The Bridgeport artist who goes by ZorZorZor painted this mural in an alley off Harrison Street between Michigan and Wabash avenues.

The Bridgeport artist who goes by ZorZorZor painted this mural in an alley off Harrison Street between Michigan and Wabash avenues.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

Bridgeport artist ZorZorZor’s South Loop alley mural won her a distant fan and a paid commission

Creating art in such out-of-the-way spots feels “more real, more genuine,” she says. A woman in California saw a photo of it and had her do a painting based on the mural.

There’s something about painting a mural in alleys, says the 32-year-old Bridgeport artist who goes by ZorZorZor.

They’re usually not as well traversed as a regular street. And they’re dimly lit, gritty.

Which creates a different kind of vibe that ZorZorZor describes as “more real, more genuine.”

Besides, she likes that, because alleys aren’t usually destination points, spotting a mural in one often is a cause of surprise and delight.

Also, sometimes they last longer in alleys.

Like with a mural that, even though it was completed in 2016, is still there on a wall in an alley off Harrison Street between Michigan and Wabash avenues and still looks pretty good. It features two characters in traditional “highlander” Polish dress, a nod to her family’s roots.

ZorZorZor says the title of the piece translates to: “Highlander, do you not regret?” — “or, as I always heard it, ‘Highlander, aren’t you sad?’ ”

Both of her parents came from a mountainous region of Poland, arriving in the United States in the 1970s and raising her in Clearing, a neighborhood near Midway Airport.

As an artist, ZorZorZor doesn’t use her real name but says it ends with “zor.”

“I have a difficult Polish last name,” she says. “No one could ever say it, so it got shortened” into a nickname.

And that stuck.

She recently recreated part of the alley mural on canvas for a woman in California who wanted to put it on the wall of her home.

The woman apparently spotted the mural in a magazine, liked it and tracked her down, but ZorZorZor says it’s still “a bit of a mystery to me” how it came together.

Artist ZorZorZor in front of a painting she recently completed based on a South Loop mural she created in 2016.

Artist ZorZorZor in front of a painting she recently completed based on a South Loop mural she created in 2016.

Provided

To get the project done, ZorZorZor visited her mural in the alley, “traced it on paper, then retraced it to canvas,” with the new painting about eight feet tall and six feet wide.

She rolled up the finished project and shipped it to the client a few weeks ago.

“The woman in California, she has an interior designer, and the interior designer was trying to convince her not to pick me: ‘We have plenty of artists around here.’ ”

But the client told the designer, “No, I want this. I love this,” ZorZorZor says. “And, for me, that was even more special. It was a real connection.

“That was always my drive, and it still is — having someone finding me naturally, out of nowhere.”

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