Staycation with the garage murals of Evanston

We are taking a vacation, which is really a staycation. This, of course, we’ve done before, but not the kind of staycation where we can’t go to performances or crowded places, public transportation is scary and a global pandemic is peaking in the Midwest.

Oh, and after a golden, balmy fall, the weather turned chilly with rain.

Within these parameters it is too hard for me to plan a vacation so I’m just going to wing it, depending on circumstances.

After a few minutes of googling this morning, I ran across an article about an artist who has been painting murals on the garage doors in an Evanston alley. Off we went, eight train stops, 1/2 hour walk and a quick bathroom break at a grocery store later, we arrived, in a flurry of falling leaves, rain spotting my camera lens.

Since 2019, Teresa Parod has been painting garage doors in the 2300 block between Thayer and Isabella / Thayer and Park. She uses ordinary house paint, and her subject matter is mostly flowers, houses and whimsical animals. As an appreciator of many varieties of art, I confess that in this fractious political moment with its unrelenting news cycle, I quite enjoyed the mental break that a ramble though depictions of goofy elephants and elementary school colors provided. Even the artist’s website, while loaded with cheerful images, is blessedly devoid of art speak (no artist’s statement with references to Foucault, thank you very much).

HOB and I thought it would be fun to see if the house painting on the garage door matched the house from the street, so we circled around the front.

And not only did we find the house, but the yard was decorated with an endearingly crafty Dia de los Muertos theme. (Those skulls are on screens and they have lights installed, so they must be a spectacle at night). Surely this must be the home of Teresa Parod, an artist of great charm, who brightened the rainy day of these two quarantined travelers.

32 comments

  1. I would have quailed at the train trip…but how that art work has cheered up a neighbourhood!
    And great for an artist who doesn’t try to browbeat us with fart arse cultural references…just lets us look for ourselves. I liked that website.
    Locally we suffer from two artists keen to embellish the area with their out of perspective faux naive murals…as this fits well with the view of the majority of N.American residents who regard Costa Ricans as primitive children these abominations are sprouting on property entrances in the expat colonies outside the town.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh dear, are the faux naive artists at least local?

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      1. Oh yes…indeed they are…..

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  2. Cool garage art in the neighbor ‘Hood’ 👻👻👻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We need more in RP!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Always a good morning when I can have a cup of coffee while reading a new post from you. And given that you’re (unfortunately) stuck in my former hometown, it’s all the more fun, for me anyway.
    Surely someone, somewhere has done a dissertation on the American school of garage art.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Is your home town Evanston or Chicago? We live in Chicago. but often end up walking in Evanston, because it’s so close and there’s a superior bakery. I admit I often find it strange—why so many rug stores, Evanston?

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      1. For 30 years it was Chicago, north side. Now we get to call Paris home. And if you ever find out the answer to the great rug mystery of Evanston, I hope you’ll write a post about it!

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  4. cath.anon · · Reply

    How delightful! I’ve been trying to think of what me and the kids can do with Covid. Art walking is a great idea. In our city, there is a lot to see. Though most of it’s political. But hey, good art is good art whatever the message, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Open House Chicago is this week. If you download their free app there’s some family and covid friendly walking tours on there, including murals: https://openhousechicago.org/

      Have fun!

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  5. Nemorino · · Reply

    When I was about 12 or 13 I used to deliver newspapers in this neighborhood, and my grandparents lived nearby in the 2600 block of Park Place. At that time, there was no such thing as street art.
    The paper I delivered was the Chicago Herald-American, a scandal sheet which I refused to read even at that age. My grandparents read the conservative Chicago Tribune, but we read the relatively progressive Chicago Daily News, which my father bought every day after work to read on the train.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, then we were just a few blocks from your grandparents neighborhood—lots of lovely trees around!

      I never heard of the Chicago Herald-American. Was it full of sex scandals and murder stories? I would have been less restrained than you as a 12 year old and would have sneaked a peak.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Those elephants!

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    1. Just a normal scene on our beach…

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  7. Love those garage art designs! Toronto has something similar but these images are more playful.

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    1. I do hope we can get to Toronto sooner rather than later. We were trying to sort it out at the beginning of the Covid era, before everything got really out of hand….Super city for the arts!

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      1. Feel free to email me on Toronto suggestions. I still visit Toronto (when I can post-covid), since I have lots of family and friends there.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh my – I loved these!! Hubs and I will have to take a short trip up there! Maybe tomorrow – we have a coupon for a free ice cream cone at Graeters (some of the best ice cream in the world!) in Winnetka!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh how did I not know about Graeters?!?! Google maps tells me I can get there in 48 mins on a pace bus. Something to look forward too, thanks.

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      1. It is a staple in Cincinnati where we lived for 30 years. We could get Graeters in Atlanta in Kroger stores and Whole Foods (and it’s in Marianos in Chicago; not sure about Whole Foods) but it’s a TOTALLY different experience going to an actually Graeters Ice Cream parlor! Imagine our total delight when we found out that there were a couple in Chicagoland! HIGHLY recommend the Turtle sundae! Here’s an nteresting bit of movie trivia….the Graeters in Winnetka is in the old drug store space that was the Home Alone drug store where Kevin “stole” the toothbrush!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Love the blue background bird-tree design. And those elephants are charming. Here lots of downtown buildings are getting grand murals but the practice has not expanded to the suburbs. Lots of MidWest memories are being stirred up here. Imagine a neighborhood with alleys! Happy Halloween. Love those skull screens!

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    1. No alleys where you live?

      My neighborhood has elections where the community can vote to fund certain projects. A long time ago I actually voted against the funding of murals, which I’m ashamed of now. My reasoning that the time would be they would be terrible murals with bland art, when in fact most of them are pretty super!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nope not in the suburbs. Mostly cul de sacs. My area wasnt built out till the 80s.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Carson Maitland - Smith · · Reply

    The mural at Marvel Stadium says Epic Lives Here

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Cool artworks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, we are lucky to have so much cool public art, esp. now the museums are closed again.

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  12. lisadershowitz · · Reply

    So cool!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for the lovely write up. I just saw it. I am working on sketches for next summer’s murals. If you come again, knock on my door. If anyone is interested, I only charge for materials. By the way, I use screens for the skulls so the wind can blow through, as it is believed that the spirits travel by air.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to hear from you Teresa—I’ll have to stop by again to see the new murals next summer!

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