Culture

24 Pilsen Murals That Make Chicago A Walking Latinx Museum

@genny_fromtheblock / Instagram

We all know why the City of Chicago has made itself home to one of the largest Latino populations in the U.S. Well, now meet the Pilsen neighborhood, also known as Little Mexico.

In the late ’60s, artists like Mario Castillo, Ray Patlan and Marcos Raya started to paint the neighborhood with anti-Vietnam War murals and to inspire Mexican-American residents to be proud of their heritage.

In some ways, nothing has changed and it’s as obvious as painting on the walls.

1. Women are always watching.

CREDIT: @snsoroka / Instagram

The murals you find in Pilsen have historically been a blend of art and activism. Mural art goes back to Aztec and Mayan cultures, to the 1920s Mexican government-funded PSA projects. Today in Pilsen, many murals are funded by the National Museum for Mexican Art.

2. It’s pretty incredible, verdad?

CREDIT: @sharongaiettophotography / Instagram

Sixteenth Street is a hot spot for murals. You can find them stretching for miles and spanning decades. This is Saicker’s debut mural and we’re waiting impatiently for the next.

3. And sometimes creepy…

CREDIT: @kaleidostob / Instagram

Street artist ROA painted this two part mural of an oppossum. Don’t turn the page if you want to see the truth about this lil guy.

4. He’s dead. 🙁

CREDIT: @myriamt18 / Twitter

When you view this from a certain angle, the possum is all in one piece. Some people really hate this one, claiming it’s actually a rat. Comment with your opinion!

5. The Mexicano influence is real.

CREDIT: @snsoroka / Instagram

Seriously, Pilsen is like a concrete canvas for artists aiming to keep the vibrance of Mexican culture alive, and for good reason. Keep on…

6. Gentrification is also real.

CREDIT: @murphdawg49 / Instagram

The Pilsen neighborhood has lost over 10k Mexicans in the last year alone. While the Latino population has been growing in Chicago, it’s becoming more sprawling because of new storefronts moving in and rent going up.

7. It’s important to support local artists…

CREDIT: @monstrochika / Instagram

…who support local women. Many of the faces painted here are just women from the community, who happen to be activists, dancers, singers and whose faces belong in Pilsen.

8. Mother Mary is all over the city.

CREDIT: @monstrochika / Instagram

And Angel Gabriel, and el espiritú santo. The Catholic influence is inescapable, and it’s definitely a lot prettier here than it was in most of our childhoods!

9. “Weaving Cultures”

CREDIT: @handmeupresale / Instagram

Chicago artists Sam Kirk and Sandra Antongiorgi had all the intention of bringing visibility to underrepresented women in the neighborhood, including a transgender Latina.

Sam Kirk told Windy City Media Group, “”Members of the LGBT community live throughout the city, but often don’t feel comfortable being themselves in their communities. Public art has the ability to reach many people and we hope this mural will increase visibility for the women represented in our work.” We’re with you.

10. Stinkfish, 1005 W. 16th Street, 2013.

CREDIT: @latinactivista / Instagram

Stinkfish is a Colombian street artist who recreates photos into psychadelic themes. He was born in Mexico, but grew up in Colombia, and we only know his pen name. Rumor has it that he just takes photos of travelers and randomly chooses them. Travel wisely.

11. An incomplete Mary

CREDIT: @kevinoconnor_kevinoconnor / Instagram

These don’t happen overnight! If you visit Pilsen, you’re likely to run into a street artist working on their murals, slowly but surely. I’m waiting for the time-lapse video.

12. The art is up for your interpretation.

CREDIT: @kerlitos_way / Instagram

Caption: “Freedom of Speech is Dead…………..or Revived!”

Or is it that, we are the creations of another entity and mute ourselves to our own oppression? I mean, not *us* specifically. #FuckThePatriarchy

13. “Galeria del Barrio” by Aurelio Diaz, restored by Sam Kirk.

CREDIT: @xuxabelle / Instagram

This was the second ever mural painted by Mario Castillo, the very first muralist in Pilsen. Drawing inspo from William Walker’s 1967 “Wall of Respect,” he decided to show the fullest spectrum of diversity this wall allowed.

14. Sam Kirk’s work is everywhere.

CREDIT: @gisellafaggi / Instagram

Kirk was born and raised in the south side of Chicago, and aims to use her work to “celebrate people and to inspire pride and recognition for underrepresented communities.” She tries to keep the politics that generations before us have been fighting for alive.

15. Hebru Brantley, 1478 W. 16th Street, 2013.

CREDIT: @kaleidostob / Instagram

Hebru Brantley is world famous for his public works in London, Switzerland, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York. But he’s born and raised in Chicago, and some of his first works are still here.

16. Then there’s the tiled mosaic art.

CREDIT: @handmeupresale / Instagram

No air vent will go untouched by beauty and meaning in Pilsen. Seriously, you’ll find this kind of art on every door for a block straight.

