Artist Travis Talsma used UV-reactive spray paint and layered neon coloring for his piece in the Artiopia exhibition. His work usually can be found on the sides of buildings and CTA viaducts.

Artist Travis Talsma used UV-reactive spray paint and layered neon coloring for his piece in the Artiopia exhibition. His work usually can be found on the sides of buildings and CTA viaducts.

Rylee Tan / Sun-Times

In West Loop, a popup art exhibition featuring murals, other works of art has opened

Artopia featuress the works of several Chicago street artists.

SHARE In West Loop, a popup art exhibition featuring murals, other works of art has opened
SHARE In West Loop, a popup art exhibition featuring murals, other works of art has opened
A short walk from the Morgan L stop is another addition to the flourishing art scene in Chicago’s West Loop.

It’s a new, popup gallery, called Artopia: The Immersive Art Experience, 401 N. Morgan St., that includes murals by Chicago street artists and other works spread through a 32,000-square-foot warehouse.

Chicago’s murals and mosaics sidebar

Chicago’s murals & mosaics


Part of a series on public art in the city and suburbs. More murals are added every week.

Unlike actual street art, you have to pay for admission here, $30 for kids and $40 for adults. Masks are required. A self-guided tour is about an hour long.

One mural, by Travis Talsma — who goes by T.R.A.V.I.S.T.Y. — is part of a section of the exhibition featuring a neon-glowing mushroom forest and a crashed alien spaceship.

“The whole process is to play with your imagination,” says Talsma, 29, whose work usually can be found on the sides of buildings and CTA viaducts. “It’s kind of like a haunted house.”

This mural by Keith Smith, who goes by Afrokilla, features an elephant-like creature surrounded by clouds. It’s one of several murals that make up the Artopia popup exhibition in the West Loop.

This mural by Keith Smith, who goes by Afrokilla, features an elephant-like creature surrounded by clouds. It’s one of several murals that make up the Artopia popup exhibition in the West Loop.

Rylee Tan / Sun-Times

The murals in the show were painted on large plywood panels to create a sort of maze to walk through.

Another work, by Brian Keller, who goes by BRAIN KILLER, features a seven-eyed, purple “alien and demon-like” creature.

Brian Keller (left) with his son and helper Bryson (right) in front of the mural Keller created for Artopia, titled “Cosmic Soul Crusher.”

Brian Keller (left) with his son and helper Bryson (right) in front of the mural Keller created for Artopia, titled “Cosmic Soul Crusher.”

Provided

Keller, who got some help from his son Bryson, 14, was brought in by John Schroeder, the art director for the exhibition, which opened April 16. More than 6,000 tickets were quickly sold, selling out the first three dates, according to Schroeder.

John Schroeder, 30, co-creator of the Artopia popup exhibition.

John Schroeder, 30, co-creator of the Artopia popup exhibition.

Rylee Tan / Sun-Times

Schroeder, 30, an artist himself, says he came up with the idea as a “haven for creativity” for a Chicago art community hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of us were still stagnant, idle for so long,” he says.

In addition to murals and sculpture, Artopia features responsive-light exhibits in which the colors and patterns change around you.

In addition to murals and sculpture, Artopia features responsive-light exhibits in which the colors and patterns change around you.

Rylee Tan / Sun-Times

Megan Kind, another artist featured in the exhibition, created a mural in her signature style — figures with no mouth or nose.

A closeup of the mural by Humboldt Park artist Megan Kind that’s part of Artopia.

A closeup of the mural by Humboldt Park artist Megan Kind that’s part of Artopia.

Provided

“I always focused on emotion portrayed through the eyes,” Kind says. “The nose and mouth can be a distraction from what’s really happening.”

Kind’s “psychedelic” piece features a gray, long-haired figure staring into the distance.

Schroeder says he hopes to keep the exhibition going till at least June, adding more art along the way.

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

The Latest
One of the wounded, a 32-year-old man, was driving down the street when he was struck by gunfire, police said.
The 34-year-old was crossing the street just before 8:30 p.m. in the 2900 block of West Columbus Avenue when she was struck by a black SUV.
“That’s where you build fandom, grow revenue, and that’s where all the players will benefit versus adding a roster spot here and there.”
Reflecting on one of the most iconic photos of his presidency, former President Obama said, “I think this picture embodied one of the hopes that I had when I first started running for office.”