I went on a graffiti tour of Buenos Aires not really knowing what to expect. I loved it so much I ended up going on another one through a different part of the city just to learn more. Graffiti or street art or tagging or whatever you want to call it is absolutely illegal in Argentina. However, it is 100% tolerated and even used by political parties to send messages. Many artists love signing their names and even their tumblr information so you can find out more about them. This is very different from the United States!
The great thing about graffiti in Buenos Aires is that while learning about the art you also learn about the history of Argentina in a visual and interesting way. In 1983 democracy was restored in Argentina and the peso was valued at 1:1 to the US dollar. Prior to this, they were under a military regime that closed off most access to influences from the outside world. Now that it was cheap to travel, Argentines left the country to places like New York, Berlin, Paris, Munich and various other places. This also meant that for the first time kids saw graffiti and street art which was totally new to them. Thus begins graffiti in Argentina.
December 21, 2001 the economy of Argentina epically failed. The peso was instantly devalued and people’s life savings were depleted in days. It was so bad that the country went through 7 presidents in a week. People who were doctors and lawyers were now cab drivers and bus drivers and well below the poverty line. Anyone with any sort of artistic background took to the streets to state their outrage! To this day, walking around Buenos Aires and exploring the streets, you can see what people went through and what people felt during these times and what they feel about the economy and political situation today.
Blu likes to paint things with commentary about the economic situation of Argentina.
Jaz has evolved in his style from hip hop style graffiti to amazing murals. He likes to mix his paints with gasoline and tar to create a different texture in his images to help portray his message.