“I grew up watching the city grow. I’ve always been interested in buildings. In the city everything complements its surroundings and has its own personality.”
Pedro Basantes (b. 1985) approaches painting as a way to capture the moment, and the emotion of that moment, through color and light. His colorist approach to architectural paintings pushes and pulls the viewer visually, and in depicting both the skyscrapers of Chicago’s Loop and the demolitions of the city’s housing projects, draws attention to class distinctions in city planning. His art-making practice is influenced by photorealism, and acts as a mental exercise, finding separations and disparities in color and light as well as society.
Also an active street artist, Basantes works on mural projects and does graffiti work with groups and by special commission. He describes this work as an expansion of his formalist research – making use of line and color alone to create atmospheric moods within an abstract composition strengthens his representational drawing and painting. He explains, “with graffiti, you are using your psyche at its fullest potential”.
Basantes joined Project Onward in 2006 and lives in Chicago’s North Park neighborhood.