So this weekend I went on a street art tour around Buenos Aires.
Before I go on with my thoughts, I want address an important question: what actually is street art? My tour guide talked a lot about this. Lots of us associate street art with some sort of negative connotation. Maybe we think about it as illegal, vandalism, and graffiti. It’s interesting thought because that type of art on the walls of a city is not “street art.” Both street art and graffiti are done by artists, but the difference is that street art is commissioned and 100% legal. Actually lots of building and home owners want to find a street artist to paint their walls so that way they avoid getting tagged by a graffiti artist.
I thought this was an interesting point and I never really thought about it this way. Personally, my opinion of street art was shaped a few years ago. I didn’t really care for it until I went on a lanes and arcades tour in Melbourne, Australia. Some of the “lanes” and alleyways were full of street art that was honestly really interesting and beautiful.
That’s why I wanted to go on this street art tour in Buenos Aires. This type of art is all over the city, but I wanted to go on an official tour to compare to my tour in Australia. And I have to say, I am not the biggest fan of following a tour guide around for 3 hours and listening to history and stories behind art. But his notes about the difference between graffiti and street art were very interesting and definitely pulled my perspective even more in favor of all the murals in the city.
But again, as I said, I don’t like to follow a tour guide around. I just cannot listen for that long to something that is only a minor interest for me. So, this was really the extent of the“educational” part I got from the tour. But not to worry, I do have some “Evonna” observations of my own.
Since I’ve already mentioned the tour guide, I will start with my observations about him. Though I don’t really like to listen to the content of a tour guide, I definitely get a kick out of them and think that they have so many interesting qualities. Over my years of traveling I have had many. My favorite has to be Jorge from Segovia. But there is also Brett with the Penguins from Phillip Island or Nacho while water rafting in Costa Rica. And now, I have Matt from this tour. He was quite the character to add to my list.
I guess tour guides sort of have to be somewhat of a character. Their job is not only to educate tourist, but also to be their entertainment for the day. What I liked about Matt was that he kept our stops at each mural rather short. We stopped, looked at the murals, heard some information on the piece we were looking, and then “any more questions? No? okay. Let’s keep going.” He said this after every mural with barely any stops in between, basically not leaving room for a question. We had a lot to cover and only 3 hours, so my guess is that he was worried about time. But I just thought this little antic was pretty funny and is the one thing I will remember most from the whole tour.
Another thing that was really interesting to me was the actual neighborhoods we were walking around in. This tour brought me out of my usual neighborhoods of Palermo and Recoleta. We went more to the western part of the city into the neighborhoods of Coghlan and Villa Urquiza. They were nice and quiet and very residential. And my goodness, some of the houses were insanely beautiful. Most were just normal cute little houses. But then, throughout our walk, we would come across a crazy looking modern house or another house that looked like a French cottage. I definitely consider myself a city girl and like being in the center of everything day to day, but taking a step outside of the busy part of Buenos Aires and into a quitter area was so nice. It was like the perfect “weekend getaway,” even though I was just walking through for a little bit 🙂
So yes, the Buenos Aires street art tour was definitely worth it. If you ever find yourself in Buenos Aires, I 100% would recommend. If you like tours, then its right up your alley. If you’re like me and don’t like the tour part as much, it is still so worth it because you get to look at interesting murals and street art while also walking through a more tranquil part of the city. And who knows, maybe you’ll get a character tour guide too to add to your list of memorable guides 🙂 I only have 5 weeks left here, so it is fun to get to travel to different parts of the city to see all sides of Buenos Aires. I probably cannot tell you which artists completed which murals and why, but I do have a bit more wisdom in the world of street art now that I have exposed myself to more of it and know the true definition of street art.