As part of the Northeastern Public Art Initiative, artist Miles “Mac” MacGregor, aka El Mac, was commissioned to create a new mural for Meserve Hall overlooking Centennial Common.
El Mac was born in Los Angeles to an engineer father and artist mother, who met in Boston while his father was a Northeastern student. The mural he was commissioned to paint on the side of Northeastern’s Meserve Hall references this personal history and interdisciplinary fusion.
El Mac was inspired at a young age by classic European painters, such as Caravaggio and Vermeer, and Art Nouveau symbolists, such as Klimt and Mucha. And as he developed his own style, the art historical references were fused with contemporary influences of graffiti and the Chicano and Mexican culture around him.
The subjects represented in El Mac’s murals are often those with the least amount of power in contemporary society. Examples of this are the four-story portrait of a Navajo Weaver that rises above the Los Angeles skyline and the proud Mexican father depicted in a boxer’s pose that looms large in downtown El Paso. This father has been fighting for information and justice for his son who disappeared after being detained by the police. A larger-than-life anonymous farm worker is memorialized in the Southern California farming town of Coachella, as part of a public art project organized by the Date Farmers Art Studio. During the painting of the Coachella mural, a young girl came by and asked Mac if he was painting someone famous. When he said “no,” she replied, “Good, then I can say to people that it’s my Tio” (uncle).