Legends of Loisaida, 2016
About the artist:
If you’ve ever visited New York City’s Lower East Side, more than likely you’ve been exposed to Chico the artist. Like many mural artists, Chico started out spray-painting subway cars in the early 80’s. His career as a graffiti artist is a true inspiration: from once being chased by cops to now, being awarded by them and having a Chico mural grace their building facades. In areas often plagued by drugs and violence, his murals are socially conscious and uplifting.
Thirty years later, after hundreds of murals and traveling the world, Chico’s passion and drive is still strong, and his love for Loisaida, has only grown. Mentored and taught in the art of painting signs by the Iconic Jorge Brandon, there are many walls and storefronts on every block that Chico has touched in the LES. His murals in memoriam include world icons such as the Pope, Princess Diana, Celia Cruz, and Selena, as well as amazing poets and artists such as Bimbo Rivas and Pedro Pietri. Chico’s work transmits love and enlightens the community about current events. Chico is an artist who will go through great lengths to represent his community while creating beautiful images that empower and uplift.
Previous work by Chico Garcia
Legends of Loisaida
In 2016 Chico teamed up with Vision Urbana, Inc., a local 501 C(3) non for profit organization active for 20 years in the Lower East Side, as the lead artist for “Legends of Loisaida.” This project involved a cohort of local youth artists, who were mentored by Chico in the art of creating community through various art forms, with a focus on portrait murals that beautify the neighborhood and convey significant local history including some of the most influential community leaders of the Lower East Side. These Legends have names that are not well-known and that are not evident in public school textbooks or lesson plans, but have nonetheless left their indelible mark on the community.
Project activities included two weekly workshops over a 10 week period where youth explored their talents and abilities with Chico, while learning with an LES historian. Work created by participants were featured in exhibitions at cultural and community venues across the Lower East Side such as the Nuyorican Poets Café, Clemente Soto Velez Center, Loisaida Center- the Loisaida Festival (a venue for VU’s previous LMCC funded project) & more.
For Paths to Pier 42, Chico created a mural that honors these Legends of Loisaida, as an outgrowth of the project, accompanied by an exhibition at Pier 42 of their own work.
See the making of the mural and learn more about Chico’s collaboration with Vision Urbana: