LINCOLN SQUARE — It’s been a summer like no other, and for many that means being stuck at home instead of at the beach, pool or backyard barbecues.
To bring some cheer to bummed-out neighbors, a Jefferson Park artist is painting flowers on area garages and fences to brighten things up a bit.
About five years ago, Frankie Zela started collecting old windows, using them as canvases to paint flowers.
Zela would try to visit as many street festivals as possible to sell them.
“But I only did it for one season because I work in the bar and restaurant business and it was hard to make time for some of the festivals,” said Zela, who is the general manager at O’Donovan’s, 2100 W. Irving Park Road.
O’Donovan’s owners let Zela display her art at the restaurant and soon she was selling her work by word of mouth.
With service at O’Donovan’s limited during the pandemic, Zela has had more time to paint — but after requests from neighbors her canvases grown to include garages in Lincoln Square, Jefferson Park and Edgebrook.
The owner of Gale Street Inn, 4914 N. Milwaukee Ave., asked Zela to paint his home after hearing about her murals, she said.
“I did the first garage mural for a friend about a month ago. And then people just kept on calling me asking me to do it for them, too,” Zela said. “I later found out my friends had been posting about my art on all these different neighborhood Facebook pages.”
Zela’s latest mural was done this week, featuring a yellow sunflower on a sky blue background on a garage door in the 5100 block of Claremont Avenue.
The starting rate for a standard 7-foot garage door is about $300 for a sunflower or daisy, Zela said. A larger canvas or detailed painting will cost more.
Zela said she isn’t limited to garage doors. Before the pandemic she also decorated fences, driveways and other things.
“I think people keep reaching out because they’re at home and want positive vibes and my murals are pretty bright and cheerful,” she said. “It’s something people need in their atmosphere right now because they’re sitting around at home in their yard and can’t really go out.”
For more information about Zela’s art and to contact her, go to her Facebook page.
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