In 2006 Federico Minuchin, from Run Don't Walk, along with BA Stencils and Malatesta, founded the only art gallery which shows street art, Hollywood in Cambodia, housed in a bar at 1800 Thames St. in Palermo. But graffiti is not an indoors experience. In Jaz's words: Graffiti belongs to the streets and to the streets alone. That's where it was born and that's where it should stay.
Buenos Aires new urban art shows the influence of the filete porteño, a local style of graffiti first developed by Italian immigrants. Much of Jaz's graffiti is rooted in Buenos Aires filete style.
Jaz. Front cover of Graffiti Argentina by Maximiliano Ruiz
Until 1975, when an absurd law forbade it, city buses were profusely decorated with filete patterns.
Filete porteño: Photo from http://www.taringa.net/posts/arte/2463440/Fileteado-porteño:-historia,-técnicas,-descargas-y- videos
Like the traditional filete, graffiti chooses clean lines, geometrical figures and bright colours; it also uses other surfaces apart from walls. Graffiteros have left ingenious expressions of their art on train and metro carriages. Below is a masterly piece by Zekis, one of the first Chilean street artists, now painting as Cekis in NYC. The figure of a recumbernt woman was sprayed one night between 3am and 5am, in Buenos Aires, in 2002.
Zekis. Photo from Rodney Palmer's review of Graffiti Argentina
You can't walk around San Telmo or Barracas without running into one of Grolou's paintings. Grolou is Louis Danjou, a young French artist who lives part-time in San Telmo.
Grolou. 1000 Chacabuco St.
We are different groups - Danjou explains to La Vereda magazine, # 8 - each paints strange things, with no style. We have nothing in common with the current graffiti of, let's say, the USA or other movements. In Europe graffiti belongs to the Hip Hop movement; it's more compact and they use mostly letters.
Graffiteros sometimes work alone and sometimes in a group. Each painter does as he pleases, there are no rules. The materials for graffiti include white latex, colours to mix and Montana Color, a spray especially made for graffiti in Catalonia. Most paint for fun but for some it's also a way of making a living as paint manufacturers often sponsor artists.
Local graffiti has been criticized as having no message. The question is whether an original work, beautifully executed can ever be devoid of meaning. What is undeniable is that street art breaks the rules of the art market. It cannot be bought. It's there for everyone to see, free of charge.
Join the graffiti gallery by sending photos of your favourite graffiti (local or foreign) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interesting pages on Graffiti:
Graffiti y stencils
Book on Argentine graffiti
Argentine graffiti facebook
Lucas Lasnier aka Parbo
Louis Danjou aka Grolou