IRVING PARK — Drivers on Irving Park Road near Elston Avenue may have noticed a new mural — and lots of familiar Chicago faces — on one of the buildings at the intersection.
The artwork was commissioned by the owner of AAA Coin, 3625 W. Irving Park Rd., an appraiser and dealer that specializes in antiques, collectibles, watches, musical instruments, rare metals and stones.
“It’s a good conversation starter for the neighborhood and people stop to take a look at it,” Jim McBlaine, an employee at AAA. “It’s adding something to the intersection. It gives an area character, and I think it’s cool.”
McBlaine was across the street eating at the Alps Pancake House after AAA had moved into the corner building and says he was thinking of how to replace the cell phone store advertising of the storefronts previous occupant. He told his boss about his idea soon after the business reached out to artist Ellen Lustig.
The art wraps around the building and is a partial recreation of Edward Hopper’s 1942 painting “Nighthawks,” which features anonymous people sitting at diner on New York’s Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet.
However the version of the artwork in Irving Park by Lustig features notable Chicagoans like Ernie Banks, Walter Payton, Harry Caray and Al Capone alongside Hollywood icons like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and James Dean.
“So the owners wanted 12 specific people in this mural and they wanted it to cover the entire building,” Lustig said. “And we discussed the process of printing on vinyl, which is used on the city buses and their windows, so you can still see through the windows from the inside of the building.”
Fabian Sanchez and his father Hector Sanchez, finished installing the mural on Sept. 6
“Ellen put this together but we did all the printing and installation,” said Fabian Sanchez, from Sanchez Graphics, Inc. He and his father, Hector Sanchez, finished installing the mural on Sept. 6.
“And we’ve seen people asking about it, which is what the owner wanted. Make this corner of Chicago beautiful,” he said.
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