Stunning Street Art in Pilsen, Chicago

In the neighborhood of Pilsen, art rules the streets.


As a huge lover of street art, I made it a point to add street art in the neighborhood of Pilsen (which has a long history with street art dating back to the 1960’s) to my itinerary when I traveled to Chicago.

Unlike many street art murals around the world, the story of the majority of Pilsen’s street art is quite unique. Funded by the Chicago Urban Art Society and Alderman Danny Solis, both local and international street artists were invited and given the freedom to start creating new murals legally under the 2012 initiative ‘Art in Public Places‘. The program was an effort to expand Chicago’s street art scene and to combat the local gang-affiliated graffiti.

Personally I liked that the street art seemed to fall into two different categories:the  traditional Mexican-themed street art side such as the mural by artist Vampire, which depicts a Mexican zombie most often associated with El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) and then the modern art side, with unique brush strokes (such as those depicted in ROA’s artwork) or striking colors (such as those depicted by Cannon Dill).

Work by artist Cannon Dill

Work by artist ROA. This stroke may look familiar to you because this is work by the same artist that I showed you in my post about London Street Art

No leads on the artist of this piece but the name ‘Vampire’ next to it could be a hint

This is a partial piece of a mural by Alejandro Medina, a local Pilsen artist

An owl by (late) Chicago artist Brooks Blair Golden

 For more of my street art photos from Pilsen, check out my Chicago Flickr album


This post is part of  the July 7, 2014 Travel Photo Mondays series.

Do you like street art? Who are your favorite artists or where have you seen the best displays of art?


By | 2014-07-07T09:08:17+00:00 July 7th, 2014|Illinois, Street Art|18 Comments


  1. Lindsay @ Frugal Frolicker Jul 7, 2014 at 10:21 am - Reply

    LOVE THIS!! I totally missed most of these while I was frolicking around Pilsen, but there’s a bunch of good art all along the train tracks on 16th St. Awesome captures here! 🙂

    • Chanel Jul 7, 2014 at 10:52 am - Reply

      Thanks Lindsay! I have got to check out the tracks the next time around 🙂

  2. Kevin @ Guess This City Jul 7, 2014 at 10:31 am - Reply

    Hey really awesome post. I love street art and graffiti and Chicago definitely has some really cool stuff.

    I was just in Reykjavik, Iceland and took some photos of all the awesome Graffiti.

    • Chanel Jul 7, 2014 at 10:53 am - Reply

      Yes, I am a huge fan too! I will definitely be checking out your post. I totally missed the street art when I was in Reykjavik last summer 🙁

  3. Jenny @ A Thing For Wor(l)ds Jul 7, 2014 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    Great photos!! I saw a few of those in Pilsen, though your pics turned out more profesh 🙂 I’ve started to focus more and more on finding great street art in my traveling; maybe ever since I hit up the East Side Gallery in Berlin I’ve been inspired.

    • Chanel Jul 7, 2014 at 4:26 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jenny! I love street art so I always seek it out 🙂 It can be quite interesting. Can’t wait to see what you discover during your travels!

  4. Scott - Quirky Travel Guy Jul 7, 2014 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Pilsen is probably my favorite place in the U.S. for street art. I haven’t seen all of these, so I’ll have to go back again soon. Props for looking up all the artists’ names!

    • Chanel Jul 7, 2014 at 6:58 pm - Reply

      Yes, there is so much there, and I even missed a lot too!

      The most challenging part of these posts is finding the names because they are never all in one place (and sometimes I can’t find them at all!) Thanks for coming by 🙂

  5. Muza-chan Jul 7, 2014 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    Cool art 🙂

  6. Rajesh Jul 8, 2014 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    Amazing artwork. Really talented people.

  7. [email protected] Jul 9, 2014 at 2:35 am - Reply

    Lovely murals, love the dancing ladies by Alejandro Medina. Innovative way to combat the local gang-affiliated graffiti.

    • Chanel Jul 9, 2014 at 10:08 pm - Reply

      Thank you Rachel! I also think it was a great project that was started in the community! 😀

  8. [email protected] Jul 12, 2014 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    Hi Chanel, lovely post. These street arts are spectacular and I like the story behind them. I’m a fan of street arts myself and so far are the ones in the streets of Melbourne.

    • Chanel Jul 13, 2014 at 1:45 am - Reply

      Thank you! I love street art so much, it is so awesome! I hope to see the art in Melbourne one day!

  9. Kristin Jul 23, 2014 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    These are seriously dramatic! I love your owl cover photo.

    • Chanel Jul 26, 2014 at 3:46 am - Reply

      I love the owl too and its very intense stare 😀

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