My name is Kyle, and I absolutely love street art. I’m from Dorchester, a neighborhood in Boston that gets responses that usually range from ‘Isn’t that a dangerous place?’ or ‘I’d never go there!’ to ‘Oh, you’re from Dorchester?!’.
Growing up in Boston as a black kid with a short attention span, I’ve always been attracted to colorful and visually appealing things. Whether it was comic books, cartoons or the stray alley tag on the way to school, I was always in awe (and not actually doing what I was supposed to).
It wasn’t until moving to Chicago almost eight years ago that I really saw and understood what street art could be. It could be so much more than the tags or words that I was accustomed to growing up.
The first mural that really caught my eye was a Hebru Brantley mural in Rogers Park back in 2012. I wasn’t used to seeing bright, animated characters outside of the comics and cartoons that had indoctrinated me growing up. Despite the mural being a painting under a bridge, it told a story in a same way that these other forms of artistic media did. Like a fish trying to catch a floating worm from a dangling wire above, I was hooked.
I did whatever I could to find new murals and explore the new and unfamiliar styles, characters and color combinations that existed throughout the city. There were so many stories that were being told not just on the Northside, but in every wall, alley, and nook of this city- whether it was in Hermosa, Garfield Park or Englewood, it was fair game. In many ways, my love for street art caused me to gain a familiarity, appreciation and love for Chicago and helped to make it home for me.
That’s the whole point of this journey and why I want to share it with you. Chicago is at the foreground Chicago is so much bigger than the neighborhoods or enclaves that people usually don’t venture from. By limiting your ventures in the city to Roosevelt or Western or any other arbitrary boundary, you are preventing yourself from seeing the beauty and creativity that thrives in Chicago.