This Thursday is Mexican Independence Day, and we wanted to celebrate by pointing you towards 11 amazing Mexican artists working in Chicago today to learn about, support, and even purchase some new prints from!
Chicago has a long and rich history of Mexican art, and we’re lucky to have robust institutions like the National Museum of Mexican Art to uplift and amplify the voices of these artists. Beyond formal art institutions however, Chicago is also brimming with independent galleries, performance spaces, and tons of world-class public art and murals. That’s part of why we’re such a creative and colorful city and why these fantastic artists have decided to set down roots and their practices here.
We hope you’ll find a new artist (or 11!) to love in the list below, and that you’ll follow them on social media, purchase some new art, or find another way to support them this week!
Maria Gaspar is a Little Village native and multidisciplinary artist. She’s known for her conceptual, performance, and sculptural works, which often deal with issues of justice through the lens of physical space. She exposes spaces that amplify power structures, like prisons, detention centers, and military bases. Through her work, she seeks to create liberatory actions and combat histories of systemic erasure. Maria Gaspar teaches at the School of the Art Institute in downtown Chicago.
Sentrock aka Joseph Perez is a street artist and muralist working throughout the city. His recognizable characters are playful and bright, including his iconic bird-masked man. He first started experimenting with spray-paint as a teenager, inspired by the Mexican-American graffiti art in his hometown of West Phoenix. Many of his murals are cheerful, although he deals with themes like racism, black and brown solidarity, and systemic injustice in Chicago.
Ruben Aguirre is a muralist, painter, and friend of IPMM. He approaches his murals with a non-narrative and abstract hand, inspired by formalism and geographical forms as well as graffiti. His work is heavily focused on color and texture, as well as the interaction between different forms and swaths of color. Ruben Aguirre worked with us on our mural at PepsiCo earlier this year.
Arturo Fresan is an illustrator and Art Director, as well as an instructor at the National Museum of Mexican Art’s youth arm, Yollocalli Arts Reach. He also paints and plays in several bands! Arturo’s painting style is dense and detailed, full of bright colors, and organic Cubist-esque shapes. His illustrations are more anatomically correct, with intricate architectural details, and painstakingly rendered fantastic beasts and monsters.
Georgina Valverde is a sculptor and multimedia artist based in Chicago. Her sculptural work incorporates elements of craft like weaving, textile work, and woodwork. Her organic shapes and imagery reference nature, and she sometimes incorporates living plant life into her pieces. Georgina was born in Mexico and has exhibited internationally. She also works with curation and participatory performance art, incorporating the audience into her work and practice.
CHema Skandal!’s bold, graphic, and colorful style instantly draws you in. His cartoon-y figures are playful, and his bubble letters proclaim anything from political messages to concert invites. CHema Skandal! was born in Mexico City, and lives and works in Chicago. He’s a member of the Instituto Grafico De Chicago and has won several international awards for his work.
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