This article was written on 02 Jan 2012, and is filled under Big Ideas, Inspiration.

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Street Art in Buenos Aires

From October to mid-December, I traveled to Buenos Aires and throughout Argentina. While abroad, it became overwhelmingly apparent to me that traveling is so vital for creative minds. The act of navigating life in a different culture forced me to expand my concept of reality (which had slowly narrowed since starting my career). Rarely will unfamiliar sights, sounds, and settings fail to inspire you to think about life in a new way. It’s been written in countless books that ambitious creatives are driven by an intellectual curiousity that isn’t satisfied by the newest gadget or acquisition of creature comforts. In Fall of 2011, I couldn’t deny that I had been craving an experience that would open my mind to new perspectives, ideas, and ways of interpreting the world around me. Luckily, my business partner was supportive and encouraging when told about my big scheme to work from South America.

It should be noted that this journey was both a creative indulgence, as well as a celebration to the start of my marriage. Before our wedding, my wife and I had talked about traveling abroad and nothing seemed to make more sense than to extend our honeymoon into a short-term expat experience in Buenos Aires. Upon our arrival to one of the world’s largest cities, I immediately began to discover so many new and creatively energetic things beyond the borders of my mind. It took a couple of days to find ease in the sense of feeling alien, but reaching that mental state permitted a hypersensitivity to my surroundings and the incredible visual art around the city.

Not only does Buenos Aires have a grand collection of museums and galleries, but the city boasts an amazing wealth of vibrant street art (or graffiti). As a graphic designer from the United States, this is beyond inspiring. Everyday, I found myself walking amongst 19th century French architecture featuring expressive murals full of color and conceptual subject matter. More than nearly any place in the world, Buenos Aires is especially open to street art and the people of the city value it.

In the US, we have a beloved aesthetic that compulsively bleaches all things into an orderly cleanliness in order to relay sophistication and modernity. Street art just doesn’t seem to have a place in our culture. This is just one of the reasons to travel. Other people value mediums that may not be embraced in our hometowns and creative people can thrive in those mediums. The standard and quality of the artwork one can find along the buildings of Buenos Aires is both inspiring and eye-opening. I wish I could credit the artist for every piece of work that I saw, but I hope sharing images of their art will serve as an extension of the public nature of their medium.

Let me be straightforward about my experience – I was foreign to Argentina and I was pretty foreign to the world of street art. I knew of a few people in the US that dabbled in the post-graffiti style and skate culture, but no one seemed like they really knew all that much. Actually, the scene is fairly minimal because most places in my country are in an active pursuit of destroying this artform wherever it exists. So, I’m no expert. I was just lucky to find myself somewhere with an abundant display of unsanctioned public art. While in Buenos Aires, I was even lucky enough attend a citywide street art event that brought artists from around the world to exercise their talent on spaces throughout the city. The event was called Meeting of Styles (take a look at the great promo video on YouTube).

Buenos Aires isn’t the only city to find value in this form of public art. Surely, there are loads more places in the world that embrace the artform (Meeting of Styles happens in great cities around the globe). Really, I was just new to it all. Discovering an appreciation of street art was only a slice of what I gained while traveling, but it hits a note that resonates for me as a designer. Throughout the world, creative people are expressing their talents and trying to push boundaries. It’s encouraging to find that there are millions of people out there who appreciate the efforts of these artists.

- Mike Sakoonserksadee

Great Info & Links on Buenos Aires Street Art

Video Link: Meeting of Styles Promo

Video Link: Meeting of Styles Coverage


One Comment

  1. Mike Sakoonserksadee
    April 4, 2012

    Okay – so the next stop might be Melbourne –

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