17. What’d I say? Every. Door.

CREDIT: @glassesclasses / Instagram

This is what community is all about–educating those that come after you to navigate this world, and doing everything you can to protect them.

Read: “Shoot hoops, not guns.”

18. Brett Flannigan & Cannon Hill, 901 W. 16th Street, 2013.

CREDIT: @handmeupresale / Instagram

This due decided to combine abstract black and white depictions of the animal world in unison with bright semblances of the human world, seeming to wrap around and overcome the animal. Walk the full block to see their full work.

19. You might run into Hugo Chávez.

CREDIT: @turismoemchicago / Instagram

Venezuelan President Chávez was best known for launching a movement for better working conditions for low wage workers, especially those put at a disadvantage by the way the U.S. treats undocumented workers.

20. Murals commemorate the indigenous peoples who started them in the first place.

CREDIT: @chicagoldubs / Instagram

This mural depicts the worst horror in history: the sun setting on an entire civilization of native peoples after colonizers raped and destroyed them.

21. And the women who keep society going.

CREDIT: @chicagoismyboyfriend / Instagram

It’s really remarkable to see a community that so embraces Mexican culture, especially during a time when our country’s administration is so disdainful. #VivaLaMexicana

22. Plus, the men who started the Mexican Revolution.

CREDIT: @billycraven / Instagram

Zapata and Pancho Villa were peasants who joined Madero’s rebellion to help overthrow 30 year dictator Porfirio Díaz and bring us the Mexico we know today.

23. Pilsen honors the activists who paved the way for Latinos.

CREDIT: @arquitectos_chicago / Instagram

You can’t go too far without seeing an image of Cesar Chavez, Frida Kahlo or Che Guevara, and that’s the way we like it. Whatever’s behind that door better be incredible because my expectation is way high right now.

24. RAE, 1579 W. 16th Street, 2012.

CREDIT: @a_touch_of_b / Instagram

The message of the Pilsen community is to stay awake to war, to gentrification, and to our roots. It’s no secret that Pilsen is alive to the vibrance of Mexican art.

A Large Mural of Frida Kahlo in Traditional Mexican Dress Has Just Been Unveiled and She’s Never Looked More Electric

Culture

A Large Mural of Frida Kahlo in Traditional Mexican Dress Has Just Been Unveiled and She’s Never Looked More Electric

@findac / Intagram

Frida Kahlo is the most recognizable Mexican painter of the past century. That bold brow, traditional Mexican garb and piercing stare are undeniably Frida in a way that makes her completely unique among other artists. She’s also one of the most widely portrayed Mexican figures of all time. Her image adorns everything from tee-shirts and jewelry to murals and makeup. Her image is so recognizable that flower crowns, red lipstick, and ungroomed eyebrows will forever have an association with the artist.

To add to the Frida imagery in our world, a new mural featuring the famous artista has just been unveiled in Mexico and she has never looked better.

Painted by Irish artist Fin DAC, the mural portrays Frida Kahlo in bold primary colors and traditional Mexican dress.

Twitter / @la_linea

The artwork is named “Magdalena” and is located in Guadalajara — the capital of Jalisco. In the mural, Frida is represented with a full-body image, hands placed together in front of her as if in prayer. Vibrant flowers and butterflies adorn her like a crown in true Frida fashion.

She wears a huipil (a multicolored blouse traditionally found in southern Mexico), a pink shawl and a long blue skirt accentuated with various-sized skulls. The ten-story mural also depicts the artist with a blue mask across her eyes. This is artist Fin DAC’s signature that he adds to all of his pieces and works to enhance the dark stare that Frida gives viewers.

The artist responsible for this mural has lots of experience creating urban art in Latin America.

Twitter / @BrasilEFE

Between 2012 and 2017, Fin DAC visited Latin America several times. He created six murals total in Colombia and Brazil during that time. This is his first time creating art in Mexico. The artistic is known for his style — called “Urban Aesthetics” —  and has made art on the streets of five different continents. His images also include women dressed in the native costume of their countries and are finished with his signature mask.

The artist explained the reasoning for his attention to national traditions to Mexanist. He said:

“No matter the culture and nationality for me, I am more interested in the type of clothing typical of each place, each country and each place has something to offer and show in this sense.”

For Fin DAC, the choice to depict Frida on this wall was an easy one. The artist explained that her own artwork always sought to exalt the women it depicted — much like his own. Frida’s own famous way of dressing always incorporated traditional Mexican costuming too so the decision to paint the famous Mexican for this piece was “almost obvious” to the painter.

The artist was invited to create this mural as part of celebrations for the Despertares Impulsa dance festival.

Instagram / @findac

Created by famous Mexican dancer, Isaac Hernández, the Despertares Impulsa dance festival began as a way to gather and stimulate the creative industry in Mexico. With the backing of the Mexican National Institute of Fine Arts, the event offers performances, workshops, lectures, master classes and meet and greets. The festival also offers opportunities for free auditions to different international dance companies.

