Artist begins work painting mural in downtown Mundelein
An Italian artist has begun painting a publicly commissioned mural on the side of a building in downtown Mundelein.
Muralist Giuseppe Percivati, who works under the name Pepe Gaka, is painting the piece on the east side of the Area General Store, 18 E. Park St. It will feature the town's name, and each letter will include images depicting a landmark or characteristic of Mundelein.
Diamond Lake Beach, the logos for Mundelein High School and Carmel Catholic High School, the Community Days parade and the University of St. Mary of the Lake are among the planned design elements.
The technique of painting designs within the letters of a word has been around since the early 20th century, Percivati said.
"(It's) a nice way to have something artistic and have something connected to the community," he said.
Percivati said he prefers this type of approach to depicting a single landmark or location.
"You still have those landmarks, but you can put more than one all together," he said.
Percivati started by priming the roughly 12-foot high by 66-foot wide brick wall with white paint. Although painting the design directly onto the brick was possible, primer will help preserve the image, he said.
Next, Percivati sketched a rough version of the mural in pencil on the wall. Now that he's painting, he'll do the background first, then the letters and the images they contain one at a time.
Although Percivati researched Mundelein for the job, village leaders helped him come up with the subjects for the mural.
"I'm not from Mundelein, so you know better than me," he said.
The project was launched by the Mundelein Arts Commission, an official group that promotes cultural, visual and performance art in town.
The wall space was donated by Nora Bellido Arroyo and Paul Arroyo, owners of the building and the nearby Park Street Restaurant.
When village officials approached the couple about using the space, they were excited to participate.
"We believe that culture is really important to society, in any town," Bellido Arroyo said. "The wall is just perfect for a mural like this. It's big, clean and has a perfect view."
Percivati expects to finish by the end of next week. He will be paid $9,500 for his work.
The entire project, including equipment rentals and village fees, will cost taxpayers less than $12,000, officials said.
Colleen Malec, an associate village planner and village hall's liaison to the arts commission, would like this to be the first of many murals in Mundelein.