Fileteado Porteño: the traditional street art of Buenos Aires
en Argentina

The History of Fileteado The fileteado shares with Tango, a mysterious beginning. Its history and origins, as well as its creator remains unknown. At least, the historiographers have no understanding at this point. However, what it is certain is that emerged as a popular art, and its first expression began to appear around the early years of XX century. The “fileteadores”, the artists creating these paintings, started decorating buses, as many of them where automotive workers, artisans, that became artists with every movement of their brush. The first known artists were Salvador Venturo, Vicente Brunetti y Cecilio Pascarella. Initially, the lines were very thin and simple. The artists meant to add a bit of colour to the public buses, that were supposed to be grey as the local law determine, but the buses company started to change their unites to red and green and decorated the sides with the fileteado lines. The colours, always vibrating and contrasting, were specially painted to last, as the buses were all day out in the open. Eventually, the fileteado evolved, as the artists add new decorative elements to the lines, creating a very different composition: thin lines with flowers, leaves, Argentinian colour ribbons, spiral and thick lines, short phrases inspired in popular says and scenes of the city life, tango, and popular characters as Carlos Gardel, most famous tango singer. The fileteado spread from public transportation, to shop signs, trucks, small theatres and other gathering places, extending to the whole city and transforming from lettering art to decoration, into a cultural icon of Buenos Aires, specially associated to Tango, to the southern neighbourhood, were the workers lived and where the fileateado takes its vibrant and contrasting colours. When travellers visit Buenos Aires is possible not only to see the different exhibition of the traditional street art just by walking through the City but also to take lesson with the masters to learn this fantastic technic and take their own fileteado home.


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