May 18, 2020
Embedded in former potholes, the artwork both glams up the streets and repairs a dangerous problem. If you are in Chicago, you can see the street art on Gunnison Street, just west of Broadway: The images include a roll of toilet paper, a bottle of Purell and a can of Old Style, each with a halo. Plus a red star from the Chicago flag.
Free spirit Jim Bachor, age 56, is known for works that have filled Chicago’s famously cratered pavements with everything from pictures of cats to “LIAR” spelled out on Wabash Avenue outside of Trump Tower.
Speaking from his hometown of Detroit, where he traveled recently to help his parents during the COVID-19 crisis Bachor told the Tribune that he installed the new mosaics last week and wanted to do something in response to the pandemic. A friend tipped him to the four potholes all together, a chance at a quartet too good to pass up.
“This is a really weird time,” he told the news outlet. “Of course, potholes are universally hated, and with the coronavirus affecting everyone, I thought, what can everyone relate to?”
Toilet paper seemed a natural choice. This is not necessarily a time to be funny, he said, “but there is some humor there, this human nature of hoarding. Toilet paper? It’s like, ‘What?’ It’s not like the virus attacks your digestive system. Then there’s our alcohol consumption—and Old Style is Chicago’s beer.”
There’s real gold in the images—gold foil, Bachor said. “Maybe $30 worth in each piece.” The Old Style image got damaged by a truck tire rolling over it before it was fully set and dried, across his cones, but he can’t really complain about how his street art is treated. “I’m not really supposed to be out there.”
He was attracted to the permanence of the art form more than anything else: “I could possibly do a work of art that would still be around in a thousand years. It probably won’t, but it could.”
Research contact: @chicagotribune