Cool Chicago-Area Street Art

By Maddie Rose and Cristina McGraw

Mural by artist Eduardo Cobra located in Wicker Park, Photo/Maddie Rose

Marty Rose, an amateur artist in Chicago, explained what it takes to create a mural. Since he has been doing art his whole life, he can easily walk through the process.

“First I sketch a couple of designs for the client to choose from and then visualize it against the walls,” he said. “The only time I sketch it on the wall ahead of time is when it involved lettering so that it is spaced perfectly. The actual designs or illustrations are freehand.”

Many times artists get reached out to by local businesses to make certain pieces for them. But sometimes muralists tend to create seek out their own places and use their own designs. 

As someone who is asked to do murals for businesses and clients, Rose was asked what work he has done in the past. Claiming that he has done many projects for people for their homes that know him for his art.

Many of the works that he has done range from fantasy subjects for children’s rooms to the beautiful views that are the Tuscany scenery. Even some paintings as detailed as painting an entire tree spanning across a laundry room wall up to the ceiling with birds flying across the branches.  

“It’s all up to the client’s desire and taste,” he said. “It can be something very simple or something very specific with lots of details.” 

Artist like Rose are just an example of one of the many amazing street artists that encompasses Chicago and its surrounding. Chicago and its surrounding has many beautiful murals and cool street artwork that is worth visiting. 

Street art pieces are essentially created by artists in a public setting for everyone to see and engage with. The artist is usually trying to make a statement through their public work. 

The next part of the report will include a list of five cool street artwork, a description of the artist, their intention and overall information about each piece. 

StoryMap: Check out the location of the five murals.

1.Butterfly Breaking Through Clothes by Ester Melina Scotte

Western Suburbs, 1111 North Blvd, Oak Park IL

The first piece is created by artist Ester Melina Scotte. She was born and raised in Argentina and began her artistic journey at the young age of 12. She acquired a lot of her artistic technique through combination of art school as well as her own personal development. She enjoys experimenting with various techniques and styles

She said she “expresses her own world, vision, and personal emotions throughout different stages of her life through her paintings which are influenced by her own personal travels which allowed her to also travel through her art as well” (Melina, 2019).

The mural is called Butterflies Breaking Through the Clothes, located in Oak Park. When asked about the process of creating a mural, she explained that the first step is to propose the specific art piece to the city, then showcase her idea or outline for approval prior. Once they approve the concept, she then begins outlining or creating the actual piece.

For this piece, she used a projector to sketch the shape to the murals, she added a combination of acrylic paints, finishing with graffiti varnish. The mural took about three days to complete with a total of 16 hours. When asked about some of the challenges of creating this type of artwork, she replied that the weather is a huge factor, especially in the Midwest.

When asked about the connotation of the painting Scotte said “that it is about what we transmit and what we release to others through our energy in the shape of butterflies, that come from the inside and surround the women.” 

She dedicated the mural to every person who enjoys viewing art, and called it her “small contribution to motivate others to leave more art on walls” (Scotte, 2019).

2. Flyboy by Hebru Brantley

West Town, 1400 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 

The second art piece is a mural by artist Hebru Brantley a Bronzeville native. The artist states that his artwork draws influence from pop culture, comic book heroes, as well as Japanese anime and bold aesthetics. He earned his B.A in film from Clark Atlanta University, with a background in design and media illustration. In his bio he describes that he uses the family of murals and graffiti work as a frame to explore his inquiries.

Brantley applies a “plethora of mediums from oil, acrylic, watercolor and spray paint to non-traditional mediums such as coffee and tea, as well as challenging the traditional view of the hero or protagonist”

The specific mural picked is located in West Town, Chicago. Which depicts his iconic character of the FlyBoy. He currently has a cool exhibition in Pilsen, Chicago called the Flyboy Universe in NevermorePark.

3. Bear Champ by JC Rivera 

Fulton Market, 108 N. Green Street, Chicago IL 

The third piece is by Puerto Rican native and Chicago Resident, JC Rivera. Rivera describes that he’s been illustrating, painting and doing anything related to art for the past nine years. His most popular trademark is the iconic Bear Champ, a yellow bear with boxing gloves seen in many of the Chicago neighborhoods. The specific mural is located at the West Loop Neighborhood, and depicts the Bear Champ holding a large slice of pizza. 

When interviewed Ricardo Berrios a Chicago resident and art enthusiast shared his perspective on the Bear Champ stating that “The Bear Champ is a Chicago Iconic symbol, if you haven’t seen a Bear Champ around then you haven’t seen all of Chicago” (Berrios, 2019).

College student and Chicago resident Kerenina Rosario shared her opinion of the artist, staring that “ JC Rivera’s Bear Champ is becoming a Chicago symbol, kinda like the Bean but in a more underground way.” She explained that as a fellow Puerto Rican she feels proud to see their Boricua representation through his artwork.  

