Artist Fills Chicago Potholes With Covid-19 Essentials

Coronavirus-related pothole art by Jim Bachor in Uptown, Chicago
Coronavirus-related pothole art by Jim Bachor in Uptown, Chicago
Coronavirus-related pothole art by Jim Bachor in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago – Photos: Jim Bachor

The history of art features countless examples of painters, sculptors, and technicians, chronicling the minutiae of devastating periods in time, oftentimes using ebullient and joyful colors and materials to distract and entertain audiences. One guerrilla mosaic artist continues this tradition, and he brings his signature artistic style to the bumpy streets of Chicago.

It shouldn’t take many of us long to recall the great toilet paper shortage of March/April 2020 in the USA, the aftershocks of which some might still be experiencing. Or, perhaps more devastating, the almost overnight disappearance of hand sanitizer across the country. These products, once taken for granted, have been repurposed as sacred symbols of the early days of coronavirus, emblazoned in beautiful mosaic tiles, and installed atop recently filled-in potholes along Chicago’s hard-worn blacktops.

pandemic-themed pothole mosaics
The four pandemic-themed pothole mosaics are located in front of Fat Cat on W Gunnison St, Chicago – Photo: Jim Bachor

The latest work of Chicago-based artist Jim Bachor (these four humorous standalone pieces on the city’s northeast side) is more than just a cheeky nod to a new and unsettling reality. According to the artist himself, they also bring about a sense of unity, an overlying message of we’re all in this together—sort of like “Keep Calm…” for the new decade.

So just what possessed Bachor to take his multi-colored message to the (actual) streets? He claims it is not a political statement. On the contrary, he believes that potholes are universally hated. So why not let them serve as the perfect canvas for bringing together people from all walks of life? One thing is certain: it’s almost impossible to not notice his work, popping proudly out of the asphalt. And the most important takeaway is the message itself. So, in fact, the mosaics are highly effective.

To see more of Bachor’s work—including non-public examples—check out his Instagram account and online shop.