Fin DAC was invited to create this piece by the director of Despertares Impulsa. The image was painted on a wall facing Chapultepec Avenue — a busy street that receives lots of traffic in the urban area. Fin DAC choose this location purposefully for this reason.

“When you see a spectacular advertising pole,” he said, “You see an image trying to sell you something you don’t need, but it makes you feel like you want it. (On the other hand) when you see a piece of art on the street it brings you a moment of happiness and peace, nothing from the advertising you see will make you happy, but art can definitely do it.

The mural was officially unveiled on July 15th, 2019 as part of the festival’s celebrations.

Twitter / @findac

The unveiling comes at a time of year significant to Frida fans. July 6th was the 112th anniversary of the artist’s birth. The 65th anniversary of her passing also happened this past month on the 13th of July. As such, this beautiful mural is an appropriate gift to honor the late Mexican artist.

This Vogue Exhibit — Featuring A Gorgeous Portrait Of Yalitza Aparicio — Is Now Open In Mexico City

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This Vogue Exhibit — Featuring A Gorgeous Portrait Of Yalitza Aparicio — Is Now Open In Mexico City

Any designer will tell you that art and fashion often go hand-in-hand. Through the ages, art has reflected so much about society and history solely through the clothing and architecture depicted by oils and pastels. From the runways of Paris and Milan to the pages of VOGUE, the composition, color, and forms of the latest fashions often show us that they are equivalent to the most iconic works of art created by the most masterful fine artists.

Now, Vogue is yet again showing us the relationship between art and fashion with its brand new “Vogue Like a Painting” exhibit.

Twitter / @mamiyolis

The exhibition is being shown at Mexico City’s historic Franz Mayer Museum from now until September 15, 2019. The sample of 65 images is a representation of the greatest photographs to manifest in VOGUE during its past 20 years as a publication.  The magazine’s archives were thoroughly examined to find the most impactful, most artistically composed and most striking pictures to be taken by photographers during their time at VOGUE.

Over the last two decades, some of the most iconic photographers ever have collaborated with the publication. Annie Leibovitz, Paolo Roversi, Tim Walker, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Steven Klein, Sheila Metzner, Cecil Beaton, and Edward Steichen are some of the many big name artists who have captured moments for VOGUE. They have contributed easily some of the most recognizable images that the magazine has printed and their work will be available to view at the “Vogue Like a Painting” event.

Karla Martinez de Salas, editorial director of Vogue Mexico and Latin America, had this to say about the art exhibition:

“I have always believed in the power of images, in that inexplicable magic of telling stories without words that allow us to inspire and make us dream. From a painting signed by Goya, to an image photographed by Tim Walker or Paolo Roversi, it is these beautiful visual records of fashion and culture that are truly treasured in our memory and heart.”

What all of these images have in common are distinct characteristics that are traditionally attributed to paintings and other works of fine art.

Twitter / @museofranzmayer

Their narratives, details and subject matter are approached the same way a master would address a canvas. At first glance, some of these pictures don’t even look like photographs. The stylistic techniques used to capture the subject are implemented as authentically as possible — staying true to the artistic elements artists are trained in.

The compositions also invoke comparisons to different artists and art periods. Split into genres like portraiture and landscapes, artistic movements like Renaissance painting, Rococo art, and even Pre-Raphaelite works are mirrored by these photos. The images in “Vogues Like a Painting” evoke masters such as Magritte, Degas, Dalí, Botticelli and Zurbarán. Their use of light, space, color and figure drawing are mimicked by the pictures on display — making these pieces completely at home in the museum.

Of these breath-taking pictures, a gorgeous portrait of Yalitza Aparicio can also be viewed.

Twitter / @VogueMexico

This image of Yalitza Aparicio comes from a spread by the photographers Santiago & Mauricio and was published back in January 2019. The actress was the first Indigenous woman to appear on the cover of VOGUE. Displayed in the “Vogue Like a Painter” exhibit, the portrait draws comparisons to Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.” The steady stare, the use of light and dark and the positioning of her body is reminiscent of the mysterious woman in the Italian master’s piece. We can even see the influence of Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits reflected in the photograph of the “Roma” star.

Debbie Smith, the curator of the “Vogue Like a Picture” exhibit spoke with VOGUE MEXICO about the inclusion of Aparicio’s portrait and how historic the actress’ fashion shoot was for the magazine, fashion and art.

“I was so shocked by the cover of Yalitza, it ‘s one of the most important things that Vogue has done in recent decades … It was impeccable. I have the file saved in my mind.”

As if these beautiful pictures weren’t enough, the exhibition also includes two dresses by Alexander McQueen — one of them never before displayed — as well as another three gowns by Comme des Garçons, Christian Lacroix and Nina Ricci. These pieces were borrowed especially for the “Vogue Like a Painting” exhibit. If you can get to Mexico City for this show, definitely give it a look. It is without a doubt one of the most historic mixtures of art and fashion to be seen today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twdG7xRE2TY

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