LINCOLN PARK — The Bears are coming out of hibernation for the start of football season, and fans can find them not just on TV and Soldier Field, but on walls across Chicago.
The Bears are having a handful of wall murals done to open the season, executed by local street artists. Sick Fisher is doing one on the side of the Wild Hare, 2610 N. Halsted St.
Fisher called it "my version of kind of a Chicago Bears brunch" as he was putting the finishing touches on it Friday following a week's work on the project.
The mural shows a gruff-looking, Ditka-like bear at the painted side door behind a sign reading, "Wait to be seated," and a number of bears and bear families in line to get in — befitting preparations for the Bears' usual noon games, as with their season opener Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
Sara Dulkin, owner of the Chicago Truborn gallery, 1741 W. Chicago Ave., which was commissioned by the Bears to put the murals together, said the idea was to make the works "interactive," so fans could blend into the work.
"The pieces aren't really complete," she said, until fans are in front of them shooting selfies and the like.
The Bears touted the project on their Twitter feed.
There's another just completed in Lincoln Square, on the wall of Roots Pizza, 2200 W. Lawrence Ave., executed by Amuse 126. The Bears tweeted that one out as well.
According to Dulkin, the Bears are paying for four to be done to celebrate the start of the NFL season, with two others set for next week: one in Lincoln Park near the Apple Store at Halsted and North Avenue, and another in the South Loop. Chicago Truborn found the walls, with permission from the owners of course, and assigned the artists.
"Finding a wall is its own art form, and this is what they found," Fisher said.
He paid homage to the Wild Hare reggae club inside by putting a "rasta bear" in line.
That's typical of his whimsy, as he recently painted a cross-section of the operations at the Horween Leather Company on the back of its factory at Elston and Armitage avenues as part of another mural project.
Fisher is an artist with a number of sidelines, who just sort of found his way into street murals.
"It all started with painting in general, and the paintings got bigger," he said. "As the resume got bigger, I just started doing it more. I do lots of things; one of them is murals."
The Bears project, he said, sold itself.
"It's important to find a balance between [people] paying what you think you deserve and having creative freedom," Fisher added. "Obviously, you can't do that all the time. But when the Bears ask you to do something for them, [then] the next person who calls you up, you get to think about it."
Dulkin, whose Chicago Truborn gallery celebrates its fourth anniversary this weekend, said the project could continue and be expanded if the Bears are pleased with the results from the first four street murals.