Among graffiti nerds, Chicago’s not especially known for having a strong can culture for several reasons. Spray can sales were verboten in city limits way back in the 80s, which in the days before online shopping, meant a 2+ hour trip (less if you can snag a car) to the suburbs to procure it. Further, the fines and penalties are still so steep that most are deterred. And the city has on several occasions swooped in and buffed out commissioned graffiti murals on private property. Not exactly a positive environment for this particular type of expression.
So it’s a promising sign that there’s an obvious uptick over the last few years in street art in general here. Brand new and brilliant work from Belgian street artist ROA went up just days ago in two locations, thanks to Pawn Works & the Hedrich Blessing Photographers. Having seen the rams first hand (Kinzie & Peoria for you locals) they are a massive sight to behold. Pushing 90 feet long, the piece fills the entire building’s wall. And all spray can too. Hot damn.
By far the best part of ROA’s animal subjects is how they are tucked in the architecture, almost caught in a moment. Seeing one feels just like that moment when you happen to spy an interesting animal in its natural habitat. They are the urban replica of the real thing. Very happy to have these marvelous beings, I hope they stick around for awhile.