Category Archives: Art / Design

Jenn, Julia, Blaine, and Val’s Delightful Details

What happens when four stylish students, two of them artists, move in together? In the case of my friends Jenn, Julia, Blaine, and Val, you turn an old rundown apartment into a colorful, eclectic space full of entirely unique details.

I’ll start with Julia’s room. I absolutely love this giant graphic poster. In an apartment where you can’t/aren’t allowed to paint the walls, sometimes simply covering them up might be your best option. Typically, walls covered in posters skew a little too high school, but oversized ones like this can look great, especially on a matte paper with bold graphics.

I love Julia’s use of an old window pane as a jewelry rack. She chose to leave the glass in the pane to stick photos to, but I think an empty pane would also be a great idea – you could just drape necklaces and such over the rungs, in addition to hanging earrings on them.

A theme throughout the apartment was mixed and matched prints. This chair/pillow combination in Julia’s room was my favorite; the reds in both pattens unite them nicely.


Another good example was the florals of Jenn’s tapestry and armchair:

I love the old-fashioned floral patterns on  both of the chairs. Also, Jenn’s tapestry is another nice way of covering up boring white walls.

The kitchen was one of the less interesting rooms, but it had a few gems in it that were creations of Blaine’s. This chair was a design project for one of his classes:

He took an old vintage chair that had once been in a college lounge, stripped it down of all upholstery and finish, and then detailed it by hand with a morphed check pattern. The chandelier above the table was another one of Blaine’s designs, made out of a repurposed bicycle wheel and hubcap:

Blaine’s room, although quite cluttered, was full of strange gizmos and trinkets which turned the whole space into a giant still-life waiting to be composed.

Artists’ tools like a paintbrush and a finger cast were scattered everywhere. His walls were also laid out with a mixture of framed pictures and posters, which looked great against the wood panelling.

Little details like the moose figurine balanced on the picture frame are exactly what I love about this apartment. Finally, I’ll finish with the living room:

In person, the carved wood and leather chair was distinctive and striking. It had an old professorial vibe to it, without coming off as stuffy or boring. I also loved the display of colored glass jars and beer caps on the table next to it.

I think the assortment on this table best represents the apartment: cluttered and obviously home to some college kids, but also artfully decorated and visually stimulating.

Special thanks to Jenn M., Blaine O., Julia R., and Val C. for letting me creep around their apartment with a camera.

Street Art and Murals in Buenos Aires

One of my favorite parts of Buenos Aires’ general aesthetic is all of the graffiti, street art, and murals that grace its walls and buildings. The level of skill and artistic value ranges widely, from spray painted words bashing Kirchner (the less-than-loved current president) to gorgeous murals and works of art. I haven’t been able to photograph nearly as many as I would like because carrying my camera with me all the time tends to make me nervous, but here is a selection of what I have photographed:

This one’s my absolute favorite so far:

Guinea pig

I call it the psychedelic guinea pig. Here’s a close up of the bottom left corner:

cartoneros

The text says “Tu basura es mi tesoro,” which means “your trash is my treasure,” and I’m pretty sure it’s a commentary on the cartoneros here. Cartoneros are people who make a living by sorting through the trash and selling the recyclables,  and they are a source of a lot of class tensions, controversy, etc.

This same mural extends into this scene:

animals

I haven’t figured out the significance of these  anthropomorphized, dismembered critters yet, but no matter what they’re pretty cool.

Here are some more favorites:

monster thing

tentacle thingy

Che

I love this one, because it says “Por amor, usa preservativo,” o en ingles, “For love, use a condom.” Che cares about social equality, and safe sex too!

The Obligatory Fashion Post

So, in general, I do not intend for this to be a fashion blog. I love clothes, but am not looking to become any more obsessed with material objects than I already am; I also find that there are many much more stylish people out there who are far better equipped to write about fashion than I. That being said, I am currently in the middle of an Argentina-fashion-gasm, and therefore must give vent to my current consumer enthusiasm.

The clothes and accessories in Argentina are both affordable and amazing. There are ferias, or fairs, which are actually more like mobile marketplaces, that seem to pop up everywhere, and have all kinds of random stuff. I’ve enjoyed the ferias most for their jewelry and leather goods, but you can buy almost anything at them, from monogrammed mate gourds to melted beer bottle art. Some highlights of my purchases from ferias are a hand-tooled leather bag:

Purse 1

And a high-waisted belt embellished with painted leather:

Mariposa belt

When it comes to more conventional shopping, Palermo Viejo is by far the best area, featuring an awesome mix of small independent artist/designer shops, many of which are shared co-op style by several vendors, and pricey-but-beautiful boutiques featuring eclectic styles and gorgeous leather goods. Some highlights include a navy t-shirt dress that I think the bearded man that I bought it from may have actually made:

Blue Dress

And a red studded belt that goes really well with the dress:

red Belt

Possibly my favorite purchase so far has been these shoes, also from a boutique in Palermo:

Green Shoes

But the most exciting part of my materialistic exploits so far has been the Feria de San Telmo. I went there today for the first time, accompanied by a few of my fellow travelers, and I’m already obsessed. The Feria de San Telmo occurs every Sunday in San Telmo, a neighborhood graced with an uncannily large number of antiques stores. It is like other Ferias, except huge, and all the stalls in and surrounding the central plaza are like mini-antique-stores, where people (Collectors? Store owners? I have no idea) display everything from vintage jewelry to antique telephones. It’s AMAZING. I have never seen more things that I don’t need but desperately want in all my life. After finally wrenching myself away from the idea of starting an antique teacup collection, I settled for a necklace and these sunglasses:

Glasses

I was tempted by nearly everything, but I came out of San Telmo today with one clear goal: to save up money for a nice pocket watch. Clearly, a key piece in any wardrobe.

My Lovely Place of Residence

So, as I mentioned earlier, I’m living with a host family while I’m here in Buenos Aires. My host family lives in a lovely apartment in Congreso, at 140 Sarandí. Congreso is the neighborhood, or Barrio, that the Argentinean congress is in (in case the name wasn’t enough of a hint), and so is generally one of the older parts of the city. The apartment building is gorgeous and is from the 18th or 19th century (probably 19th; Anyway, it was built in a century not our own). It was modelled after a building in Paris, which is in keeping with all the French architecture here.

140 Sarandi

140 Sarandi

140 Sarandi

I absolutely love the building, although it does come with a few of the less-than-exciting perks of an older building, such as dialup internet and a really bad heating system. But it makes up for these with its completely bad-ass elevator, which makes me feel like a film-noir heroine whenever I use it.

My elevator.

My room is really pretty awesome; a little old, a little musty, but really colorful and cozy. My favorite parts are the green and purple walls, and the big paintings, some of which my host-madre Clara painted.

My Room

My room

So essentially, I love my apartment. Quarters are a little close, but that’s not really anything new to me anyway. The beautiful old architecture is already one of my favorite parts of Buenos Aires, and I’m so happy that I’m quite literally right in the middle of it. Finally, I will finish this post with a picture of the view from my bedroom window:

My View.