Lucila Pellettieri, GPJ Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA – Adrián Clara paints posters and antique objects every Sunday at the Feria de San Pedro Telmo, a renowned antique fair in Buenos Aires.

Painting al fresco in the oldest neighborhood of the city, San Telmo, Clara is among the Argentine artists dedicated to preserving “fileteado,” the traditional decorative art of the nation’s capital.

Fileteado is characterized by curved lines that end in spirals, vivid colors, shading that creates depth, and ornate designs incorporating motifs such as flowers, leaves and flags.

The art form was born in the early 20th century in factories that manufactured horse-drawn streetcars, Clara says as he paints at the fair. Over the years, fileteado decorations have adorned public transportation and posters. The city government’s legislature declared fileteado a Cultural Patrimony of the City in 2006.

In 2012, a group of “fileteadores” – descendants and disciples of the old masters – created the Asociación de Fileteadores to preserve the art form. The association organizes seminars, exhibitions and meetings for fileteadores and aficionados of the art form. It also publishes a magazine on the subject.

Clara is a member of the association. He also owns a fileteado workshop in the city, where he paints during the week.

“It is important to keep fileteado alive for the aesthetic value that it has,” he says.

Photo credits: Bettina D'Alessandro, Lucila Pellettieri, Ivonne Jeannot Laens

GPJ translated this article from Spanish.