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Aerosol helps His Airness return in East Chicago in two new murals

Chicago Sun-Times Murals and Mosaics
Thanks for subscribing to the Murals and Mosaics newsletter from the Chicago Sun-Times! Each week we showcase some of the Chicago area’s most interesting pieces of public art – as well as the stories behind them. Today’s edition was compiled by Sun-Times reporter Robert Herguth. Follow him on Twitter here and on Instagram here. Reach out to murals@suntimes.com with tips and comments.
Good afternoon!

Tough to believe there was ever, during the Michael Jordan era, such “a general lack of excitement about the Bulls” that the team’d decide to play a game in a high school gym in East Chicago, Indiana.
But that’s what happened in 1984, MJ’s rookie season. The first “home” preseason matchup (versus, eh, the Milwaukee Bucks) was held at the now-razed Washington High School.
Of course Jordan dazzled, as he would do for years to come.
He’s been gone a long time now from Chicago, the Bulls and the NBA.
But his likeness is back in East Chicago. Two murals of Jordan were completed by the same artist, Felix “Flex” Maldonado, on the side of two taverns in town not long ago.
(Provided)
(Provided)
The above mural, at 2nd String Quarterback Sports Bar & Grill, 719 W. 151st St., was completed late last year, showing Jordan during his 1988 NBA Dunk Contest-winning performance.
The mural below, at the Euclid Tavern, 3902 Euclid Ave., spotlights the moment in Game Six of the 1998 NBA Finals when a Jordan shot secured the Bulls’ second “three-peat” victory with seconds to go.
(Provided)
(Provided)
That’s Maldonado in the above pic, by the way.
Yes, he used spray paint for these murals, hence the clever headline.
Click here to read much more about the paintings, courtesy of our reporter Josephine Stratman.
BULLISH ARTISTS
There’s a lot more Bulls-themed street art around than the murals mentioned above.
A stretch of murals along 14th Street between Damen and Wolcott avenues has several, including these:
Jorge Nambo-Palmeno did this mural, melding the Bulls logo and Chicago flag.
Jorge Nambo-Palmeno did this mural, melding the Bulls logo and Chicago flag.
Mural by Ali Six was a nod to Michael Jordan, and "Space Jam."
Mural by Ali Six was a nod to Michael Jordan, and "Space Jam."
This Jeff Pak mural is an homage to ex-Bull Derrick Rose, nicknamed "Pooh."
This Jeff Pak mural is an homage to ex-Bull Derrick Rose, nicknamed "Pooh."
MJ in L.A.
Until not long ago, there were murals of Jordan in Los Angeles that’d both been done by the artist Hashim Lafond, who hails from Boston but lives in southern California.
Why MJ?
“I wanted to create a ruckus,” Lafond, 34, confesses.
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(Provided)
Local allegiances in L.A. (and public art) skew more to NBA greats LeBron James and Kobe Bryant (as well as, I’m sure, Magic Johnson). So the artist decided to “start a competition with other street artists.”
He also wanted to make a statement on Jordan. In one mural, MJ is “at the beginning, when he got his first sneaker deal,” Lafond says.
He conveys “so much hope, so much determination.” Also, he’s not just a “superstar,” but also an “entrepreneur.”
“I wanted to capture all that.”
WEST OF THE U.C.
Just beyond where MJ made his career in Chicago, the Westside Justice Center works as a legal-aid clinic.
On an exterior wall, there’s a mural by artist B’Rael Thunder that represents the people of East Garfield Park as a garden.
Titled “Sowing Seeds,” the painting is supposed to represent the circle of life. And hope, and promise.
Check it out below. And click here to read more about the mural.
(Sun-Times)
(Sun-Times)
FINALLY . . .
If you want a copy of our two-year murals/mosaics anniversary magazine, click here, copies are just $4.99 apiece.
Got a mural or other piece of public art you’d like us to look into? Send an email to murals@suntimes.com and we’ll check it out.
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Have a great day, and a great weekend.
Robert Herguth, Sun-Times
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Robert Herguth

A weekly look at the murals, mosaics and public art in Chicago's neighborhoods, and the stories behind them.

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