Artist Statement

How is the City your studio? "As a native Chicagoan, I am continuously inspired by the physical landscapes of the city, as well as the social histories of these diverse spaces. Chicago’s urban fabric, and the experiences of African-Americans constructing, navigating, and resisting that fabric, are source material for my creative and pedagogical practices. Through community-based work with youth and adults, and independent studio-based practice and research, I position Chicago’s built environment as fertile territory for public dialogue and collective social action. In the end, I am interested in connecting citizens to learn about, envision, and create the communal spaces they truly desire for the city."

Featured Artist Portrait by Joe Mazza | Brave Lux Chicago

Media
I am an interdisciplinary, creative practitioner who works in a variety of media to research and produce critical readings and alternative imaginings of the built environment. Through independent and collaborative work, I explore ways in which private and public spaces are used to promote and sustain injustice, and advocate for the equitable planning, usage, and stewardship of public spaces for the benefit of all. This work often takes the form of archival research, writing, public programming, participatory workshops, creative place-making, and ephemeral interventions and performances within the built environment.
Inspiration
The built environment inspires my practice, and this is due to my education and professional training in architecture. While I am not a licensed architect, I consider the interpretation and shaping of space as central to my work. Equally informing my practice is the history, material and visual culture, and creative production of African-Americans during their transitions to urban contexts through the Great Migration, and their struggles against inequity during the Civil Rights Movement. Lastly, the refreshing inventiveness and creative activism of youth and everyday citizens constantly pushes my understanding of our world, and I am continuously grateful for that.
What's Next?
I look forward to continuing my work with the Revival Arts Collective, a network of citizen activists committed to using arts and culture as a catalyst for community redevelopment in Chicago. The featured exhibition at Columbia College's Glass Curtain Gallery has pushed me to expand other aspects of my "Cabrini-Green and Other Urban Legends" series, including collecting and archiving photos and sketches of apartment interiors from former Cabrini residents. Lastly, through work with the Urban Vacancy Research Initiative, I look forward to continuing my investigation of the visual culture and phenomenon of abandonment, ruin, and vacancy within urban environments.
Bio
Andres L. Hernandez is an artist-designer-educator who works with youth and adults to interpret, critique, and re-imagine the environments we inhabit. He is co-founder of Revival Arts Collective, and was a participant in the 2013/14 Artist-in-Residence Program co-sponsored by the University of Chicago's Arts + Public Life Initiative and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, & Culture.

 Andres received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University, and a Master of Arts in Art Education degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Art Education.