Artist of the Month: Joshua "XENO" Martínez

This year, we decided that it would be only appropriate to highlight artists who have been putting their best foot forward, in not only contributing to the artistic vision that they hold for themselves, but as active members of EXPO Collective.

For the month of January, we chose Joshua “XENO” Martínez.

12140806_971027996295108_2046274428227242926_nXeno has been a part of EXPO since day one. We met him when he had recently moved to Chicago from New York and extended the opportunity to showcase his work at our first ever Pilsen Open Studios exhibition, which was also the birth of EXPO Collective. Since then, not only has Xeno had the opportunity to showcase his work in a multitude of exhibitions around Chicago, but he’s extended his network, has become an active part of the artistic community and is actively creating change with a beautification project in the Hermosa neighborhood where he is now a resident. Not to mention, when it comes to EXPO Collective, he is always ready to step in, participate, curate or help us in creation of graphic design projects when we’re stretching ourselves thin!

As a social services worker, Xeno’s artwork had  a lot to do with his experiences, which have been expressed quite extensively, namely through his character Toby the Bear. We’re very proud of everything Xeno has accomplished and we’re lucky to have him as a member of EXPO Collective.

Read a bit more about Xeno below.

What’s your passion in life?

For more than 10 years I have been a dedicated community advocate, working to ensure safe spaces for at-risk and low-income communities in both Chicago and New York. Coming from a low-income community in the Bronx, I am passionate about making a difference by combating the realities facing our brown communities and illustrating the continuous importance of providing future generations with the necessary resources and tools to help them succeed.

What message(s) do you hope to achieve through your artwork?

My artwork is a direct reflection of work in social service and I hope to shed light on the hardships faced in brown communities. I hope to start a conversation about the need for better services, advocacy, and equal distribution of resources.

How do you live your life authentically? 

I live life authentically by living in my truth and actively being a member of organizations and initiatives focused on creating change in our community. Currently I live in Hermosa, a neighborhood on the northwest side of chicago and am the Creative Director of an organization named the Hermosa Neighborhood Association (HNA). The Hermosa Neighborhood Association is a community organization started by neighbors who seek to aid and promote the general welfare of the community through dialogue, empowerment and direct action.

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