Sights, Sounds, and Shapes of Chicago (part 13 of an unknown........) Street Art (part 2)

by Camellia Staab November. 13, 2020 445 views

In my last post I brought up the comparison of street art, mural, and graffiti. There is a fine line separating the three art forms. By definition graffiti is done without permission and involves letter based tags and pieces. It is predominately painted with spray cans but markers and rollers and other resources can also be used to create a graffiti.

Murals on the other hand have been around since human existence.

The ancient tradition of mural painting dates back to cave paintings more than 30,000 years old. The technique of painting frescos on wet plaster started circa 1500 BC. on the island of Crete in Greece.
By definition a mural is a painting or other piece of art work applied directly to a wall or other permanent surfaces. A distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture. (source)

Street art on the other hand can be said to have been greatly influenced by both graffiti and murals. Street art is located in public locations. Further more street art encompasses a diverse range of works and mediums.

Street art is associated with the terms "independent art", "post-graffiti", "neo-graffiti", and guerrilla art. The art form gained popularity when Bansky painted his first piece in his signature stencil. (source)
Banksy is an anonymous England-based street artist, political activist, and film director, active since the 1990s. His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stenciling technique. His works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges throughout the world. (source)

The major difference between street art, graffiti, and murals is that graffiti artists are not interested in the public understanding of their work although their work is placed publicly. Graffiti can be hard to read and most times has a negative connotation. Whereas street art and mural artists make a statement and want everyone to view and become engaged by their work.

Graffiti and street art are both contemporary art movements, however, their technique and most importantly intent is significantly different. The paintings are done to express what the artists thinks but the way it is expressed outwardly is what separates the two forms.

Essential Workers

In September of 2020 the National Workers Alliance funded the new mural by Sam Kirk that pays respects to the millions of domestic workers and essential workers in this country. The piece  features four portraits of real life workers in Chicago who continue to be essential to the thriving city in the midst of a pandemic.
The workers portrayed in the mural are: Juan Burrell, a Chavez Elementary school lunchroom manager, Carilla Hayden, a USPS Postal Worker, Veronica Sanchez, Leader with the Latino Union of Chicago and Nanny, and Maggie Zylinska, a Domestic Worker. (source)

Piccolo Sogno (Little Dream)

I did not do justice to this mural, because I should have taken a photo of its entirety, which I did not. This mural was painted by Erik Skotness and takes over two walls of the Picollo Sogno an Italian restaurant.

Eric SKOTNES is a Los Angeles artist who embarked on graffiti at 11 years old. His obsession constructing large-scale graffiti inspired him to design murals.
Despite Eric’s unique esthetic creating abstract graffiti derived murals, he grew unsatisfied with his perceived artistic limitations. Consequently, Eric pursued a rigorous art education at Art Center College of Design from 2005-2009 in which he studied illustration and fine art.
During his last term at Art Center, Eric started to receive commissions from movie and television production studios. Eric has done paintings, graffiti, murals, and illustration for studio productions such as: Brooklyn Nine Nine, Family Tree, How to be a Latin Lover, Murder in the First, The Good Place, and Last Man on Earth, just to name a few. Eric currently works on a series of figurative paintings based on human interaction that blends his style of graffiti art with classical figurative painting. (source)

Oprah Winfrey

Jane Barthès is one of five artists who have collaborated on a large mural project on the west side of Green Street between Madison and Monroe Streets. The mural commemorates the Chicago Harpo Studios where of Oprah Winfrey built her iconic career. The developers of the recently completed Porte luxury apartment complex at 845 W. Madison solicited mural proposals and selected B_Line Projects to oversee the project. They in turn selected Chicago-linked artists, Shawn Michael Warren, Jane Barthès, Anna Murphy, Kalan Strauss, and CERA to create the design which features several overlapping styles. Oprah’s portrait is included with natural and geometric elements. It is reputed to be the longest mural in Chicago. (source)

The question the world ours?

