Part of a series of murals along a CTA Orange Line retaining wall that spotlights video game and comic book characters. The image at left, painted by the artist Rawooh, shows “Angela,” who originated in the Spawn comic book series. The gamer image in the middle was done by Viril the Mouse. Many Super Mario Bros. images at right were done by members of the CAB crew of graffiti artists.

Part of a series of murals along a CTA Orange Line retaining wall that spotlights video game and comic book characters. The image at left, painted by the artist Rawooh, shows “Angela,” who originated in the Spawn comic book series. The gamer image in the middle was done by Viril the Mouse. Many Super Mario Bros. images at right were done by members of the CAB crew of graffiti artists.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

Donkey Kong, Mario, Spawn make South Side stretch of murals a retro video game, comic book celebration

Chicago artists “Peas” and “Doer” organized a three-day “paint jam” this summer that drew dozens of graffiti and street artists to a retaining wall along 49th Street where they recreated iconic and lesser-known characters.

That’s not just any gorilla painted on an L retaining wall on 49th Street between Oakley Avenue and Western Boulevard.

It’s the iconic video game character Donkey Kong, with a twist.

Humboldt Park artist Megan Kind’s take on the Donkey Kong video game character, with the TV painted by Luis “Peas” Molina.

Humboldt Park artist Megan Kind’s take on the Donkey Kong video game character, with the TV painted by Luis “Peas” Molina.

Provided

“I always try to make my characters a bit more illustrative and updated,” said Humboldt Park artist Megan Kind, who did the painting over the summer. “Almost like they got a bit older with us. I liked the idea of the characters playing the games,” not just being “the pawn in the game.”

Kind said she “grew up on” traditional video games, whether Donkey Kong or Super Mario Bros. or Sonic the Hedgehog — staples for gamers in the 1980s.

Celebrating those types of characters — the fun they represent, their connection to childhood — was the idea behind Kind’s mural and dozens more created along the concrete wall and nearby as part of a three-day “paint jam” in August. Called “64 Bit All Stars,” the jam was organized by Chicago artists Luis “Peas” Molina and “Doer.”

“The retro games really tie into many of our childhood memories,” Molina said, and “64-bit” refers to certain older-generation gaming systems.

Of the graffiti incursions he and other street artists did while younger, he said, “After painting Orange Line spots way into the late hours, being chased by police, dogs or other things that go bump in the night, I always remember getting home with some random fast food, sitting down and immediately jump into” a Nintendo game.

An artist works on the 49th Street retaining wall in August during a three-day “paint jam.”

An artist works on the 49th Street retaining wall in August during a three-day “paint jam.”

Provided

Some of the better-known crews known for splashing graffiti art across the city were invited, as were a number of independent street artists.

Luis “Peas” Molina.

Luis “Peas” Molina.

Provided

“The way I organized it was to have the crews doing the games, and between each game, individual artists as the gamers,” said Molina, who lives in Chicago Ridge, though there were some exceptions, too.

The artist who goes by Doer, shown painting a wall in 2021.

The artist who goes by Doer, shown painting a wall in 2021.

Provided

Doer, who lives in Back of the Yards, said each artist decided which game to tackle and how.

A building at 49th Street and Oakley Avenue features characters from the video fighting games Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. The paintings were done last year.

A building at 49th Street and Oakley Avenue features characters from the video fighting games Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. The paintings were done last year.

Provided

With a building across the street featuring murals of characters from Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter video games, Molina said, “I thought it would be cool to keep the entire area one consistent theme.”

To ready the retaining wall for the artwork, organizers had to cover up other artwork, using more than 40 gallons of black paint.

Inspired by the Spawn comic book and video game series, these paintings were done by artists Enime, Repos and Leks along the CTA Orange Line L at 49th Street and Oakley Avenue.

Inspired by the Spawn comic book and video game series, these paintings were done by artists Enime, Repos and Leks along the CTA Orange Line L at 49th Street and Oakley Avenue.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

Images from the Super Mario Bros. video game franchise. Among the artists: HateK 312, Werm, DTeK, Reps, Avel, Viril the Mouse and Devise.

