Where Some Call Graffiti Art, Not Vandalism

Argentina's massive economic crash in the late 1990s created such widespread social and economic difficulties in the country that authorities had far too much on their plate to be chasing vandals. Out of the ashes of the Argentine economy, individuals and "crews" such as "Doma" and stencilists "Run Don't Walk" emerged to revitalize their streets.

One local street artist, known as Jaz, feels a distinct difference between the attitudes of the Argentine scene as compared to other parts of the world.

"Here in Buenos Aires, it's not like other cities,"Jaz said. "It's not a competition with other graffiti writers. When I paint in France, I feel, 'If you paint in this place, you're not welcome. If you paint in that place, you're not welcome.' Here, you paint, and you've got a piece for years in the street."

Such is the liberal attitude in the city that artists come specifically from other parts of the world just to paint in Buenos Aires. The Italian artist known as Blu recently completed an incredibly ambitious (or as he calls it, ambiguous) animated work, painted in the streets of Buenos Aires and Baden, Switzerland, using stop-motion filming techniques.

If the liberal example set by the people of Buenos Aires is an indication of future attitudes toward graffiti, then we might expect to see more graffiti in our streets amid growing economic gloom.

And, if we're lucky, at least the quality might be good.

ABC News' Joe Goldman in Buenos Aires and Gabriel O'Rorke in London contribute to this report

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