“The project of painting great musicians did not start with the aim of being an open-air gallery – clarifies the artist Tian Firpo (43)-. But it was given by the contagion and enthusiasm of the residents of Palermo. It is believed that this neighborhood is like a shopping mall, that only rich people live here, and it is not like that. Many people fight it day by day. The energy of merchants and neighbors managed to turn an idea into a museum on the street“.
Tian talks to Clarion in a bar on a corner of Coronel Díaz. And before continuing to refer to the so-called “Music corner”Remember the first time you felt good about painting. Or rather, the first time they made him feel different from others. It was in a plastic class, when he was in the last year of primary school. The teacher invited him to paint with oil and his painting took second place in an exhibition for the elderly.
But when when entering high school they offered him Music or Plastic, he was left with the first option. Painting was limited to drawing portraits of his friends and Led Zeppelin album covers and other rock bands.
At 18 he found out about the Fine Arts degree, although decided on Graphic Design. While studying and working as a photographer at graduation parties, he painted at the request of his friends. On racks, in T-shirts or on room walls. Sometimes for free, other times for expenses and every so often in exchange for a cachet that was spent on a dinner and a couple of after-dinner beers.
Tian Firpo is a graphic designer, but he left his job at an advertising agency to paint for commission. Photo Maxi Failla
The next image in her career is that of a woman who buys one of her paintings and takes it to France. It was in his first and only exhibition of works in an art gallery. He presented eleven paintings. At that time I was already working in an advertising agency, as a graphic designer.
“Before, yes or yes, you needed to go through an art gallery,” says Tian. “You had no other tools to show yourself. Today, murals and social networks give the artist a place without a gallery. The street is a public gallery“.
The next step, the most important in history, was instantaneous. Tian entered the warehouse in his neighborhood and talk goes, talk comes, the grocer told him that he was tired of graffiti artists painting the blind of his shop. “If you can get me the paint, I’ll paint it for you”, was Tian’s proposal. Hannibal, the grocer of Honduras and Colonel Díaz, I agree.
On the blind in question painted his first mural: the image of Charly García on the cover of his album “Música del alma”, recorded live in 1977 and released in 1980. It was in 2017. “At first Aníbal wanted Rubén Paz, an idol of Racing, his team. The issue is that we are not in Avellanera. Rubén Paz would only be enjoyed by Racing fans. The choice of a musician is not a whim. artists loved by the country, which made Argentina happy. And everyone likes it, “he says.
Within weeks of his first mural the pharmacist called him. He offered him the main blind and painted Luis Alberto Spinetta. And after a few days, the other blind, the one on the side, where he left a portrait of Gustavo Cerati. Then they summoned him from the butcher shop. From that third trade, he affirms, what he calls “contagion effect”. From the merchants and residents of the area.
Tian Firpo painted his second mural dedicated to musicians on the blind of a pharmacy. It is a tribute to Spinetta. Photo Maxi Failla
The project was unofficially christened the “Music Corner”. Today are twelve tributes to great Argentine musicians. All in the same area of Palermo.
The next mural will be on the shutter of the mechanical workshop of Honduras and Coronel Díaz. The portrayed, Atahualpa Yupanqui. Number 14 will be a recognition of tangueros in general. The place is the “corner of Juan Carlos”, in Soler and Coronel Díaz. And it will include “Juan Carlos”, the homeless neighbor who lives on the corner, and for whom dozens of neighbors signed so that they would not remove it.
“At first I had a hard time getting blinds,” recalls Tian. “In some places I asked up to four or five times. And I don’t charge them and I put the paint on myself. Now it changed. They find out what I do and they send me to tell me to go. They want to be part of the project, and that’s the beauty. It’s not just about taking up space. “
Firpo in front of the mural with which he paid tribute to Virus. Photo Maxi Failla
In the Soler butcher shop, for example, he made Astor Piazzolla. And at the kiosk on the same block, to Sandro. All works are in black and white. The look is always the most important thing in the work.
Tian quit his job at the ad agency. The murals that he does in the framework of the “Esquina de la Música” are free of charge. He lives off private orders that come to him through social networks. Either of pictures, illustrations or videos that he makes through programs that he knew as a graphic designer. He does some jobs because he likes them, he uploads them to Instagram and they are up for sale.
Each mural takes you at least one month. You have to plan it, design it, white the blind, draw it. Mercedes Sosa’s nose took two weeks of work.
Not long ago, Tian returned to paint a tribute to Charly on the terrace of the building where the musician has an apartment, in Coronel Díaz and Santa Fe. a 9 meter keyboard. Now he dreams of renaming the first of those avenues. And, of course, call her Charly García.
The most traditional mural he ever did, Tian painted on the garage doors of his building. Photo Maxi Failla
The largest mural is under his house, in Soler at 3600. It was an idea of the building manager. “Why don’t you paint the garage doors?”, he posed. Tian spoke to the consortium and threw a photographic film of the design under the door of each of his neighbors. Everyone agreed. Painted Gilda, Mercedes Soca, Martha Argerich and María Elena Walsh. Now the challenge is upwards. You want to paint the bottom or sides of an entire building.