Find Art: Chicago Street Art

On the side of a brick wall supporting the underpass around Milwaukee and Leavitt, there is a spray-painted dinosaur on a cotton-candy pink and light plum purple background with the words “FIND ART” scrawled beneath it. Interpreting these words as a challenge, we set out to uncover art on the streets of Chicago. (MaB)

Photo by Maggie Bojda

See more after the jump, including a slideshow of all our photos

Taking Milwaukee east, The Brooklyn Industries store (hailing from Brooklyn, which is often considered the birthplace of modern graffiti) on the corner of Evergreen acted as a welcoming post into the Wicker Park area, which was a gold mine for what we were looking for. The mural showcased cartoon drawings of cinema villains, including the Joker with flying goggles, two teenage children dressed in superhero clothing, calm and cool, poised to save the area if anyone stepped out of line. Turning into the alley, we found two more pieces I really enjoyed. One featuring a voluptuous female, smiling in our direction, but this was not the part that intrigued me most. The artist made his (I assume) name “Stat” stand out the old school way, writing it over and over, to make up the leaves of a tree in which the woman was the trunk, or to fill out her afro. Either way, the different styles the rewrites came in really showed the artist’s talent and creativity. Just to the right of the Stat female was a face with wings, which was strikingly similar to the character from “Ali G Indahouse” (I know this interpretation is completely wrong, but I thought it was close). The man had a chain with a spray paint can medallion, truly stuntin’ in the essence of art. What I liked most about this one was the fact that the artist used a security camera the auto shop installed as the character’s nose. This I feel really highlights the thought and exactness that goes into these pieces. (MiB)

Photo by Maggie Bojda

Remembering an intricate drawing of two ferrets (which resemble rats, in my opinion) on a neighborhood garage that can be seen from the Blue Line, we weaved through a few streets to locate it. The area under the CTA underpass was another refuge for Chicago street art. The most striking piece in the area was the image of large animals painted in a pose resembling the famous Michelangelo painting from the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The ferrets are beyond the finger-touching stage, though, and look on their way to lip-lock.  Although large street art is alluring, I personally prefer the smaller works street artists bring to an area. On the legs of the CTA underpass, for example, sit spray painted little boys frozen in high-kick/mid-run; just an artist leaving his mark on Chicago. I had to look up to find my favorite art piece of the day, though. Tied to a telephone pole wire hung two sneakers. As I zoomed in on the shoes with my camera, I realized that they were not real sneakers; instead, they were two wood boards cut in the shape of a gym shoe and painted to look as realistically as possible. My favorite is art that is deceiving upon first glance and begs a closer look. (MaB)

Photo by Michael Bojda

Leaving the street art sanctuary, we backed up through an alley and ran into another work of art that was just in the process of being born. A street artist armed with spray paint was in the process of creating another Chicago visual on the side of a bike shop. It was enjoyable to watch this artist in action; he looked consumed by his craft, excited to bring his vision to life. (MaB)

Photo by Maggie Bojda

Our final stop in Wicker Park had to be at one of my favorite pieces in the neighborhood- the family of robots right off Wood Street on Milwaukee. What I love about street art is the meaning behind it. The eye candy sure is tasty, but I love art for a good cause, making people feel good, and making people think. The colors in the robot piece are bright, there are hearts parachuting down from the sky, and the family is smiling, showcasing an all around happy environment. As quirky as the robots are (check out the eyes of the robot in the middle), the robot family teaches us that it’s always better together; family members accept you for who you are. If you take a look even closer, you’ll notice that this whole art piece was painted over newspapers. Shout out to creativity. (MiB)

Photo by Michael Bojda

Whether a piece of artwork lives brightly and in stark contrast to its concrete surroundings, or it blends into the neighborhood to which it has been introduced, we found that all art is incredibly special in its own way. It is important to remember that each artist sets out to make an individual statement, and every photographer captures his message through his own lens. We challenge you to find your own street art in Chicago. Explore your surroundings in the most alert way possible. Don’t let any lonely alleyway or empty lot deceive you. Chicago breeds amazing art in the most unexpected places. (MaB)

Photo by Michael Bojda

Check out our Flickr page for the full set of high resolution photos, enjoy!

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One response to “Find Art: Chicago Street Art

  1. Pingback: To Tag, or Not to Tag « UCWbLing

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