Chicago murals: Mural Mafia brings its graffiti-oriented bid for public art to Chicago


For the Mural Mafia, a traveling group of muralists, a “piece” is not a weapon. It is an abbreviation for an artistic masterpiece.

During recent visits to Chicago, members of the group created a series of works, including one, titled “Home” and ended last summer on 16th Street and Ashland Avenue, showing Mother Earth holding a globe to send a message about environmental sustainability.

Another mural, called “Power to the People,” completed last summer near Grand and Chicago avenues, shows images of five racing skills figures: Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, pastor Martin Luther King Jr., Angela Davis and Nelson Mandela.

The work of Mural Mafia

Mural Mafia’s work “Power to the People”, on Grand and Chicago Avenue, contains images of five people who fought for racial justice: (from left) Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Pastor Martin Luther King Jr., Angela Davis and Nelson Mandela .
Provided

“We are trying to send out positive messages about hope, love and equality,” said the Mural Mafia member who is leaving Menace.

Some of the group’s other works are just for fun. Like the 600-block mural on West Grand Avenue that includes photos of singers Jennifer Hudson and Aretha Franklin, also completed last summer.

Singer Jennifer Hudson in a 600-block mural of West Grand Avenue by the graffiti art team known as the Mural Mafia.

Singer Jennifer Hudson in a 600-block mural of West Grand Avenue by the graffiti art team known as the Mural Mafia.
Provided

The group made another mural on a railroad viaduct along Hubbard Street on Aberdeen Street, in a stretch that includes dozens of murals, some dating to the 1970s. This creation of Mural Mafia, performed in December, features an underwater scene showing the styles of Mural Mafia artists Menace, Resa and LindsayLoves and another muralist who follows Task 2, who has worked with the group in Chicago. Each train on a different part of the wall.

Mural Mafia made this an underwater-themed mural on Hubbard Street on Aberdeen Street.  Among the artists working on it were (from left) Task 2, Menace, Resa and LindsayLoves.

Mural Mafia made this an underwater-themed mural on Hubbard Street on Aberdeen Street. Among the artists working on it were (from left) Task 2, Menace, Resa and LindsayLoves.
Amelia Ickes / Sun-Times

Menace and Resa started with graffiti art in New York before moving to Los Angeles, LindsayLoves is from Chicago, where she says the graffiti scene is more community-oriented than it is in other cities where the group has worked.

Mural Mafia aims to have murals in all states.

“We want to be a community service for the people of every state or small town we go to,” says Resa. “The first thing all American schools cut from their funding is art education, but we think it’s so crucial to children’s development.”

Click on the map below to see a selection of murals in the Chicago area
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