Having such an open schedule here in BsAs lately has left me with some choices. I can sit around the house or various bookstores while taking advantage of fast Internet & just “live out” my last 2 weeks, I can jam pack my days with all of the touristy things I didn’t get to before, or I can sort of combine the two while leaving open space for, let’s say, whims. Yesterday was one of those days that took me where it felt like taking me, & I don’t think it could’ve ended up much better.
Since some of my housemates are here on much shorter summer programs, they’re taking completely different classes than what I took during the semester. Some of them hardly even speak Spanish! One such housemate, Jack, needed to interview a street artist in order to write a paper that he was dedicating to the art found on the streets of BsAs. Literally half an hour before he was supposed to meet the artist he had contacted, he came to ask me if I would take a 30+ minute bus ride out to Villa Luro to play translator. I had a few hours to kill, so why not?
I was a little wary about navigating the trip & even more aware of how much (over 6-foot tall blonde) Jack & I were sticking out from the crowd in this working-class, residential, very non-touristy neighborhood. Thankfully we made our way to Alejandro Dufort‘s studio safe & sound, if only an hour late. Being Argentine, & also an emotional artsy type, Ale didn’t care one bit; it seemed to me that he couldn’t get over the fact that two young students from the U.S. had trekked out just to see the work he does in his little corner of BsAs.
Ale & I got through the interview questions that Jack needed answered, but the best part of our visit came afterwards when the three of us plus Ale’s assistant, Julian, had the chance to open up the floor to any & every question we could think to ask each other. We drank coffee; talked about our views of each other’s home countries; discussed politics, human emotion, technology, education, & the role of art in every aspect of life. Julian & Ale also managed to rearrange the entire studio so we could admire Ale’s various paintings & sculptures. Here’s some of what we saw:
As you can see, Ale has a clear focus on women & family. It was amazing listening to an artist explaining his own work: his thoughts behind each piece, his artistic process, & what he wants his audience to get out of the work. He also does a lot of commercial work, which is where the street art comes in. He’s done several big murals in Palermo, so I’ll have to go out & look for them!
The minutes ticked by until we had been in Ale’s studio for almost 3 hours & definitely were going to be late for dinner at Elda’s (if you’ve been reading since the beginning, you know this is a serious problem). Julian was nice enough to guide us back to our beloved 55 bus home & give us some insight into the life of Buenos Aires art schools along the way. On the bus ride home, I debriefed Jack on some parts of the conversation that got lost in translation, & couldn’t believe all of the things I had learned in such a short time from someone I probably never would have met on my own. It’s amazing what life can throw at you & how much you can grow from those small random experiences.