Robotic birds, magical frogs, cartoon kid join a growing group of murals in the West Loop
The mural at Lake and Peoria streets is the work of five Chicago artists.
Chicago’s murals & mosaics
Part of a series on public art in the city and suburbs. More murals are added every week.
It’s been up since October, part of a growing collection of public art in the West Loop — with the B_Line Project’s Hubbard Street art gallery blocks away and more than 15 murals within a quarter-mile radius.
The mural features a blue bird with droopy eyes making a peace sign flanked by purple-and-blue-striped rabbits and a smiling boy with a gold tooth wearing a teal mechanical suit.
There also are robotic blue birds, accentuated with gold pipes. And then there’s a purple-and-green frog gripping a staff.
The mural is one of seven produced for Titan Walls, started in 2019 by Muros, a Chicago “art activation” agency that connects artists with businesses, according to Muros co-founder Mateo Conner, 28.
Each section of the mural offers a take on the signature characters of the artist quintet behind the piece.
Blake Jones, who painted the rabbits and orange figure, was contacted by Conner and rounded up the rest of artists. The group had worked together for more than a year, says Chris “Killabunzz” Orta, another of the artists.
Orta, 28, painted the robotic blue birds and gold pipes. He says that fusing the natural with the mechanical to convey “the way machines and people work” is his “overall formula.”
He’s been doing art since he was 15, starting with airbrushing. Beside murals, he works at a Logan Square tattoo parlor with mural collaborator Jose Quezada.
Quezada, 29, who goes by Oinkz, painted the frog. He’s big on animals in his art.
He also started out with airbrushing, then tattooing and picked up spray-painting to “do it randomly, as a time to hang out and do what we do.”
The smiling boy in the “mecha-suit” is a variation on “Kid Red” — the signature character of Avondale-raised artist Reddor Santiago.
Santiago, 27, says “Kid Red” is “kind of a self-portrait” incorporating elements of his childhood, like his love of anime — into the art style.
He wanted to be an artist since he was 8, admiring the tattoo magazines he’d see at a neighborhood pharmacy.
After time in nursing school and art school and working for a cellphone company, he splits his time between public art and a tattoo apprenticeship in Albany Park.
The plump, light-blue bird sporting the peace-sign is the mainstay of the 30-year-old Pilsen artist who goes by the name bird_milk_ and says he’s completed more than 30 murals in the past year, most featuring the character he’s been drawing since 2017.
“It’s great to see a character I created that size on a wall,” bird_milk_ says. “It reminds me of the friendship I created with the guys I painted it with.”