As I rev up to get going on my travels once again, I thought I’d share a post that I recently wrote for CreativeLive about the flourishing and ubiquitous artists of Buenos Aires who serve as some serious inspiration….
Lessons on Success from the Artists of Buenos Aires
You don’t want to be a starving artist, but you know that getting rich and famous isn’t going to happen overnight. So how do you keep motivated day after day? Take some inspiration from the creative haven that is Buenos Aires.
In the constantly fluctuating economy of Argentina, the residents of Buenos Aires (known as porteños) have long since learned to go with the flow and roll with the financial punches. As a result, this flexible attitude toward daily life has only served to encourage and nourish artistic inspiration and incredible innovation. Creativity flourishes all over this unwieldy, enormous city, in its nooks and crannies, in its wide streets and tree-lined plazas
Here are a few observations of artists in full creative force in boisterous Buenos Aires:
Centro cultural (cultural center)
Photography and art exhibitions, live concerts, local and foreign films and dance performances happen all the time at these creativity-fueled and beautifully decorated gathering places. Events are often free, snacks and drinks are sold at a price everyone can afford, and the venues often have outdoor areas due to the great weather year-round. During the day, some centers serve as a space for a huge variety of free or low cost art, music or dance workshops and classes. Almost every night (especially on weekends), you’ll find local artists and musicians proudly showing off their work, whether they are amateurs or have been in the game for awhile. It’s just an inspiring experience to be in a relaxed place where people put away their pretensions and are there for nothing other than to absorb and revel in the passion of art and music.
Ferias (outdoor markets)
Every day, and especially on weekends, Buenos Aires is bursting with ferias, which are basically outdoor markets (sometimes indoors) where local artisans sell their wares. Almost every major neighborhood has its own weekend feria that takes place in a dedicated area, like a pretty plaza or a park, where locals and tourists alike stroll leisurely past each table. The temptations are endless, and most items for sale are carefully handmade with incredible, unique detail that can only come from true passion—framed photographs of the city, silver jewelry, genuine leather purses, recycled paper journals, stained glass chime, ceramic cups, crocheted children’s clothing. The artists, ranging from young students to grandmothers, sit at their tables, smiling and chatting with passersby about their work, proudly displaying the products of their imagination and creativity. Who needs Etsy if you have a feria?
Buenos Aires street art
It’s not the senseless scribbling over statues and buildings that I mean. It’s the larger than life, eye-popping, breathtaking images that pass by as you look out the bus or train window, as you walk through almost any neighborhood in Buenos Aires. From quirky animals and aliens to political and historical messages, the street artists of this city use colors and shapes (and sometimes even gold sparkles and seashells!) to evoke serious and subtle emotions and grab your attention. What you see in Buenos Aires makes you really believe that street art is truly necessary for any city to tell its ever-evolving story—and that a blank canvas can be found anywhere.
Train and subway buskers
If you ever take the train or subway in Buenos Aires, these are the lessons you’ll learn: sing and play your heart out with passion and honesty—and the people will smile and clap for you, and they will feel uplifted by your music in the midst of their long day. What is your art for if not that?
Before you decide that you’re out of ideas, out of inspiration, check out how it’s done in the art-filled barrios of Buenos Aires.