display menu
display menu

Carlos Antonio Piñón

artist, writer, performer

Carlos Antonio Piñón performing an essay during the BFAW Show at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017 at the LeRoy Neiman Center.


When I began my undergraduate degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, my roots were in concrete and visual poetry. I focused heavily on writing on the page—or rather, all over the page. As my time in the writing program progressed, I found myself experimenting in all kinds of craft. I really wanted to learn as much about writing every way I could. Outside of school, however, thanks to invitations from my high school english teacher and mentor, Andy Fine, I often found myself at a local storytelling show run by Jeremy Owens called You're Being Ridiculous. I quickly became interested in the live aspect of storytelling—so much so that I went on to perform on the show myself, as well as write nonfiction essays for my thesis. Since then, I've written more nonfiction essays—in fact, I even pursued an MFA in Nonfiction Writing at Columbia College Chicago—and it's become the heart of my writing practice.

Below are several nonfiction essays for your reading pleasure:

Personal Essays

Another Prodigal Son

Another Prodigal Son - 11/15/18: On death, family, and love—an open letter to my father.

Coming Clean

Coming Clean - 5/31/13: This is the first time I said it, the first time I understood it—this is my manifesto.

Gesture & Body Language

Gesture & Body Language - 5/25/18: How I had the talk with my parents at the age of 22 after meeting my boyfriend.

Grace, Us, Adíos

Grace, Us, Adíos - 5/12/17: My dad, my brother, and God—and how none of us are on the same page.


Husk - 5/12/17: Shaving, swimming, and shirts vs. skins—yes, that's my body.

Life is Ridiculous & So Am I

Life is Ridiculous & So Am I - 5/12/17: How I wrote four nonfiction essays for my undergraduate thesis at SAIC.

Mineral Point: Becoming Part of a History

Mineral Point: Becoming Part of a History - 12/7/15: Exploring Mineral Point, Wisconsin while celebrating SAIC's 150th anniversary.


Mushrooming - 11/5/18: Inspiring real change through art and writing—and why I want to be a teacher.

Red Pants

Red Pants - 5/12/17: Gay evolution, or how I let a piece of clothing define me.

Something to Fear

Something to Fear - 5/12/17: Getting robbed, dodging bullets, and having a gun pulled to my face—yeah, I thought I was going to die.

The Bike Courier

The Bike Courier - 3/8/19: The summer I worked as much as I played while not getting paid very much.

This Is My Purpose

This Is My Purpose - 11/30/12: A sneak peek into my portfolio from 2012 when I was accepted at art school.

This One Goes Out To...

This One Goes Out To... - 8/8/13: All the things we want to do before we know what we have to be.

True North

True North - 4/19/13: Who are you fighting for? The importance of having mentors and being inspired.

Why I Write

Why I Write - 3/10/15: Everything writing helped me understand—and what I hope to contribute.

Art Essays


Being Then/Emerging Now - 4/29/19: Finding new meaning in old art work simply by remembering.

Paper Dreams & Other Collections

Five Years of Paper Dreams - 3/29/19: Looking back at my very first book and the process of making it happen.

Read Me

Keep Reading Me - 6/24/19: Getting over that first art block and creating a legacy as an amateur creator.


Misprints - 5/6/16: The making of a year-long project, its inspirations, and the execution.

Rainbow Road

Revisiting Rainbow Road - 2/2/19: How an art school assignment became a personal homage to childhood.


Rotating and Orbiting Again - 5/30/19: Making, remaking, and unmaking the same art piece over and over.


Still Longing - 8/21/19: Finding inspiration for your masterpiece in someone else's work.

Website Archives

Website Archives - 7/10/19: A step-by-step description of how my website has evolved since 2011.