Artist Christian Paz grew up in Albany Park, so when he finally persuaded the owner of a nearby convenience store to agree to it, he jumped at the chance to beautify his community.
“I really try to put my heart and soul into each mural. Chicago being my home city, my first love, anything I put out there has to really reflect my ability and my artistic creativity,” he said. “So just to be able to contribute, especially in my neighborhood — if it brings somebody a smile, then, you know, mission accomplished.”
Paz explained the inspiration for the mural, titled “Mi Jardin,” which he says he plans to add to this summer.
“This whole mural revolves around plants and gardening. My mom has a green thumb, so she’s my inspiration for this mural. The roses represent my mom. The plumeria represent my children,” Paz explained. “I have hibiscus plants growing out of the heart right there — my brother is a medical doctor and he kind of inspired me to start painting hearts. I had to get it correct or else I would hear from him!”
Paz says the positive response he’s received is in part because the theme resonates with just about everyone.
“People really do enjoy it because they can relate to it. A lot of people do garden, even in the city, so it touches dear to a lot of people’s hearts.”
The colors and themes of “Mi Jardin” are emblematic of Paz’s El Salvadoran heritage.
“It’s very bright and colorful. That’s what you get with a lot of Latin-American and Mexican folk art. It’s those bright intense colors that one can see and be like, okay, that has a Latin flavor to it, you know? And I think that’s just – I don’t aim for that, but that’s something that just comes to be.”