The Visible Artist

Sentrock: Street Art in Pilsen, Chicago

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Episode notes

What is the street art world like? How did a graffiti artist become a celebrated street artist? Do you have to have a particular moniker or character to be authentic? What is it like to put your personal work on the walls on your city? Why work with galleries? Can you hold onto your original roots whilst collaborating with brands?

I loved visiting the beautiful studio in Pilsen, Chicago, of inspiring self-taught street artist Sentrock. The space is split into two: at the back of the building is his creative studio, packed with sketches taped to walls, shelves lined with spray cans and print screens stacked up; and at the front facing the street is a light-filled white-walled room with large artworks, art books and his distinctive bird-mark figurines on display. It is rare to come across a celebrated street artist with such an accessible presence in his community in this way - passers-by can look in through the windows and enjoy seeing the work on the walls.

Sentrock uses his own distinctive moniker of a human figure wearing a bird mask to explore and celebrate his personal history. Inspired by the bird as a symbol of escape and imagination, Sentrock has painted different versions of his character on over fifteen murals across the city; commissions include City of Chicago, Chicago Fire and National Geographic. Most recently, Sentrock brought his world to life in 2D and 3D form with his first solo museum exhibition titled ‘The Boy Who Wanted To Fly’ at Elmhurst Art Museum.

We discuss why his open approach to his community is so important to him and how it feels to put such emotive artworks onto public walls. We also explore his journey from painting graffiti to exhibiting with galleries and museums, and how he maintains his authentic voice when working on commissions.

“Sentrock Captures the Sights of Chicago’s Pilsen Neighborhood in a New Series About Mental Health”, Colossal Magazine

Follow @sentrock


Hosted and produced by Sophie Loxton Lucas, The Visible Artist podcast features individual artists and their paths to success within the creative world. Alongside conversations with an array of practicing artists, Sophie chats to key art world protagonists about their experiences of working with artists. The Visible Artist podcast is a must-listen for any artists looking to make their mark in today’s art world. 

Follow the show @thevisibleartistpodcast

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Podcast cover by AmyIsla Mccombie

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