UIC Urban Forum



Miguel Aguilar


My artwork puts pop culture through a critical lens that honors the socioeconomic reality of Chicago. I combine elements of community engagement and authentic place making with public education when teaching. Acknowledging the consequences of segregation and systematized racism as well as honoring the triumphs against these conditions is something all Chicagoans can relate to. This is essential in making my work accessible for deeper, creatively disruptive conversations. My program Spray Runners embodies these concepts. Spray Runners trains youth as runners as well as community muralists. Through running they are able to explore their community relationships that they then translate into public art. Running puts Third Space Theory into motion while the artwork they produce translates these experiences into a dialogue with the neighborhood.

My studio practice mimics the above in a more intimate setting. In my studio I’m allowed to process my identity within Chicago and use that to reimagine how far we can take public art in the city. My work inside my studio is meditative and in direct conversation with meditative the louder, large scale murals I make.

The heritage and distinct culture of my community is ever-present in my work. Whether I’m teaching or making art, I am actively constructing pathways or spaces to honor narratives that have been intentionally disregarded both in Chicago politically as well as artistically.