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Around Rogers Park - Pothole Art Comes to Rogers Park

You all probably know the game where someone says a word, and you are asked to respond with the first thing that pops into your mind. If I were to say “pothole,” odds are good that your first reaction would not be “art.” But that’s probably because you are not familiar with artist Jim Bachor and his amazing series of pothole mosaics that have been popping up all around Chicago since 2013.

It took him a while to get to our neck of the woods, but Rogers Park is the latest Chicago neighborhood to house one of Jim’s pothole art eye-catchers. Next time you are at the corner of Glenwood and Estes on the west side of the Red Line, look down. It’s not hard to spot Jim’s detail of the famous Edward Hopper painting, Nighthawks, that hangs in the Art Institute.

I got Jim on the phone this past August to ask him about his work, his life, and how he came to be known for pothole art. Jim is originally from the Detroit area, but has lived in Chicago since 1987. He got his start as a graphic designer for an advertising company, but never lost interest in the fine arts. By 2011, he decided he was ready to take the plunge and leave the lucrative graphic design business behind to become a full-time artist.

At about this same time, Jim discovered he could make good money and create beautiful art by crafting fine art mosaics. A few years later, in an effort to generate a little PR for himself, he decided to fill a Chicago pothole with an original design mosaic and post his creation on his Instagram account. In Jim’s own words, the PR stunt “blew up” and quickly took over his life!

Obviously, you can’t sell someone a mosaic that is ensconced in concrete in what had previously been a pothole. So Jim’s many mosaic pothole creations can truly be described as a labor of love. But the pothole mosaics did generate a lot of traffic to his Instagram account and his website, helping him sell more portable works to a wide range of clients and keeping a steady stream of revenues coming in to sustain his artistic endeavors.

It’s true – you will never be able to buy Nighthawks – either the Art Institute original or the mosaic pothole tribute. But did you know that you can buy an original, limited edition print of the Nighthawks mosaic, or of other pothole creations that Jim has previously done. Of course, Jim’s website also has lots of other original works for purchase. Take a look. You’ll find a full inventory of Jim’s previous pothole works that dot the Chicago landscape, and a lot more besides. And, if your walls are full, maybe you could hire Jim to do something creative with that pothole in front of your building that the city never seems to get around to fixing.




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