NOBLE SQUARE — A giant and mischievous Cheshire cat watching over the street — courtesy of New York City-based street artist Jerkface, known for his imaginative interpretations of pop culture iconography — has brought a burst of color and nostalgia to Milwaukee Avenue in Noble Square.
Work on the mural at Lewis Towers, a vintage apartment building at 1166 N. Milwaukee Ave., kicked off Aug. 31, continued through the Labor Day weekend and wrapped up Friday.
Jasmine Petersen, a Chicago muralist and artist, assisted Jerkface with the mural along the side of the seven-story vintage apartment building, facing southbound traffic on Milwaukee Avenue.
A post shared by Jerkface (@incarceratedjerkfaces) on
David Ruttenberg, a partner with Marc Realty, which owns Lewis Towers and commissioned the mural, said, "Jerkface's work is bright and energetic. The nostalgia factor is always fun, and this composition is memorable to so many age groups. The large scale makes this larger than life and really brightens up this corner of the city."
Ruttenberg said his son Solomon and daughter Sasha have loved seeing the mural being painted over the last few days, watching the ongoing work while camped out in the parking lot next to the building.
"Murals have the power to uplift a city. They bring vibrancy and movement to bleak and mundane spaces. If one can cross color on their way to work, the bus, or just simply on their way through the city — it does something to them. Color affects one's psyche. It alters one's mood and changes their day. Urban art can be used as a powerful tool to enhance life. Art isn't just meant to be for museums, galleries and high classes. Art is for everyone, and should be enjoyed by everyone," Ruttenberg said.
Petersen said the Cheshire cat, inspired by the cat in "Alice in Wonderland," was selected before she and Jerkface knew that there was a veterinary office, Wicker Park Veterinary, on the ground floor of Lewis Towers.
"It worked out really well a vet was here," Petersen said.
Jerkface is one of the most readily identifiable artists in the street art community.
You appreciate them more not only for their amazing work but it's also a bonus when they are super nice, an honor for me @incarceratedjerkfaces @jas_petersen #WIP #jerkface #jas #jasofchicago #muralinprogress #art #exciting #streetartist #nycinchicago #chicagostreetart #streetart #artiseverywhere #chigraffiti #graffitiart #talent #citylife #cityliving
The mural on Wednesday morning, almost completed. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]