And so it begins. Welcome/Bienvenido to a space of transcontinental dialogue between the walls that talk in cities across the globe. We start in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After six months of studying abroad in this chaotic city, I was inevitably drawn to the colors, the characters, the stories, and the poetry that springs out from every other corner. I’ve heard people say that street art is dead, the pioneers like Banksy and Shepard Fairey have sold out—street art is now commercialized and packaged as a new “hip” form of art ready for sale. The walls of this city say otherwise. Here street art is growing at a rapid pace, and as new murals pop up the old ones maintain their respected place in the barrio. “Arte callejero” is technically illegal, but as one of the cities minor “problems”, street art seems have a socially and culturally accepted place in public space.
My goal is to explore this vibrant world of strange creatures and unexpected color by documenting and mapping out the art I find, and by a conducting barrage of interviews with artists and porteños that have something to say. I’ll use this blog to share their words and art, and to hopefully connect everyone in between the latitudes and longitudes with this new visual language. All commentary and tangents are welcomed and encouraged, and I hope this blog will become an all inclusive participatory experience for all those that are inspired.
I’ll be in Buenos Aires until July 23rd, and then I will fly back to the US and spend the rest of the summer in New York City…basically conducting the same exploration. Both cities have different stories to tell, and I will do my best to make my posts bilingual and available to all Americans (Canada to Tierra del Fuego). This is a sociological investigation that seeks to truly dig into the social, cultural, and political roots of street art in each city. Through a comparison of one of the birth places of graffiti and street art to a more recent epicenter of art and innovation, I hope to find the universal dimensions of street art that reflect an international social movement—a movement that has played an essential role in illustrating political revolutions and cultural movements against materialism and the privatization of public space in countries around the world.
Of course, I have more personal reasons for conducting this research…I have been obsessed with street art for a few years now. I continue to be amazed at the creativity and ingenuity of street artists around the world. I could ramble on for hours about it and sound like a complete cheese ball, but hopefully I’ll provide enough evidence through this blog to convince the non-believers. It may be hard to believe, but art can change the world. Our visual environment affects us more than we care to acknowledge.
So feel free to follow. Tell your friends. Let me know what you think. Even after the summer is over I will continue the blog as I write my thesis—when input will be just as important. I apologize in advance for ridiculous Spanglish, but maybe we can all learn a few new words? Espero que si.