In Elgin mural, CJ Hungerman is OK if you think he was painting the coronavirus
The Geneva artist says the work at the Hemmens Culural Center is ‘based on a painting I did in 2018. It does kind of mimic the coronavirus.’
Chicago’s murals & mosaics
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Well, sure it veers a bit from that, with coils streaming from holes in the object, beams of light and what looks like it could be brain matter.
The artist painted the mural — which is 70 feet across and more than 20 feet high — early last fall on a wall in the plaza outside the performing arts center that’s across from Elgin’s City Hall.
Hungerman, 51, says, “It’s based on a painting I did in 2018. It does kind of mimic the coronavirus.”
While Hungerman, who lives in Geneva, was painting the mural, he says the COVID-19 connection clicked with some passersby, “who asked the same thing. It’s just serendipity that it kind of matched up with what was going on society-wise, with the coronavirus and all its underlying themes.”
Hungerman says the painting is about communication and in particular “positive communication.”
As he wrote in a summary of the mural, the “vessel-colored shapes abstractly represent the diversity of people residing in the Elgin community. They are harmoniously grouped together with lines of communication coming out of several of the vessels. The cords flowing out of these holes represent the interactivity of people exchanging ideas, and they are a throwback to the old land lines on phones.”
Hungerman says the painting also is “about sound, an abstract vision of sound” and “composition” — tying it in to the cultural center, which hosts plays and concerts.
The mural cost $12,000, funded through the city of Elgin.
Hungerman says he’s a full-time artist and has done more than 20 public murals in recent years, including one at the Chicago Public Library branch in Chinatown in 2015.