Yesterday I made my splash into the Buenos Aires graffiti scene.
I’ve been admiring the art-form from afar for a while, and yesterday my friend Matt offered to bring me to the introductory class in graffiti after his tour. The class was led by a Buenos Aires street art legend, Pelado.
The pieces that I’ve been sharing, and admiring around the world are incredible. They’re pieces of work by masters. Pelado is one of these masters. He went to Brazil in the 90’s to study under two of the most famous street artists in the world, Os Gemeos (The Twins.)
He brought the techniques he learned in Sao Paolo back to Buenos Aires, and has been creating some of the best works in the city, and therefore the world, since 1994.
On this given day, we were granted the opportunity to learn the basics from this legend. An amazing opportunity indeed. But would we succeed?
It was a crazy experience. When I was told we’d be taking a class, my western ‘sensibility’ told me that we’d be in a studio, spraying possibly a concrete wall that he uses with other students.
But we’re in Buenos Aires, so we chose a wall, and started practicing.
It was a very weird experience to so publicly be spray painting public walls. It felt like we were doing something wrong, but the reality is that in Buenos Aires it’s perfectly legal.
This still didn’t change the awkward feeling that my Canadian upbringing was telling me we’d be locked up at any minute. Combined with the strange looks of passersby, it made for a legal, but badass experience.
At one point a middle-aged woman passed by and asked us all where we were from. I told her that we were from Switzerland, the UK, and Canada. She commented about how wonderful it was to have us visiting her country, and that she hoped we would have a great time. All of this while we were painting ‘GRINGO’ on a wall behind her.
I highly doubt this would happen back at home.
Back to the actually painting. Pelado led us through how to create graffiti step by step. We started with making straight lines. Yes, exciting, I know. Believe it or not, there’s a lot behind getting different lines and forms out of a spray can.
After getting the basics on how to paint a straight line, we decided on what we were going to paint. We decided ‘GRINGO’ was fitting. We painted the lettering in white latex paint, creating the outline for our masterpiece.
After completing our letters in white, we went about filling in the lettering with our chosen colours: green, pink, yellow, and red. He told us that using geometry, and curvy lines add to the piece. We tried to follow his lead as best we could.
By the end of the process, we had collectively created something that didn’t look terrible. Of course, the whole time we were being closely watched by Pelado, and his guiding hands. He corrected some of our small mistakes, and touched the piece up to look presentable.
The final touch were our street tags, or signatures.
Want to Create Your Own Buenos Aires Graffiti?
Contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can set up your own personal lesson with one of the greats on the Buenos Aires street art scene. The cost was 200 Argentine Pesos, and was an extremely fun and unique experience. I’d highly recommend it when you’re visiting Buenos Aires.