campora distributed stencils to activists in every barrio of the capital, and the image of ‘El Nestornauta’ began to appear throughout Buenos Aires and beyond.

El Nestornauta is a combination of two images – the  face of Nestor Kirchner, wearing the suit of the classic Argentine comic character “El Eternauta“.

The cartoon “El Eternauta” depicted an apocalyptic vision of Buenos Aires, where survivors of a lethally toxic snowfall had to resist an alien invasion. The cartoonist  Héctor Germán Oesterheld explored the themes of war, politics, heroism and sacrifice through the comic, and in later series such as  “El Eternauta Part II” the cartoon became more overtly political.  Osterheld began to take a narrative role within the comic strip, and El Eternauta became an allegory for contemporary Argentina, and openly critical of the military dictatorship.

In 1977 Osterheld disappeared. A year later, his four daughters disappeared. Along with tens of thousands of Argentines who disappeared during the dirty war, they were abducted and murdered by the military junta.

Casting Nestor Kirchner as El Eternauta is a clear tribute to his work as a politician and leader, and his role in bringing Argentina out of crisis. But within the image there lies another important tribute to his work in bringing the architects and executioners of the military junta to justice.  The repeal of the “Ley de Punto Final” & “Ley de Obediencia Debida” during Nestor Kirchner’s presidency stripped away the pardons and protections which prevented former junta members from being tried for their crimes. Through this action, Nestor Kirchner ensured that those responsible for the murder of Osterheld and countless others could be brought to justice.

There is a grim irony to the observation that Oesterheld depicted the invading alien forces in El Eternauta as predominantly noble beings, subject to the orders of evil commanders. We can only speculate as to where he would have drawn the line of culpability between those who ordered, planned and carried out his abduction and murder, and that of his children.

AFAR

Graffitimundo’s walking tour introduces travelers to these artists in the hip Palermo neighborhood.

"Ermelinda" by Clavahead

The walls of Buenos Aires are full of stories.

The stencil top right is a portrait of Ermelinda, an elderly lady suffering from Alzheimers. Whilst Ermelinda no longers remembers Buenos Aires, the walls of the city attest to the fact that she has not been forgotten.

A beautiful and moving tribute.

Ermelinda stencil and colourful background painted by Clavahead

Pipe player stencil lower right painted by Cabaio Stencil

INDEPENDENT

The unusually creative street art that adorns the walls of the Argentinian capital is a big attraction for tourists.

"Aguante" by Jaz @ HIC

In a new exhibition at Hollywood in Cambodia gallery in Buenos Aires, Franco “Jaz” Fasoli explores the theme of football hooliganism in Argentina for his latest exhibition “Aguante“.

The gallery opened in a mock football field, with abstract images of violence between fans set against iconic pictures of some of the most notorious members of the barras bravas.

A second room featured football fans, stripped to the waist and covered in tattoos carved on by visitors.

Mural and Art Projects

Over the years graffitimundo has facilitated mural and art commissions for individuals, social organisations, local businesses and multinational brands such as Google and Facebook.

Commercial artwork projects are now managed by Galeria Union, with graffitimundo focusing on non profit, artistic and educational projects.

For example we recently worked with TECHO, a Latin American non profit organisation which seeks to improve the conditions of those living in precarious housing. Techo were looking for an innovative way to communicate their campaign message ‘Cuando tenés un techo, no tenés techo’ (when you have a roof, you have no limits).

Working with local government we found a public location which offered high impact and visibility, reaching hundreds of thousands of people each day.

We assembled a team of artists to work with Techo to develop the visual concept, and La Wife, Tester, Pum Pum, Pelos de Plumas and Amor created a vibrant mural to support Techo’s campaign.

If you are interested in discussing opportunities to collaborate with artists in our network on creative projects please get in touch.

WASHINGTON POST

It’s only fitting that in a city named for its pleasant weather, much of the most striking art should be found outdoors.

Battlegrounds and Playgrounds

One of the main objectives of our organisation is to present the urban art scene scene of Buenos Aires within the context of Argentine history and culture. To help reach a wider audience we are working on a book which explores the city’s tradition of expression in the public space through an examination of political and artistic movements that have taken place in the streets over the last century.

The book was recognised as a project of important cultural significance by a city government initiative, and awarded funding to support its production. It is currently scheduled for release in 2015, to coincide with the release of our feature documentary “White Walls Say Nothing”.

If you are interested in learning more about the book and opportunities to collaborate on this project please get in touch.

White Walls Say Nothing

“White Walls Say Nothing” is a feature length documentary we are producing which explores the relationship between art and activism, and the complex dynamics of repression and expression throughout Buenos Aires’ turbulent history.

In October 2012 we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to finance the production of the film. Filming began in 2013 and the film’s release is scheduled for 2015.

If you are interested in learning more about the project, and opportunities to collaborate in the production, please get in touch.

Education and Outreach

As part of our mission to help promote the city’s urban art culture we work with an extensive network of private and public educational bodies, organising tours, workshops and talks for local and international students. We also work with social organisations to help promote the scene and engage people outside of our traditional reach.

Centro Conviven is community centre in Ciudad Oculta, which supports families and children who live in the socially and economically deprived neighbourhood. The centre runs activities for the children, including trips outside of their neighbourhood aimed at showing them different sides of the city they live in.