The Native American Lost in Chicago.....Dreaming

The Native American Lost In Chicago… Dreamin’ mural is one of two large murals by the French duo Ella & Pitr. This incredibly talented combo paint enormous murals of sleeping characters against the sides of buildings, contoured between building blocks, or across rooftops. Their work is often best viewed from above and uses the colors of the French flag whilst often creating dreary monochromatic images and spotlighting social issues and politics. Ella & Pitr’s murals can be seen on buildings and urbanscapes in Scandinavia, South America, Eastern Europe, and now also here in Chicago. (source)

This mural falls into one of favorites pile, because although it is not as colorful as some of the rest that I have posted, it reminds me of one of the books written by my most favorite Welsh novelist Roal Dahl called The BFG (The Big Friendly Giant). While is it a children's book, it is one I have read several times. In my opinion, it is a book that should be in everyone's library who has any type of contact with children.

End of Time

The mural is painted by Charles Utero III aka Zwonzilla. Unfortunately there was no pertinent information about the mural. But I did find out that this artist has many many more murals around the city.

Juice WRLD

Artists Corey Pane and Chris Devins painted murals memorializing the rapper, who was 21 when he died last December from what was found to have been an accidental overdose of oxycodone and codeine after landing at Midway Airport.
One of Pane’s murals is a portrait of Juice WRLD surrounded by butterflies and shooting stars that’s similar to the cover design for his recent posthumous album “Legends Never Die.” ( source)

Galeria del Barrio (Gallery of the Neighborhood)

“Galeria del Barrio” consists of a long row of different coloured men’s faces that portray different emotions.  This is the oldest mural in the area and was originally created by Aurelio Diaz with the help of 20 children from St. Procopius Church in 1976.   It was restored in 2016 by Sam Kirk.  The men’s heads are 10 feet tall. (source)

The next three murals were created under a viaduct leading towards the south side of Chicago. Did not find the artist on the first two but was able to find the artist on the last mural.

Marcos Raya (born 1948 Guanajuato, Mexico) is a Mexican artist based out of Chicago, Illinois. He became known in the Chicago neighborhood of Pilsen for his street murals.
Born in Mexico, Raya spent the first 16 years of his life there before moving to the United States with his mother and siblings. In 1964, when Raya moved to Chicago, in the middle of the Civil rights movement of the 1960s, he found that the conditions created by the movement allowed for him to express his political sentiment through his artwork.

Raya paints street murals and also creates paintings, self-portraits as well as multi-media projects. Well known throughout Pilsen for his street murals. (source)

Next post are murals from the South Side of Chicago.

Join the conversation
There are 13 comments , add yours!
Leon Linder 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I will be rereading this several times and this is a piece of work in itself and I just ordered “The BFG”. I may have to order a few more as gifts. If no COVD you could travel giving slide show talks on this subject. I will buy the first ticket.

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Camellia Staab Replied to Leon Linder 1 month, 1 week ago

😂😂😂 You crack me up Leon, but thank you. Those grandkids, if they haven't already read it, will love the book smile

1 month, 1 week ago Edited
Tsao T-F 2 months, 1 week ago

So impressive, especially #15 to me.

2 months, 1 week ago Edited
Camellia Staab Replied to Tsao T-F 2 months, 1 week ago

Definitely lots of talent out there.

2 months, 1 week ago Edited
Antonio Gil 2 months, 1 week ago

A feast to the eye. Love it

2 months, 1 week ago Edited
Camellia Staab Replied to Antonio Gil 2 months, 1 week ago


2 months, 1 week ago Edited
Jay Boggess 2 months, 1 week ago

WOW! Wonderful art with excellent camera work and fascinating  & informative commentary!
What a pleasure!

2 months, 1 week ago Edited
Camellia Staab Replied to Jay Boggess 2 months, 1 week ago

Thank Jay, it's been fun doing these series smile

2 months, 1 week ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Camellia Staab 2 months, 1 week ago

Believe me, it's been just as much fun on our side of the equation!!! smile

2 months, 1 week ago Edited
Rachele Schneekloth 2 months, 1 week ago

Thank you for for sharing this amazing street art!!! What a great series.

2 months, 1 week ago Edited
Camellia Staab Replied to Rachele Schneekloth 2 months, 1 week ago

Thank you Rachele, I have learned so much while doing these series. I has been fun for me.

2 months, 1 week ago Edited
Leon Linder 2 months, 1 week ago

I feel like I have just been to art class. You did an impressive amount of work here.

2 months, 1 week ago Edited
Camellia Staab Replied to Leon Linder 2 months, 1 week ago

Thank you Leon, it ha taken me some time, but then again what a nice way to spend retirement. I have learned so much.

2 months, 1 week ago Edited