A Behind the Scenes Look at One of the Largest Murals in Pilsen, ChicagoArtist Replete
Last month, emerging artist Raul Ramirez, better known as Rawooh, created some powerful new street art in Chicago. The exact location in Pilsen, Chicago was selected personally by Artist Replete.
It was during a conversation that took place months prior, that Rawooh created another piece in reference to the Avengers character Nebula. Located on the cross streets of W. 21st St. & S. Allport St. also in Pilsen, Chicago.
While in the process of finishing the work we had a conversation with the artist that stuck out to us. Using the spray paint can like a maestro controlling his orchestra he made an impactful statement.
“A lot of my greatest pieces are on shared walls. I appreciate every opportunity I get to collaborate on, but it would be nice one day to create a piece on a wall that’s just mine”
The hunt for the perfect wall for this extremely talented Chicago creative was on. It was a hunt that lasted only a few hours. Just two blocks away, sat a 4-story wall with no windows, as if the call was answered from a higher power gifting the artist a canvas like never before.
The business on the corner of S. Racine & W. 21st dates back to 1969 as a major Chicago food provider. Open Kitchens is a family owned company and one of the leaders in the Meals on Wheels program. Employing roughly 200 Pilsen residents, it supplies food to both seniors and low income qualifiers. With the majority of everything hand delivered. The business also supplies food to Chicago public schools that don’t have cafeterias. Yes, you read that correctly. Out of roughly 600 Chicago schools nearly 180 of them don’t have a cafeteria.
We asked Vice President, Anthony Fiore on what his motivation behind it all is?
“I love being able to provide meals for those in need. It’s way more than just a job. I get to help people on a daily basis. The sort of feeling you get from that is beyond monetary value.”
After a few emails, a sketch by Rawooh and financial approval from Open kitchens, the project began.
Stage One: The Right Equipment
In this case a rough terrain boom lift with outriggers. The ground next to the mural presented an apparent problem early on. With an uneven surface, a lift that could go high enough to reach 4 stories was needed. Not only that, it also had to be stable. Stage One was handled by AR and took a few days to organize.
Stage Two: Outline | Filler | Paint
With the help of an artist by the name of Afeks, stage two began. Rawooh started things off with a black outline followed by a collaborative effort of white filler. The color white was used as base layer to give the following colors a stronger appearance.
Stage Three: Experience
With a combined total of 40 years experience between both artists, it’s safe to say these guys were more than capable to handle the task at hand. Chicago is home to dozens of extremely talented street artists, but that level of talent decreases with multi-story murals. That’s why many of the largest murals in the Chicagoland area were created by artists from other cities. On top of that, most large scale public art displays don’t focus heavily on details. Just the overall image.
With Chicago native, Rawooh having creative control of the project he was not about to let one detail slide. That’s why he chose to spend nearly a month working on the 4-story mural. During the entire month of September, we witnessed him re-evaluate and critique his own work. All while keeping a humble mentality working his day job, with new found success.
This wasn’t a time for outsiders to come in & strut their stuff. This was a time for Chicago to show how talented its residents really are. We feel he did the city justice. We can only hope that downtown businesses realize that you don’t need to rely on outside sources for public art. The talent is here… and it’s growing.
– A.R. Staff
To see the complete mural in full detail and to learn more on the meaning behind the piece, check out the youtube vid of the project and be sure to read the description.