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Artist Pablo Serrano, One of the City’s Most Prolific Muralists, On Making Chicago a Home for Art | Latin Voices | Chicago News

Standing outside of Su Familia Real Estate in West Elsdon, where he recently completed a mural on each face of the building, artist Pablo Serrano says for him, art is a method of connection.

“Art is responding to life,” he said. “To the things that we’re going through, and fundamental questions that go to — where have we been, where are we at, where are we going?”

Su Familia’s owners commissioned the mural on the occasion of their 25th anniversary. Serrano says it was an easy connection for him to make between the business of real estate and a larger message about Chicago’s identity.

“The title of it is ‘Hope: the Journey Together Towards the Future’ and it features a couple of different elements that are central to what I think is a shared goal of home. When you establish home, whether it’s your apartment or you buy your first home that you’re thinking about your kids, you’re thinking about your family, you’re thinking about your community, your neighbors, the city,” he said.

Serrano is one of Chicago’s most prolific artists—this year alone he completed four towering murals all over the city.

When he’s not painting, he’s an arts educator and a karaoke host (he was host of Chicago’s citywide karaoke contest in fall 2022.) He hearkens back to Mexican history and post-revolution muralism as a way to develop national identity when reflecting on what it has meant for public art to make a home in Chicago.

Pablo Serrano works with volunteers on April 29, 2022, at Nourishing Hope. (Credit: Mateo Zapata)

“I was blessed to grow up in Pilsen that has this amazing rich cultural history of public art, all of these giants that paved the way for this ongoing conversation that’s happening about Mexican American identity as a whole,” he said. “But what’s important to understand is that they’re standing on the shoulders of other muralists, other artists, and it’s this long continuity. Muralism, public art here in Chicago, has the same obligation and the opportunity to create a Chicago identity.

Serrano sees Chicago’s challenge as transcending the borders that are in place throughout the city.

“And connecting what is disconnected,” he continued. “So I think public art can be of tremendous service to that.”

Serrano’s 2022 murals can be seen at the following locations:

  • “Hope: the Journey Together Towards the Future” – Su Familia Real Estate, 5417 S. Pulaski
  • “We Are Each Other’s’ Only Hope” -Nourishing Hope, 1716 W. Hubbard

  • “Children’s Dreams, Chicago’s Hope” – Pasteur Elementary, 5825 S Kostner

  • “Creative Cultural Chemistry of Democracy” – PortionPac Chemical Corporation, 400 N. Ashland

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