One Chicago driver got a little too excited about Jim Bachor’s recent tribute to one of humanity’s preferred coping mechanisms. In a COVID-19 themed series, the Chicago-based artist (previously) installed four mosaic potholes on the city’s northeast side, except an anxious motorist drove over the can of Old Style before it was dry. Despite its partial damage, the rest of the cemented works feature the newly iconic roll of toilet paper and bottle of hand sanitizer. A red star from Chicago’s flag fills the fourth as a nod to the local community.
Bachor tells Colossal that since he began his public projects in 2013, he’s realized that the blacktop holes are quite unifying. “Everyone hates potholes—rich, poor, young, old, tall, young. (It) doesn’t matter.” Despite his proactive measures to fix the clunky holes in cities like New York, Detroit, and Los Angeles, Bachor calls them an “unsolvable problem…. I actually have empathy for (the) city government. It’s a no-win situation. Folks assume my work is a bit of a political statement about getting on the city to fix them but it really isn’t.” This is Bachor’s first installation completed on a single street.
The tiled pieces currently make up a small portion of the artist’s overall creative work, although he has plans for additional series and appreciates that their accessibility. “The pothole art campaign also keeps me connected with people that like my work but might not be able to afford an original or print. And like a billboard, they work 24/7,” he says. Bachor also notes that there’s a connection between affluent neighborhoods and well-kept roads. “I’ve had funny concepts for nicer parts of the city but found it impossible to find potholes to do them,” the artist writes.
You can find more of Bachor’s civically-minded work on Instagram, and check out the prints and wearables available in his shop. You might also like these humorous “Coronavirus Tourism” posters and a game of Pandemic Lotería. (via Block Club Chicago)
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Jim Bachor (previously) has been filling potholes with mosaics in Chicago and beyond for the last five years, combining his art practice with public service to create popsicles, flowers, and the Chicago city flag. The cheeky creations are one part beautification, one part nudge to city infrastructure, and are meant to exist in situ as both solution and artwork.
Bachor just returned from a trip to New York City where he installed five new mosaics as a part of his series Vermin of New York. All of the pieces—a dead rat, pigeon, cockroach, portrait of Donald Trump, and a bouquet of flowers—were installed in Brooklyn or Manhattan. “A lot of my work is pretty upbeat, so I try and be a little unpredictable to keep people of balance—hence the vermin,” Bachor tells Colossal.
Just days after installation his cockroach, portrait of Donald Trump, and bouquet were removed by the transportation department, something that has never happened to previous 67 installs. You can see the works that have managed to stay in the ground on his Instagram.
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For the third year in a row, Chicago artist Jim Bachor (previously) has taken it upon himself to preemptively fix city potholes by filling them with themed mosaics. This year Bachor decided on a series of 10 pothole mosaics called Treats in the Streets featuring different kinds of ice cream. At the latest count, four artworks have appeared in locations around Chicago, and he traveled all the way to Jyväskylä, Finland last week to do three more mosaics including a local popsicle-like dessert called Amppari-mehujaa. Bachor says to keep an eye out for three more pieces back home in Chicago sometime before spring is out.
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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)
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