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Chicago Muralist Shows ‘The Boy Who Wanted to Fly’ in First Solo Museum Exhibition – NBC Chicago

Inspired by his childhood, Chicago artist and muralist Joseph Perez, who goes by the name Sentrock, is embarking on his first solo museum exhibition at the Elmhurst Art Museum.

“It’s definitely a lifetime dream to be able to have the opportunity and to use a platform like this to share the story and share the art,” said Sentrock.

Titled “The Boy Who Wanted to Fly,” the exhibition centers around one main character.

“I call him Bird City Saint,” explains Sentrock. “[He’s] a young boy wanting to find freedom and find his wings so to speak.”

Sentrock first discovered his own wings as an artist in grade school after meeting a muralist during art class.

“From there, I kind of got the bug. It opened up my eyes to being creative.”

But his parents weren’t thrilled when he got suspended from school for tagging.

“My mother was like, ‘If this is all you care about doing, try to do it in a positive way.’ So she bought me spray cans and boards. She was like, ‘OK, just go paint, have fun.'”

Now, Sentrock is a professional artist who inspires and uplifts young people through his work. He also pays it forward by mentoring young people in the community.

This self-taught street artist currently has at least 15 murals in Pilsen and other neighborhoods. It’s his way to honor his Mexican American heritage.

“Seeing sometimes the negative effects of the Black and brown communities, it’s like growing up in certain environments, I feel like I want to embrace that and use that as fuel.”

Which is why Sentrock is overjoyed to have his work featured in the Elmhurst Art Museum.

“You go to the museum, you often don’t see yourself. Maybe you’ll see different types of walks of life, but you don’t see yourself. That’s why I like to step into that space.”

John McKinnon is executive director of the Elmhurst Art Museum.

“We are really proud to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month with the opening of this show,” McKinnon said. “We are making a lot of efforts, as much as we can to include different voices, and this is a great example of that. “

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