Does this look like Urlacher to you? Chicago intersections inspire abstract art
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Ewing, 95th and Avenue L: a linebacker about to make a tackle.
Archer, Cermak and Princeton: a squashed lizard.
Clark, Ridge and Thorndale: pairs figure skaters.
Chicago’s intersections become an Rorschach ink-blot test of sorts when you strip them down, add a little color and put them on a wall.
It’s an enterprise Seattle native Peter Gorman stumbled into after completing a yearlong, 11,000-mile bike ride around the country — including a stint in Chicago — that changed the way he looked at roads that crisscross in unusual ways.
Gorman, 31, posted the “Intersections of Chicago” to his online shop on Etsy.com on Feb. 19.
He began selling intersection art in August and the series has grown to include designs from Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and San Francisco. Chicago was added after Gorman fielded a number of online requests.
His experience biking in Chicago influenced the intersections he chose. Others he singled out for their notoriety and disrepute.
Gorman recently quit a job with a nonprofit to focus on being an entrepreneur. His apartment in Seattle is choked with shipping tubes.
The nascent startup is reminiscent of the business Chris Devane started in 1992 — Big Stick Maps — to produce an iconic series of colorful Chicago neighborhood maps.
Devane was at a tavern in Beverly — the End Zone, 10034 S. Western — in 1991 when a friend posed a trivia challenge: name every neighborhood in Chicago. He drew inspiration from the accompanying bet: another round of beers.
He may not have been able to name all 237 neighborhoods that are on his map, but the seed was planted.
The next day Devane began researching the project and has since sold more than 50,000 maps — with about half sent to nostalgic Chicagoans with out-of-state addresses, said Devane, 58.
He recalled of that fateful night: “We were both very unpopular with women so we would delve into the trivia fairly quickly.”