Adobe Spark Video: Check out the slide of some of the cool artwork

4. Vivian Maier Self-Portrait by Eduardo Kobra

Wicker Park at 1651 W. North Avenue. 

The fourth mural is done by Eduardo Kobra who is a Brazilian street artist. This mural is dedicated to one of Chicago’s most famous photographers, Vivian Maier. It is located on the wall of a house in Wicker Park at 1651 W. North Avenue.

Eduardo Kobra is known for his use of bright colors and bold lines that give his murals a kaleidoscope feeling to them. The technique he uses consists of repeating squares and triangles to give the image he is painting that realistic touch. 

Kobra made this piece when he got permission from the owners of the house to paint the mural. He was not paid to do this mural, instead he volunteered his time and used his own money to create this work to pay tribute to Vivian Maier. 

Maier, is considered one of the greatest photographers of all time. Before her death in 2009, Maier resided in Rogers Park. She captured countless images of life in Chicago and the people that lived there. 

The mural by Kobra is one of her self portraits that she took, where she is seen holding up her camera. 

Eduardo Kobra brought to life one of Chicago’s most famous icons. Getting to drive past this mural that not only celebrates Vivian, but also the hard work done by Eduardo himself is a real treat.  

5. Greetings From Chicago, by Victor Ving

Logan Square, 2226 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago

The fifth mural is called Greetings From Chicago located in Logan Square. Painted back in 2015, it has been one of Chicago’s favorite tourist attractions. The mural captures the highlights of life in Chicago.

Muralist Victor Ving and photographer Lisa Beggs started a journey of traveling to different cities and creating what is called the Greetings Tour. As a group project the two have been using the classic large letter postcards and turning them into art.

Capturing the essence of each city they travel to, they create these murals inspired by the old large letter postcards back in the early 1990s.

The two have made 41 murals in 20 different states during the past 4 years of their journey of creating landmarks. Eventually they intend to make one in all 50 states. 

The mural in Chicago includes a very colorful and fun image to depict some of Chicago’s most iconic symbols. It features some of Chicago’s best within each letter including Chicago hot dogs, White Sox, Ferris Bueller, and many more.

Right off the California stop on the Blue Line, one can see the mural and its friendly greeting to the public. It has become quite a popular stop to take pictures for all forms of social media. The painting can be found right against a plumbing building on the intersection of Milwaukee Ave. and Prindiville Street. 

Check out this 360 Image: of the Chicago Greeting mural

Doing this type of work is very different from a typical canvas and paint supplies, Rose said. Murals are done on different surfaces and cause from many challenges when making it. Some of the biggest challenges is to include all the details to make the painting perfect. 

Making sure that the art the artist is doing what they visioned may be one of the biggest challenges especially with the obstacle of time. When doing a piece for a business it may cause lots of dedicated time in order to get the piece done promptly. 

When asked Rose about what a he typical spends on one of his murals he replied that

“Very hard to answer,” he said. “Every job is different. It all depends on the amount of detail a project needs. The more detail, the more time needed. I’ve completed most inside of an eight-hour day, but ave frequently required a few days to complete a single project”.

He describes that creating a mural is a strategic process from many artists. Having the privilege to explore ideas of what you can create and portray your art in a city like Chicago is a dream for many artists. It can take years to become an established artist within such a place like the city. Being able to know what goes into creating murals like the ones scattered around the various neighborhoods in Chicago can give insight into the world of making murals.

If you want to know how you can be apart of making art like Rose and the other muralists in Chicago visit the Chicago Artist Coalition. 

Google Mapping: 10 Best and Most Scenic Hiking Trail in Illinois

Illinois, the land of Lincoln, home to vast expansive plains, prairies and bordering the beautiful Lake Michigan. Although not as well known as many of its neighbors, Illinois is a state full of beautiful natural scenery that is ideal for exploring. As we enter autumn the weather becomes crisper and less sticky and it is the ideal time to explore outdoors in nature.  And what better way than donning a pair of hiking boots and hitting the trails. 

This selection of ten hiking nature trails in Illinois is the perfect starting point for your Autumn adventuring. The google map will show where these 10 trails are located, and give you additional advice to help you select the trail that is perfect for your occasion. So, whether you live in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs, are in need of a break from hectic life or just crave a slice of nature, these trails are the ideal escape to disconnect from the fast pace of urban life and reconnect with nature.  And as an extra bonus, the fall colors on full display are sure to be a huge treat for the whole family.  

Bitcoin and Facebook’s Dream of Crytocurrency

Bitcoin Still Dominates as the Most Popular Crytocurrency

Bitcoin is a digital payment currency that uses blockchain technology to manage and create monetary transaction. It is the first decentralized network which is powered by the users without a central authority. The idea of cryptocurrency was first mentioned by Wei Dai in 1998 through cypherpunks mailing list which later was adopted by Satoshi Nakamoto. He then published in 2009 the specification and proof of concept. Bitcoin is currently considered the biggest and most popular cryptocurrency, with over 100 billion dollars’ worth of bitcoins exchanged daily as of May 2018.

