Can your trash bin become fine art?

Yes, according to Ian Lantz—IVY Member and celebrated Chicago street artist who is on a mission to prove that beauty can be found in neglected urban spaces.

An LA native and self-taught artist, Lantz moved to the South Side of Chicago, where he now uses street art as a form of community. His unexpected back alley art installations are designed as social experiences, meant to bring residents together, spark dialogue, and create something beautiful out of nothing.

Read Ian’s reflections, and connect with him below.


Photo Credit: Pullman Galleries

Street art can be defined in so many ways. I like personally like big, colorful, meaningful murals…. murals that just speak to you. They really give neighborhoods a different positive energy. I love that street art can be shared with the masses and be seen anywhere in the city. It can transform any wall into a something that can provoke emotion or thought, or provide a mini escape.

As we’ve seen in Venice Beach or Melrose in Los Angeles, some of the biggest artists started off as street artists. I actually started backwards…I went from galleries, cafes, bars, and restaurants to doing large community alley art. The reason was that I moved to the South Side of Chicago, where most people don’t have the disposable income to buy gallery art. I started to create alley murals in the Historic Pullman District to liven up an otherwise unnoticed and avoided space. Once I got into the neighborhood, it just seemed like the perfect story book neighborhood that reminded me of Paramount studios or a Warner Brothers back lot in Los Angeles.928678_1558524844383739_2017699837_a

Photo Credit: Ian Lantz

Bringing my art to the Historic Pullman District has enhanced and exposed many other artists who were already living in Pullman, but who had expressed themselves to the neighborhood as artists. Together we have shown that ART WORKS! My art has been an ice-breaker with many of my neighbors in the neighborhood. The artists of Pullman have gotten together and held many art shows that have brought the outside art community into Pullman.

Eventually, I’d like to take my art to challenged neighborhoods in all the major cities. I have personally seen the huge impact that this type of art has had in Los Angeles, and I’m now getting to witness first hand the positive impact it’s had on the South Side of Chicago. It’s humbled me in a way that I can’t explain. As much as I help them, they also help me understand what really is important.

IVY members can help by supporting my art shows, spreading the word about the organizations I’m trying to help, by simply getting my name out to different cities and art organizations. That’s really all I can ask for.

Activate Bus Mural-1

Ian Lantz is an IVY Member (Chicago). Connect and collaborate with him here! To learn more about IVY, please visit