By Javier Castro Bugarín
Buenos Aires, Jul 27 (EFE).- At first glance, there’s nothing special about Belgrano Avenue in the Buenos Aires municipality of Banfield, but after a while one notices peculiar behavior among the passersby: they walk along quickly, they enter and leave the stores, but all of them, at one point or another, raise their eyes to look up and smile.
The reasons for this spontaneous happiness are two huge murals in the hyperrealist style. The larger of them – 65 meters (213 feet) high – shows a little girl from the back standing on tiptoes to build a wall with Lego pieces, while the smaller one, at 30 meters, presents a little boy of about the same age who is blowing on a balloon.
Both works bear the signature of Martin Ron, born in 1981, the Argentine muralist who has made a big splash internationally because of the dimensions and extreme detail of his paintings, compositions that – he said – are intended to “heal the largest number of people” possible.
“The emotions that I love to convey are joy, very good energy, which may be a surprise, and there is one other emotion, which is an awakening, for the works to be an inspiration for all those people who have some kind of sleeping passion,” the artist told EFE from the rooftop patio of a building near the one featuring the little girl.
In the more than 20 years of his career, Ron has painted about 400 murals of all kinds, big and small, more or less conservative, but to be considered an “authentic Martin Ron” a mural needs two main elements: fantasy and “visual impact.”
“It would be like a kind of magic realism, because I work really hard on hyperrealism on a gigantic scale, with elements of fantasy but I don’t resolve it in a stylized or dreamy way. I want this little girl back there to be seen and to impact us as if she were a gigantic, real girl who is doing something on the (building’s) wall,” he said.
Ron’s most recent creation is located about 13 kilometers (8 miles) east of Banfield, in the town of Bernal: a nine-story-high mural that depicts – using 3D effects and alluding to the work of British street artist Bansky – a teenager holding a silver-coated balloon and seeing her face reflected in it.
But Ron puts his stamp not only on the walls of Buenos Aires and its surrounding towns but also in Moscow, London and Doha, among other cities.
“When you do this, people welcome it gratefully because you’re changing for the better that moment when they can enjoy a work of art. It’s a universal language, using sight, and even though you don’t understand the language you see that connection,” the muralist said.
Since he vaulted to fame six years ago, Ron has focused more and more on painting murals of huge dimensions, a challenge that restricts him to working on no more than five or six walls per year.
To accomplish that, he always enlists the help of Mariana Parra and Nicolas Dicciano, and the trio manage to finish each work within three to five weeks, depending on weather conditions.
The materials Ron uses most are acrylic paint, latex, polish or glaze and “lots of elbow grease and lots of brushes,” in contrast to other artists who make indiscriminate use of aerosol, which he reserves only for creating special effects.
“I like the works to last, and so I really prepare the wall well. I use top-quality materials and I put on good protection afterwards,” he said.
In fact, that desire to “leave his mark” has motivated the artist to think about all his murals carefully and “responsibly,” aware of the transformation they will make in the public spaces where they are created.
“I think that when I sign it at the end, a work takes on life and becomes an entity that makes things happen. I disassociate myself from it, I leave. I keep on painting in other places, and the works become friends of the people,” he said.
The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to reducing a bit the number of “revolutions” that Ron is making, causing him to put more priority on himself and refocusing his ambitions as an artist during a year in which many projects “fell apart like a house of cards.”
However, never discouraged, the artist and his team will soon be working on downtown Buenos Aires’ Corrientes Avenue to paint what will become Latin America’s largest mural reaching 100 meters high.