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'Float' Mural by Noah MacMillan a 'Surreal Parade' on Century Building

 Noah MacMillan's new mural, "Float."
'Float' On State Street
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THE LOOP — Creating a mural on a building's facade used to be an labor-intensive and time-consuming task, but the latest addition to the Loop's artscape hit Chicago with the click of a "print" button.

Graphic artist and illustrator Noah MacMillan's work usually adorns T-shirts, posters and magazine pages, but his latest effort, "Float," now resides at 202 S. State St.

When the Chicago Loop Alliance approached him to create a 500-square-foot mural for the Century Building, the St. Louis-based artist says he was "blown away" by the opportunity to create art for Chicago — and by how easy the whole process was.

The colorful, underwater-themed piece he describes as "a surreal parade of aquatic animals" was "actually all created digitally," MacMillan said.

"I drew the scene out in India ink, in black and white, and then scanned it into a computer, and used Adobe Illustrator to turn it into a full-color vector illustration. That was then blown up and broken down into 10 panels...[that] were printed out separately and put up next to each other. It was surprisingly painless."

The 10-panel scene was installed last week and finished ahead of schedule, MacMillan said. The finished project, which took a few days to install, incorporates iconic Chicago buildings and art, including the city's Picasso and Calder sculptures, intermingled with "aquatic animals floating through a coral reef of Chicago."

Loop alliance curator Tristan Hummel, who chose MacMillan for the project, says the artist's task was to depict the relationship between people and city government, and he did so "brilliant[ly]."

"A parade is a city alive, intrinsically tied to order and governance yet strangely unfettered by that container," Hummel said in a statement. "This relationship between the city and creativity posed the perfect symbol."