Hector Duarte

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Artist Statement:
I’ve always loved the monumental. As a child I was attracted to the giant, ornate religious paintings I saw in the churches of my city. When I finally got to see the work of Mexico’s great muralists, I knew it was something grandiose. I wanted to do that. Much of my artwork is inspired by current and historical human struggle, both collective and personal. Through my paintings, I hope to seek out and contribute to the beauty and sanctity inherent in meaningful struggle for a better world and life. I am convinced of art’s ability to transform minds and hearts. I believe that everyone deserves to see and live around art—another reason I’ve committed my life to painting murals. I have explored themes of identity, culture, migration, struggle, love, and death. My works often contain historical references. Figures are constructed from forceful, accentuated brushstrokes. The composition of my larger works and my use of dramatic geometric lines to divide the canvas can be traced to my studies of Siquieros’ techniques. I have a deep creative interest in incorporating my murals into the surrounding landscape and architecture. My artwork is marked by brilliant colors, perhaps a result of the way I first learned to see color in the world, in the vividly painted houses and bright fruits and flowers of Mexico.
Relationship to Chicago:
I first came to Chicago for a world mural conference held here in 1978. It made an incredible impression on me to see so many murals being painted in Chicago’s neighborhoods-this was part of the Community Mural Movement-and I vowed to return to contribute my own ideas to the city’s walls. At the time, very few murals were being painted in my native Mexico, and Chicago seemed like the place to put in practice the mural techniques I was studying in David Alfaro Siqueiros’ studio. I returned to Chicago in 1985 and have lived and worked in the Pilsen community ever since-in a neighborhood that is in many ways the cultural heart of the Mexican community in Chicago. I have contributed to the creation of more than 50 murals in Chicago and the suburbs; my artwork adorns schools, libraries, train stops, and private buildings. My home and studio, covered on three sides by a mural, has become a stop on many Chicago art and architecture tours. I have also devoted time to teach mural painting to young people through schools and community organizations. I have a strong commitment to see the mural tradition continue among the next generation.
Year of Birth:
Country of Origin:
Places Of Residency:
Chicago, Illinois; Zamora, Michoacan.
Art Form:
Drawing, Mixed Media, Painting, Printmaking, Urban Art, Painted Murals, Mosaic Murals.