The story behind the ‘Bird City Saint’ and why the artist hopes it empowers others

Sentrock standing in front of Bird City Saint in Pilsen. (Courtesy Sentrock Studio)

By Jessy Zhou
Medill Reports

It’s common sight on murals in Chicago — a bird head on a human body, looking skyward, often accompanied by a quote. The image, called the Bird City Saint,  is a signature of Joseph “Sentrock” Perez, a muralist and sculptor who moved to Chicago from Arizona to pursue a career as a full-time artist.

Sentrock’s “birdman” appears on several murals in Pilsen, where he wants his work to empower teens in the neighborhood by lifting their spirits. “I feel like my work  gives hope,” said Sentrock in the video story below. “A lot of the characters, they’re like striving for more, they’re looking up to the sky, and they really need something to feel uplifting.”

Photo at top: Sentrock standing in front of a mural with a Bird City Saint image in Pilsen. (Courtesy Sentrock Studio)