Chicago Sun-Times (Sunday)
Mixing it up
For Milwaukee Avenue mural, here’s what you get when 2 artists meld different styles
Artists Matt Dean and Thomas Turner hadn’t even met before they worked together in August to create the eye-catching mural that now covers 2,500 square feet of a wall of South Side Control Supply Co., 488 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Dean, who is from Atlanta and works under the name Kiptoe, and Turner, who’s from Los Angeles, had been invited to be part of Chicago’s third Titan Walls festival, which brought in and set loose 14 artists over five days.
They were told: You can each get half of the wall, or you can work together on the whole thing. Together, they said.
“Most of the time, we’re painting by ourselves, and it’s super-lonely and can get really frustrating and exhausting,” Dean, 30, says of mural work. “But when there’s someone there to go through it with you, and they’re painting also, and you can vibe off each other, it just makes it so much more fun.”
Turner started sketching. Dean came up with a sketch he’d previously done for a project that fell through. They started figuring out ways to bridge the two parts.
The result: two different styles — one featuring a photo-realistic cow and butterfly, the other depicting animals in a more animated fashion — melded into one piece on the wall at the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning supply business.
“It was cool to work with him,” says Turner, 34.
He says each artist worked in his own style, “but then we figured out a way to blend together in the middle. Some of the best collaborations come when you have two artists who have completely different styles.”
Turner captured the movement of the hairs on a bull and added a moon — a staple of his work — in the center of the wall.
Dean, a comic-book lover, made a lion his centerpiece — it’s a staple for him, he says, being a Leo — and also included a cardinal and a monarch butterfly’s wing pattern.
Dean says he loved being with the other artists who were part of the festival, that they all were “geeking out” over one another’s work.
“When I get to hang out with other people doing the same thing, it really makes it feel like a community,” he says.