Puerto Rican artist dives into cultural roots to create colorful works of art

CHICAGO -- Marco Rios is a Chicago artist who dives into his Puerto Rican roots to create colorful works of art.

"I'm trying to convey sound and motion through color. A lot of influences are my culture. I'm Puerto Rican so a lot of that shows up," Rios said.

Rios was asked to create a work of art showing solidarity between the Black and Brown communities. This piece was displayed on Chicago's Magnificent Mile after buildings were boarded up due to recent civil unrest.

"The Black and Brown community has a big history in Chicago of working together, and there's a lot of solidarity. So I wanted to show that solidarity, show the community that Black and Brown do get along and that the narrative that was being displayed in the media wasn't true," Rios said.

Rios pulls his inspiration from Latin culture. His favorite painting is of a Cuban singer named La Lupe.

Rios also described a painting of salsa musician Tite Curet Alonso, saying "I painted him because he's pretty much the soundtrack of my childhood. I wanted to highlight someone that really didn't get highlighted in his past and showcase that to a newer generation."

Despite the pandemic, Rios said this past year has been one of the best years for him as an artist.

"I just can see right now that being a creative is like necessary, and, like, most creatives, what we do is an evolving process. As we evolve as people, our work evolves," Rios said.

For more on Rios' work, visit his website mriosart.com.