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GringoLandia Studio

18th Street Pilsen Open Studios - 2023

2232 W 21st St, Chicago, IL 60608, USA


October 21st & 22nd / 12-8pm

For this year’s open studio I will be showing retrospective and new works pertaining to our relationship with water (Agua).

"Mark Nelson began his formal education in the arts in the Republic of Panama mentored in painting and live theater. Nelson returned to the continental USA to continue his formal studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago completing a BFA where he studied painting, performance, and methodologies in teaching. He then followed this with an MFA at the University of Illinois in Chicago where his interest and studies reincorporated theater, video, and statistical analysis. His artwork can be found internationally in both private and public collections, including an 18 x 6-foot canvas mural at the US Embassy, Republic of Panama. Nelson has also been awarded numerous grants and fellowships and has been a permanent resident within the Pilsen arts community for 25 years."


I relocated from Panama in the mid 80's to continue with my studies in art. I was promptly invited into the community of Pilsen to participate with several artists who similarly came to Chicago for like reasons and purpose. In 1998 I took up permanent residence on 21st street where I made a home and studio workspace and my daughter to adulthood. I am one of the original artists grouped by Hector Duarte and Linda Lutton together with other neighbors and friends I have grown older with. Pilsen has fulfilled the empty space in my heart that I would have otherwise lived out by returning to Panama. 


Mark M. Nelson (born 1957) is an artist whose work is exhibited internationally. Nelson's style has been described as "socially critical, prolific, and satirically expressive." 

Nelson grew up in the Panama Canal Zone.[1] He attended the Panama Canal Zone College, then later the National University of Panama, and the National School of Plastic Art in Panama where he explored painting, printmaking and theatrical design at the Ancon Theatre Guild, under the direction of Bill Gonzalez. In 1984 he moved to the United States to study at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1986. He remained in Chicago to complete his Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where his studies culminated with a decade of interdisciplinary art installations. 

Nelson taught in the Chicago public school system as a resident artist and permanent instructor for 30 years and as well as an adjunct instructor at various colleges in the Chicago area.

In 1998, Nelson acquired his GringoLandia Studio, and took up permanent residence within Pilsen Historic District. Nelson has been involved with the Pilsen artist community since the mid 1980s, and one of the original participating artists of the 18th Street Pilsen Open Studios. Nelson's public works include his F22 DairyAir Enforcer from the 1999 "Cows on Parade" public art project, “Tamarindo” mural in Oak Park, IL, Lighthouses on the Mag Mile and a canvas mural entitled "Jesus Lizard on the Banana Channel" purchased by the U.S. State Department and installed in the new U.S. Consulate in the Republic of Panama. 

Nelson is a recipient of numerous awards and grants including a two time awarded Fellowship by the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship.

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