By Brendan O & # 39; Brien
CHICAGO (Reuters) – The COVID-19 pandemic has been a bumpy road for many Chicagoans, but they thank mosaic artist Jim Bachor for paving the way for some unexpected smiles, with four additions to his "hole art" series installed in the city North side.
Along a side street near the iconic Green Mill jazz club in the Uptown neighborhood, Bachor created four glass and marble mosaics inside small craters on the sidewalk.
The colorful creations, which shine in the sunlight, refer to symbols of the city's experience with the pandemic. There are mosaics depicting an Old Style beer can, one of Chicago's classic brands; a roll of toilet paper and a bottle of hand sanitizer; and a red star from the Chicago flag, in honor of a city that recorded 1,830 coronavirus-related deaths.
"It's a bit of an unexpected joy … an unexpected smile," he said. "He's finding a bit of humor in moments that aren't funny and go down to the ribs of us humans and the ridiculous things that happen."
Chicagoans are too familiar with the holes, and Bachor has placed tile mosaics on them since 2013, after a particularly stubborn crater in front of his Northwest Side home inspired him.
"Everyone can identify with holes. It doesn't matter if you are rich, poor, young or old … everyone hates you," he said.
He installed the 0.61 m pandemic mosaics three weeks ago, following the same process used in the other 85 that he completed across the city. Some of his other works depict everyday objects like an ice cream cone, in addition to natural objects, such as small animals and flowers.
First, Bachor spent eight to 10 hours completing the artwork in his studio. He then transported water, concrete and mosaics to the four holes, where he spent about two hours installing them. He returned the next day to complete the installation.
"We live in this strange and unprecedented time and I started to think about what everyone can relate to," he said. "It was a perfect subject to talk to as many people as possible."
(Reporting by Brendan O & # 39; Brien in Chicago)