Images from the Super Mario Bros. video game franchise. Among the artists: HateK 312, Werm, DTeK, Reps, Avel, Viril the Mouse and Devise.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

The character on the left, done by the artist who goes by Clue, is shown sitting on a Nintendo console while holding a gaming controller. The character at right, “Link” from The Legend of Zelda video game, was done by the artist Dmore.

The character on the left, done by the artist who goes by Clue, is shown sitting on a Nintendo console while holding a gaming controller. The character at right, “Link” from The Legend of Zelda video game, was done by the artist Dmore.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

The pink character, a sloth in “Mario gear with a 64 controller,” was done by the artist Bird Milk, who says “my guy definitely looks like he was just beat” by the blue character, done by artist Jeff Pak, in the video game Super Smash Bros. Pak says his main character is “an inside joke between me and someone who broke my heart . . . the ghosts hanging around are Pac-Man inspired.” The moon, by Erwin of the SFA graffiti crew, is from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask game.

The pink character, a sloth in “Mario gear with a 64 controller,” was done by the artist Bird Milk, who says “my guy definitely looks like he was just beat” by the blue character, done by artist Jeff Pak, in the video game Super Smash Bros. Pak says his main character is “an inside joke between me and someone who broke my heart ... the ghosts hanging around are Pac-Man inspired.” The moon, by Erwin of the SFA graffiti crew, is from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask game.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

A character from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask video game, done by the artist Moze 1, whose real name is David A. Rojas.

A character from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask video game, done by the artist Moze 1, whose real name is David A. Rojas.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

Images by the CMW graffiti crew, inspired by the video game Contra. The artist who goes by Yoki did the Rambo-like character and creature to his right.

Images by the CMW graffiti crew, inspired by the video game Contra. The artist who goes by Yoki did the Rambo-like character and creature to his right.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

Images by the CMK graffiti crew, with a nod to the video game Jet Set Radio.

Images by the CMK graffiti crew, with a nod to the video game Jet Set Radio.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

The characters to the right, done by the artist Ali Six, are “based on a video game I first received when I was a kid that came with my Xbox console,” he says. “The game was based on a group of hip hop kids going around different cities and putting graffiti on walls despite the laws and rival crews. It was a nostalgic delight to give ode to such a timeless game” with graphics that “still hold well.”

The characters to the right, done by the artist Ali Six, are “based on a video game I first received when I was a kid that came with my Xbox console,” he says. “The game was based on a group of hip-hop kids going around different cities and putting graffiti on walls despite the laws and rival crews. It was a nostalgic delight to give ode to such a timeless game” with graphics that “still hold well.”

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

The image at left, done by Joey D., is “based on the poisonous mushroom” in the Super Mario Bros. video game, and the character “is playing Super Nintendo,” which was one of the artist’s “favorite gaming systems growing up.” To the right are images from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise done by the CWB graffiti crew.

The image at left, done by Joey D., is “based on the poisonous mushroom” in the Super Mario Bros. video game, and the character “is playing Super Nintendo,” which was one of the artist’s “favorite gaming systems growing up.” To the right are images from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise done by the CWB graffiti crew.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

The hamburger flower character was done by the artist KOZMO. The King Kong-like gorilla to the right, done by the X-Men graffiti crew, was inspired by the Rampage franchise.

The hamburger flower character was done by the artist KOZMO. The King Kong-like gorilla to the right, done by the X-Men graffiti crew, was inspired by the Rampage franchise.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

The image of an L train by the artist Curve, next to art by Emte, done on the Western Boulevard viaduct at 49th Street as part of an August mural event organized by the artists who go by Doer and Peas.

This image of an L train by the artist Curve, next to art by Emte, was painted on the Western Boulevard viaduct at 49th Street as part of an August mural event organized by artists who go by Doer and Peas.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

Murals

Chicago’s murals & mosaics


Part of a series on public art. More murals added every week.

Click on the map below for a selection of Chicago-area murals

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