Friday, 28 January 2011

Buenos Aires Graffiti Mundo

Back in August, in London, I saw a flyer for a Graffiti Mundo exhibition showcasing the best of street art from Buenos Aires. I couldn't go, and I didn't think about it again until a friend suggested I take Anthropologie there as part of their inspiration trip to South America. I booked a private tour, shorter than their usual, but it was really interesting and informative. Here are my photo highlights.

Unlike New York or London, most of the graffiti in Buenos Aires is done by established artists rather than teenager delinquen
The artist who painted this wall mural did another similarly grotesque on the opposite corner to where our house is on Castillo and Thames.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

At the studio of fileteador Alfredo Genovese

I took the Anthropologie team to meet Alfredo Genovese, Argentina's most well-known fileteador. He studied at the School of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires and was shocked that fileteado, the decorative art that orginated in the horse-drawn carts and then the buses, and can be seen throughout the city, wasn't a recognised art form. You couldn't study it, but yet it was so part of the culture.

Alfredo started taking classes with one of the old masters of fileteado, and began introducing his own take on it. He is now the leading fileteador and is best known for his irreverent interpretation of classsic icons and images.

Alfredo's workshop in Caballito is the neatest artist's studio I've seen. He's a super nice guy and from April will be giving classes. Info on his website.

Alfredo draws the design onto tracing paper sheets, which he then dots with holes. This is then placed over the canvas or object he is going to paint, covers the tracing paper with talc and the template is left in talc for him to paint over. The powder template looked so cute on the wardrobe door where he demonstrated the technique. 

The Virgin of Lujan is an icon you often see on the dashboard of trucks and buses. She is meant to be the protector of the roads (Que ella nos guie - the one who guides us). Here's Alfredo's naked Virgin of Lujan.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Gabriela Horvat inspires Anthropologie

On Friday and Saturday I took Keith Johnson and Mitzie Wong from US store Anthropologie around Buenos Aires. Found objects buyer and Home Design Director respectively they were in Argentina for less than 24 hours as part of an inspiration visit to South America.

The designer who really caught their attention was wonderful jewelry artist, Gabriela Horvat. I went to the opening of her super cute, always changing and evolving workshop and gallery in Palermo, two years ago with my friend Ismay Atkins (before she left BA to start a new life in Cornwall, Is also gave me a gorgeous pendant made by Gabriela, which I treasure).

We'll wait and see if anything comes of it, but Keith was certainly very interested in featuring Gabriela and her work at the Anthropologie gallery in the Rockefeller Centre. In the meantime, you can see Gabriela's work and meet her at Honduras 5238, Monday to Saturday 11am-8pm.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


My dear friend Vic gave me this little card just before she left Buenos Aires for Oxford. Handwritten notes are always special in these days of email. Buenos Aires being a tough place to find cards, I knew the card was from Coucou in Palermo, but today I stumbled across a sneak peak of the Buenos Aires home of Eliza Jane Curtis, who turns out to be designer of this card and others by Morris & Essex.
I'm a sucker for buying things when I know a little about the designer or artist and their story, so if you receive a card like this from me in the post, you know why.

Monday, 17 January 2011

My favourite tree

Keeping on the flower theme, the Jacaranda tree and it's blossom which paints Buenos Aires in purple every spring has to be one of my favourite things here. Following on nicely from my previous post, the couple we bought our house from turned their previous home into a collection of short-term rental apartments, called Jacaranada BA.

There are so many fantastic flowers in BA, all through the year. I love the orange creeper that covers the garden wall at Olsen each winter, and the purple agapanthas that bloom at the same time as the Jacaranda. There are so many smells that for me are so Buenos Aires, but the scent of gardenia (and parrillas on Sunday) is at the top of the list.

Thanks to Beatrice Murch for the photos of Jacarandas, more of which can be viewed in her photo essay in the Argentine Independent, or on her blog The Trees of Buenos Aires.

Nostalgia and nardos

More blogging hiccups. I dropped my netbook last week so it´s in for repair, and meanwhile I´m going crazy with no compu. I have a big file of photos to upload to the blog, but they´re stuck on the netbook, grrr....
So for now I´ll be taking photos from other sites, so my blog doesn´t like dormant.

It´s mid January and I´m always reminded of us viewing for the first time the house we ended up buying. It was January 2005, a month after we´d arrived in Buenos Aires. The house in the process of being renovated and to distract from the smell of freshly laid concrete the owners had put a big vase of ´nardos´, a highly fragrant flower that is sold in BA in January-February. As I walk by flower stalls I´m filled with memories of us, not-yet-thirty, newbies in Argentina, and all the excitement of buying our first house - in cash, with what would have barely made enough for a deposit on a flat in London. January 2011 and we´re, sadly, thinking of selling it. Time to buy a big bunch of nardos, and hope they help someone else fall in love with it, just like we did.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

My snoozy woozy Seth

Who sleeps on grass, in pushchairs, with his cars, and on the wooden floor underneath the sofa.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Baskets, by Mari & Lita

Six years of pounding the streets of Palermo and I've got to know some great characters. Two of my favourites, who I like to call in and see most weeks are Mari & Lita, the Marcoveccio sisters who run the basket shop that their grandfather began, selling from his horse and trap.

 For years now they've had a vast space in the heart of trendy Palermo Hollywood but refuse to sell despite having had many offers. Mari told me people tell her she could retire to Miami with the money they'd pay for the space, but she tells them 'THIS is my Miami!'. She's in her late seventies, but is still a sharp business woman and full of energy.

 A few years ago Mari helped me make some 'spaghetti chairs' made from iron and woven plastic wire, and they've continued making similar chairs. At the moment I'm into the Peruvian basket bags they have in bright colours. I also quite fancy a pair of their square armchairs (second from the left in the photo above). It's a fab shop, on Gorriti close to the corner of Fitzroy in Palermo Hollywood. If you're in the neighbourhood, call by, but remember they are closed for a siesta in the afternoon. 

All rosy at the rosedal

It's been a sweltering hot summer in BA. In the heat I haven't felt like blogging, but I have a file of photos ready to upload when the temperatures drop. Seth is at a sports camp at Club de Amigos throughout January, so I'm getting to hang out with Bo on his own each morning. It's quite a treat, and he's so happy to have his Mama all to himself. 

I have a list of places that are way too much of an effort to get to with two imps, and so BBB and I have been heading off to galleries and gardens and faraway parts of town. Ona very muggy, overcast morning we crossed the park to the Rosedal, the beautiful rose garden in the middle of Palermo park. It was much easier to stop just one child trying to jump into the pond to join the ducks (Bo did actually climb into the llamas enclosure at the zoo last week, while I was trying to drag Seth away from feeding the goats).

 Sethie and Bo greet each other like long-lost friends after four apart, but just in case we'd forgotten his name, Seth emerges from the summer camp with his a label with his name on it stuck on his leg.