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Taking a trip back to Chicago with Regin Igloria

So who here remembers Regin Igloria, the artist from Chicago who in September walked all the way to Urbana, and then put on the art show If I Could Bring You the Things You Never Had at the Outhaus Gallery? Personally I’m not exactly sure how it’s possible to forget, so let’s take a quick trip and see what else Regin is up to.

We’l begin by backtracking a bit to 2010, when Regin founded North Branch Projects (NBP), which according to him was a way to bring together different aspects of his life, namely making books, teaching, and bringing together different types of people, which, to me, sounds pretty fabulous.  While the actual studio space was closed down last November, Regin continues to teach classes and workshops throughout Chicago as NBP. Since then, he’s been keeping the dialogue going by making what he describes as interactive “response pedestals”, where people can write or draw responses to questions in various locations, from community centers to park field houses. When asked what direction he plans to take NBP, he revealed  his goal “is to develop NBP into a more mobile unit, where we can go to spaces instead of having people come to us. Currently we are running classes and workshops at a space in Hyde Park through Laura Shaeffer’s Southside Hub of Production (SHoP), so I am keeping busy with maintaining the bookbinding efforts we began in Albany Park”.

In addition to his bookbinding classes, Regin has plans for several performance-based works, specifically as a way to connect with new landscapes both within Chicago and beyond. He plans to host other walks, though thankfully not as long as the one to Urbana, that will be an ongoing exploration of every city block in Chicago. (As a lover of Chicago, this project sounds like a blast). Over the next couple of months, Regin will be leading community book-binding in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, at Southside Hub of Production’s temporary space, while also completing a short residency at the Montello Foundation in Nevada this October/November. In December Regin will be exhibiting a piece as Free Air with Amy Sinclair at The Franklin in Chicago, so if any of you are planning to head up north for Christmas break, then this will definitely be something to check out.  

If I’ve learned anything about Regin Igloria throughout discovering what types of programs he holds and what he provides for his community through his art, it is that  he gets sheer enjoyment from making art and helping others do the same. “I enjoy the challenge of teaching others new skills, as well as the type of interactions I have with students occurring through those opportunities” says Regin. “I enjoy seeing the outcome of finding new skills: seeing people pleased, happy, and satisfied with what they’ve done. If students take anything away from my classes, it would be a sense of awe and appreciation for the creative practice”. 

As a second year college student, I know that I still have a good amount of time left before I have to make any final decisions about what I’ll be doing after college, and what my “career” is going to be.  My only wish is that whatever it ends up being, I have just as much enthusiasm, dedication, and joy in whatever I decide to do as Regin has through creating art, and by giving that back and so much more to his community. 

He explained that he chooses his various projects:

“to create personal, impactful experiences that ultimately offer opportunities to think about one’s own relationship to their surroundings. I try to make work that remains open to multiple meanings, but comes from a personal conviction, so there exists a very specific aesthetic of visuals and materials that I want people to appreciate. This is why I choose to incorporate books, as they are very tactile objects that people can hold in their hands.  That’s also why I choose to draw, as it is a direct form of mark-making that stems from the body.” 

Listening to Regin describe why he creates the art he does is, for me, both inspirational and heartening, because sometimes it seems like it gets just a bit harder each day to achieve a “personal, impactful experience” that Regin talks about; whether that’s with our family or friends, or even through a more personal relationship with ourselves. Regin’s art has the ability to bring you back to ground zero, and remind you of the joy and sense of connection that can come from working with, and creating art from a person’s everyday life.

Regin Igloria is a Visual Arts artist and teacher located in Chicago, he has exhibited his work internationally, most recently at the 2010 ANTI Festival in Kuopio, Finland. He was chosen for the Chicago Artists Month 2015, and is represented by Zg Gallery in Chicago, IL. More can be found out about him and his current/upcoming projects here.

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