Home is Street Art
Recreating art inspired by the lower west side of Chicago~
My most vulnerable state of creativity begins with a gray sketchbook, some scissors, and a fairly worn pen. This pen carries me to new horizons, and it leads me to ring out all the pent up emotions I have about feeling homesick for Chicago. Just last year, I moved from an apartment to stay with a family member in the outer suburbs. Doing so, I felt like I was lost from the usual routine I had developed and the freedom I possessed in my expression.
When I thought about what specifically makes me happy, I realized it is centered around spaces where I feel my existence is celebrated and safe. Releasing those kinds of feelings through crafting is thus essential for me to mimic where my heart calls home!
The lower west side of Chicago, including Little Village and Pilsen, has always grounded me. I talk about these areas quite frequently in my writing, in order to emphasize their incredible importance. Memories of casual art walks, laughter, family meetups, and festivals have me yearning to step foot on these blocks once again. Even though I am away from home for the time being, I have attempted to embody my favorite sights through painting and collage work. By hanging these beautiful reminders up in my room, I feel like I am at peace again!
Barrett (Charles) Park in Chicago is located off of Cermak, just down the road from the epicenter of the Pilsen neighborhood. There were countless nights I spent here with friends, swinging and laughing about our busiest weeks. The park is decorated with beautiful murals, and lined with houses that stand in bright contrast to the evening sky. My collage and painting techniques have become inspired by the type of art I've always passed by on casual nights in good company.
Even when things appear to be ordinary, such as soccer jerseys flying in the wind outside, there is a static wave of life beneath them. The jerseys I saw on 18th street were full of color, dancing as I glanced their way. If you walked down 16th street, the entire wall is covered in grafitti, beautiful paintings, and work from careful hands. The same can be said for the walls on shops of Little Village, as there is many art pieces that represent the diversity of the area. Being immersed in the art is a semblance of home, cultural identity, and a reminder of community that is still alive amidst gentrification.
For this piece, I wanted to make a mesh of textures and color schemes like the eye-popping pieces from the steps at Pilsen's pink line train station. I used a handful of beauty and fashion magazines to find the right elements for this piece, and cut them into various shapes. I added this above my desk, in order to remember how important it is to never stop creating! Even when I have felt lost by living in another area, I am always carrying my home with me.
Title: Patterns of I
Making a self portrait collage was a lot harder than I thought it could be! Trying to paint my features in black ink was tedious but rewarding work. Especially, when I had to do careful strokes of my eyebrows and detail work of my hair! What I loved about this collage piece was cutting out the beautiful beaded designs that reminded me of earrings I purchased from a small business in Pilsen. Crafting a multi-media piece like this was probably the most cathartic work I have done by far!
Title: Shades of Passerby
Sometimes, you will notice that the murals throughout Little Village are a blend of endless tones and shades. They are continuous colors, meshing well with the vibrancy of daily life. For this piece, I cut some old paintings in my sketchbook and glued it under the bottom layers of the clouds. Next, I used my pen and acrylics to create a few faces in layers of blue and purple. Completing this page reminded me of how intensely happy and free I felt while being on my own and working downtown. It is a feeling I had to capture without words, hence the birth of this abstract work!