A mural on an outdoor wall at the Une Année Hubbard’s Cave brewery in Niles that ws painted this summer by Dutch artist Collin van der Sluijs and Chicago artist Joseph Renda Jr.

Dutch artist Collin van der Sluijs and Chicago artist Joseph Renda Jr. painted this mural on an outdoor wall at the Une Année Hubbard’s Cave brewery in Niles.

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Bird in Niles mural is helping flowers ‘break free,’ artist says

Chicago artist Joseph Renda Jr. and Dutch artist Collin van der Sluijs created the mural this summer at the Une Année Hubbard’s Cave craft brewery in the north suburb.

A new mural in Niles seems to capture a mess in the making.

A fluttering bird tips a vase of wild flowers and other plants. They catapult forth, along with shards from the shattering container.

But the painting — done this summer by Dutch artist Collin van der Sluijs and Chicago artist Joseph Renda Jr. — isn’t about disaster.

“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.”

Dutch artist Collin van der Sluijs (left, in sunglasses) and Chicago artist Joseph Renda Jr. during work on the mural Niles this summer.

Dutch artist Collin van der Sluijs (left, in sunglasses) and Chicago artist Joseph Renda Jr. during work on the mural Niles this summer.

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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.

The mural “From Bloom to Doom” at 1006 S. Michigan Ave., as seen in 2019.

The mural “From Bloom to Doom” at 1006 S. Michigan Ave., as seen in 2019.

Rich Hein / Sun-Times

A high-rise development project next door has since obscured that mural.

A new building that’s going up and obstructing the view of the mural “From Bloom to Doom.”

A new building that’s going up and obstructing the view of the mural “From Bloom to Doom.”

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere / Sun-Times

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.

A mural completed this summer at the Riverside Arts Center by Dutch artist Collin van der Sluijs.

A mural completed this summer at the Riverside Arts Center by Dutch artist Collin van der Sluijs.

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“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.”

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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