What are Crytocurrency? Also called internet money, token, or crypto-coin is a digital internet based medium of exchange that uses a cryptography to secure any digital exchanges regarding financial transaction. Crytocurrencies can be both decentralized and centralized, where the transfers are made between users or peer-to-peers (P2P). These transactions then are confirmed through mining. The difference between crypto and other digital money is that they are independent from any controlling authority such as banking institutions. They are also self-manageable and can be used by anyone at any time.

According to an analysis of Google search data on Google Trends it shows that bitcoin still remains the most popular search topic in the U.S when comparing with other top-ranking currencies such as Litecoin (LTC) and Ethereum (ETH). Even though the other two coins have certain features that are considered better than bitcoin, bitcoin still maintains to be in the top list.

Facebook Raises Political Stake by Creating Libra a Cryptocurrency

In June of 2019 Facebook published the white paper detailing the plan and execution of a digital cryptocurrency called Libra which will be overseen by a non-profit named Libra Association based in Switzerland.

Facebook stated that their goal for the currency “is to provide a fast, low-cost way for people around the world to transfer money, especially those who don’t have access to traditional banking services

But even though the idea sounds appealing, many government officials, fiance ministers, and central bankers from round the world have publicly voiced their concerns about Libra’s potential to disrupt government fiat currencies. It would consequently force them to give digital currencies a more serious and thoughtful look.

According to Zennon Kapron, founder and director of consultancy firm Kapronasia describes that Facebook already has billions of people within their network. And because of companies like PayPal and Ebay who are also part of the Libra Association, there is a to much potential for control because of the connectivity of networks that Facebook possess, which is making the regulators scared and extremely concerned.

According to an analysis of Google Search data on Google Trends shows that Bitcoin (yellow) is still the main topic of search, even though cryptocurrency (blue) and Libra cryptocurrency (red) are a trending topic of news and concern. People are still searching for Bitcoin at an extremely higher rate than any other crypto related subject. This could be because of the lack of information or news focus on the subject.

Quinn: Illinois Pensions Threatening MAP Grants

Gov. Pat Quinn Photo
Gov. Pat Quinn talks about MAP grants at DePaul University. (Photo by Josclynn Brandon)

By Bob Smith

Gov. Pat Quinn visited DePaul University’s Loop campus on Wednesday to discuss how pension reform is harming the Monetary Award Program (MAP) college scholarships and access to higher education in Illinois.

“This is so important to our state, not only in the past, but certainly now and in the future,” Quinn said.

“We want everyone to have the opportunity to go to college that has the ability to go to college.”

MAP grants are need-based college scholarships that allow merit students who are in need across the state and do not need to be repaid by the student. Quinn said that due to cutbacks and having to pay more money in the pension amount, almost 18,000 students lost their MAP grant scholarships this year.

“We do not want anyone denied that opportunity because of finances,” Quinn said. “We can’t afford to lose all the talent that exists, all the ability that exists for higher education to help our economy and to help all of us, because there are financial challenges that deny someone the opportunity to go to community college or a four-year university — public and private — in our state.”

Quinn was joined by several Illinois college students, including DePaul Student Government Association Vice President Casey Clemmons.

“Every year over 5,000 DePaul students receive MAP grants, and just like the students who have already spoken here today, all of these DePaul students rely on this funding in order to continue their college careers,” Clemmons said.

“Because the number of Illinois students eligible to receive MAP is currently increasing, existing funding does not allow the state to assist all the eligible students. As a result, without action by the Illinois state leadership, more DePaul students than ever will see their MAP funding disappear this year and more

DePaul students than ever will be forced to give up their education due to finances.”

More than 150,000 students nationally receive MAP grants each year.

Clemmons told the audience that on Tuesday, DePaul’s SGA unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Illinois general assembly and the governor to ensure the longevity of the MAP program.  He read the resolution aloud and presented a copy to Quinn.

Ken Thomas, a University of Illinois Board of Trustees student member, MAP recipient and University of Illinois Chicago student, told how he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for the MAP grant.

“My mom, when I was in high school, had to work two jobs just to keep food on the table,” Thomas said, “and if we didn’t have [the] MAP program like we do today, I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today; graduating with a degree, hoping to be a productive member of society.”

Having a productive and functioning society and economy is what Quinn says it’s all about.

“Jobs follow brainpower,” he said. “We want to make sure we have smart people in Illinois. Well skilled, well-educated students coming out of college with graduate degrees and diplomas so they can create jobs, create new businesses,” he said. “Our goal in Illinois is to have at least 60 percent of the adults in our state with a college degree or college associate degree or career certificate by the year 2025. In order to achieve we have to make sure we have a good scholarship program.”

Clemmons said that in order for that to happen, state legislatures need to reflect upon the question, “What must be done?” and do what’s required.


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