After one of the most brutal winters in over 30 years, Chicago’s streets are pockmarked with an estimated 600,000 gaping potholes, making some streets almost impassable and raising the ire of residents citywide. The issue is so prevalent that the city even created a dedicated Pothole Tracker that shows potholes patched by the Department of Transportation over the last seven days. But some Chicagoans are more proactive and aren’t content to wait for help. One such person is artist Jim Bachor who has taken to filling potholes with original tile mosaics.
Inspired in part by trips to view ancient art in Italy during the 1990’s, Bachor has been creating mosaic work for several years, though of a much more whimsical nature. Think mosaics of coffee cups, twinkies, and boxes of cereal. For his pothole project Bachor has filled about 7 potholes with his original artwork that borrows from the design of the Chicago flag. While some of the mosaics simply read POTHOLE others are given unique ID numbers or include the phone number to nearby auto repair shops (the city has received 1,100 claims of car damage due to potholes this season). Bachor says the tongue-in-cheek approach is meant more as a sense of civic pride than a form of complaint against the city, as the potholes are an inevitable part of living in Chicago.
Bachor hopes to do a few more pieces in the near future, though each mosaic costs around $50 to make and takes a considerable amount of time to prepare and install. Also, the resulting patch is temporary; these aren’t meant as a permanent fix. You can read more about the project over on Hyperallergic, and you can see more of Jim’s work at the Thorndale Red Line stop in a few months. (via Hyperallergic)
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, apply for our annual grant, and get exclusive access to interviews, partner discounts, and event tickets.