I interviewed Rudy Gomez in July of 2015. Rudy has been living in Chicago his whole life and in his West Rogers Park home for 20 years. He shares the home with his parents, he currently rents the basement apartment. Rudy says the one thing he would change about the neighborhood is a recent increase in gang activity, but what he loves is he great diversity in the ethnic backgrounds of the people who live on his street.
When I was driving down the street on the way to Rudy’s house, I must confess that when I spotted a vibrantly blue stucco home with a meticulously maintained front yard, I thought, “I hope that’s the one,” and it was indeed Rudy’s home. The blue is distinct and Rudy said that he is reminded of home when he sees that shade in the blue when he is away from home.
The backyard is a place where his family gathers to socialize and also a place that Rudy goes when he’s having a bad day. I made a painting of Rudy’s backyard because it feels like the heart of this home. On the Saturday morning that I visited members of his extended family had already begun to assemble on the back patio. The patch of grass and flower bed at the back of the yard are carefully tended to and it feels very much like a place that has hosted many celebrations. And, as Rudy described, it’s a place of respite on a bad day.
Special thanks to Stefano Vita for use of his music in the audio recording.