Originally from New York, art schooled and stationed for the time being in Baltimore, and back here with us in Chicago for the week, we bring you the visionary street artist, urban boundary pusher, and overall awesome guy known as Gaia. His moniker forces you to do some research not only on art, but on issues that communities and humanity face on a daily basis. His work first slaps you in the face with stunning technical detail and tried and true craftsmanship, but then you start to peel back the seemingly limitless layers of Gaia’s work, and you are greeted with unparalleled attention to the issues of the geographical areas he attacks with his visual onslaught of history, culture, and a real futuristic-vibed realization of the past’s importance in the present.

Already relatively legendary at a young age, the sky and beyond the stars is absolutely where the limit lies for Gaia, who takes his name from the great mother of all, although the translation of Gaia to earth is of unknown origin. Fitting, isn’t it?

When Gaia visits a city, he engulfs himself in the history, gets to know the people, the culture, the food, the very makeup of what fuels it; he becomes the city, he offers himself as a sponge, ready to absorb any and all of its offerings. This is something I appreciate and admire on such a high level, because when I travel anywhere, I try to do the same thing. Only difference being, Gaia gives something back other than his footprint, and that something tends to be physically temporary, yet philosophically permanent for those fortunate enough to come in contact with his connection. That being said, the permanence of what he’s creating off thecorner of 16th & Halsted is truly a sight to see. We may have reached a tipping point, friends.

Gozamos hung out with Gaia along the railroad tracks to talk about art, city life, gentrification, the histories of Pilsen, food, painting, street art, traveling, a bunch of shit…I could listen to him for hours…but alas! The man’s got work to do!

Without further adieu, we bring you the sense of wonder that is Gaia. Please enjoy.

Dude is deep. Dopely deep…

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