In anticipation for Bastille Day, Sofitel Hotel decided to celebrate the French Holiday in a big way. They set out to find an artist to encapsulate their 50+ year old brand. It's important that the artwork would be a good representation of French and Chicago culture fused together as one. This required an artist with a certain aesthetic. One who appreciates French culture, but has some edginess in their work. The hunt for the right artist ended when they discovered Chicago graffiti mastermind Rawooh. For the past 5 years, #Rawooh has been incorporating touches of French culture in his unique style.
We got together with Rawooh and looked through his portfolio of work over the past few years. As we were looking in complete awe through all of the amazing sketch work an image popped up. It looked and felt like a French romance scene. It was submitted for approval and then... Booom!! The hotel staff loved it and a starting point was born.
The sketch was originally created back in March but was never looked at in the form of a large installation... until now.
The next steps were incorporating a French color palette. Then it was time to find a way to really add the Sofitel brand into the mix. Their signature logo became a natural addition. The final step was adding Chicago into the mix. Keep in mind, this is a mural on curved glass. Not just horizontally but vertically too. Just about every mural you've seen in Chicago is on flat concrete, brick, or drywall surface. Never on glass though. To both artists and building owners it has always seemed... just too difficult. Well the time had come to try something new.
There were many factors to consider here and many questions we had in mind. Would spray paint stick to the glass properly?? Would it stick too much that it would be nearly impossible to ever remove. After doing some research, Rawooh decided to use a water based spray paint. It became the perfect blend of strength, but not too overpowering.
This was a large project. Two stories of curved glass. That said, the artist reached out for assistance from a trusted source. Someone who he grew up doing graffiti with by the name of Afeks. An artist who Rawooh has successfully collaborated with on past mural projects. For the next 3 days they mapped out and executed Chicago's first all glass hand painted mural. Not printed, not graphically designed, all done by hand. The final result became a beautiful blend of French culture and Chicago spirit with a flair of graffiti.
The mural was titled "MIRIAM". During the creation of the mural, a handful of French tourists staying at the hotel commented on the artwork. "Her name is Miriam" was said on a few occasions. It became an interesting topic. Why were all these older French guests calling this piece "Miriam" ?? We looked into the matter and found that in 1957, a European drama titled... yup you guessed it MIRIAM was created. This was by sheer coincidence, but the cover of the film looks quite similar to the figures portrayed in the mural.