We were proud to collaborate with Centro Conviven by creating a special tour and workshop for the children, introducing them to urban art and showing them new techniques to paint and express themselves.

We are always happy to work with educational institutions and social organisations who are interested in learning more about the scene and engaging with its artists. Please get in touch if you feel there are opportunities for us to collaborate.

"Buenos Aires Calling" in London

graffitimundo presents: BUENOS AIRES CALLING!

London’s first collective exhibition of work from Buenos Aires street artists will take place at Pure Evil gallery, from Thursday 26th August until Sunday 12th September.

Showcasing pieces from Federico Minuchin & Tester of rundontwalk, the FASE collective, Buenos Aires Stencil, Malatesta, STENCILLAND, Chu, Defi, Orilo, Pum Pum, Cabaio Stencil and Jaz, the exhibition will feature some of the eclectic styles that make up the thriving Buenos Aires street art movement.

Pure Evil Gallery 108 Leonard st London EC2A 4XS
Gallery Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm everyday

www.pureevil.me

BBC

The new street art group exhibition “Buenos Aires Calling” presents a well worth seeing insight into the Argentinian street art scene.

Turbo Gallery in Arte BA 2010

The Turbo gallery at Arte BA 2010 managed to successfully convey the impact of street art in an indoor setting.

Dominating the outside of the Turbo area were huge pieces by Tester, rundontwalk, Tec and Buenos Aires Stencil. The artworks made such an impact not just because of their size, but also as they’d been created on found objects – metal grids, wooden doors and slats. The pieces were a hit with buyers with several works being snapped up straight away.

Doma and HIC crew, the art collectives who run Turbo Gallery and Hollywood Cambodia respectively, continue to produce artwork at a prolific rate and represent some of the finest young artistic talents in Buenos Aires.

Their growing success in the contemporary art world is testament to their talent, energy and determination to bring their art to the public through streets and galleries, without compromising their vanguard principles.

Blu – Big Bang Big Boom

An unscientific point of view on the beginning and evolution of life … and how it could probably end

Direction and animation by BLU
Production and distribution by ARTSH.it
Sountrack by ANDREA MARTIGNONI

Tec – Ruta 9 project

Tec’s latest project saw him travel up the largely abandoned ruta 9, taking inspiration from the surrounding and transforming derelict structures.

The project was captured in his short film “Ruta 9″, which is currently being shown at select film festivals.

See more of TEC’s work here and here

 

LA NACION

El fenómeno del arte callejero gana cada vez más espacio. En Europa, las obras se subastan por miles de euros. Aquí, grafitis, murales y esténciles se exhiben en galerías. Los nuevos protagonistas de una tendencia que deja huella.

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

LA NACION

En Berlín, Nueva York, San Pablo, Melbourne y Buenos Aires se organizan recorridos para conocer los grafitis más famosos y originales de cada ciudad y la historia detrás de ellos.

MATADOR NETWORK

graffitimundo : Street art for the people in Buenos Aires It’s only fitting, then, that graffitimundo, a company that gives graffiti tours in English, sheds light on the artists and their processes in an accessible way. Marina Charles, who leads the tours, doesn’t get bogged down with curatorial jargon that means nothing to the average viewer. She takes visitors through the history of the graffiti renaissance after the dictatorship, pointing out key art and artists off the beaten path from Chacarita to Villa Crespo and ending in Palermo.

Galeria Union

Galeria Union is a new project lead by Jonny Robson and Marina Charles, both founders of graffitimundo.

Having curated art exhibitions in Buenos Aires and internationally, the launch of a new gallery space in the city represents a natural progression in graffitimundo’s objectives to promoting Argentine urban art and support local artists, creating new spaces and opportunities for connection.

Union opened in 2014 in a beautifully restored period property in San Telmo, and features several spaces for temporary exhibitions, a permanent collection of works from the city’s leading artists, together with studio and production space for local artists.

For more information on please visit www.galeriaunion.com

NEW YORK TIMES

This attractive city continues to draw food lovers, design buffs and party people with its riotous night life, fashion-forward styling and a favorable exchange rate.

LA NACION

Los otros yo de la ciudad, con guía y todo; para locales y visitantes

TODO NOTICIAS

De turistas a emprendedores. Informe especial

BUENOS AIRES HERALD

…to make the most of the Graffiti Mundo tour which stops off at galleries en route, a whole afternoon should be put by. The guides are very knowledgeable and there is plenty of art to soak up.”

LA NACION

La calle es una galería a cielo abierto cada vez más sorprendente gracias a las troupes aficionadas a dar color a la ciudad con esténciles, grafitis, stickers y afiches

WUBA

“Perfect for the curious tourist or the established art geek, the girls at graffitmundo offer a 3-hour tour that allows you to get up close and personal with not only the art but its creators as well. The tour winds throughout the city, visiting various walls, buildings, bridges, and local parks that showcase some of the best street artists of Buenos Aires.”

ARGENTINA INDEPENDENT

“[graffitimundo] are enthusiastic about showing participants what they want to see, and the opportunity to meet the artists opens your eyes to the richness of the expanding community that exists in the city.”

ABC NEWS

A vibrant and expressive scene exists in Buenos Aires, where advocates argue there is a higher proportion of quality work than cheap graffiti tagging.