A fluttering bird tips a vase of wild flowers and other plants. They catapult forth, along with shards from the shattering container.
“The imagery is meant to express breaking free and the beauty that can come from this act,” Renda says.
The bird tips over “the pot, releasing the wild floral contents within,” he says.
“I tackled half of the background — the flower pot, platform and bird,” he says. “Collin created the other half of the background and the floral piece.”
The mural, on an exterior wall of the Une Année Hubbard’s Cave craft brewery, is roughly 20 feet high and 75 feet long. It provides a colorful backdrop to a beer garden and was completed over six days using fewer than a dozen spray cans and a gallon or so of acrylic.
“We haven’t talked about a title, but I think ‘Break Free’ could be a good one,” Renda says.
He says the idea for the mural came from an art show he’d been involved in “where I created paintings of 10 different flower pots in my style, then handed them off to nine different artists to create what grew from the pots. Collin was one of the artists I collaborated with in the show.”
With Renda assisting, van der Sluijs also created a five- to six-story mural in 2016 at 1006 S. Michigan Ave. One of the largest and most recognizable murals in the South Loop, it’s titled “From Bloom to Doom” and features images of two types of birds whose numbers have plummeted in the Chicago area: the yellow-headed blackbird and the redheaded woodpecker.
A high-rise development project next door has since obscured that mural.
Van der Sluijs painted another mural this summer outside at the Riverside Arts Center, 32 E. Quincy St. in Riverside, that also includes a woodpecker.
“I just had to paint a new woodpecker because the other one will soon be gone,” says van der Sluijs, who did both new murals while in Chicago for an art show at Chicago’s Vertical Gallery.
He says the bird in the Riverside mural is “looking to the right — symbolic for looking into the future.”
Chicago’s murals & mosaics
Part of a series on public art. More murals added every week.