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Chicago murals: How West Side aircraft parts maker CEO David Chaimovitz covered his Setna iO headquarters in murals

A rubber duck atop a moss-flooded skull. An aqua colored owl. A woman with bunny ears and no mouth. What appears to be the Disney character, Pluto, or is it Goofy? — with a robot head in its mouth. And a purple frog holding a cheeseburger that has eyes and a mouth.

You probably wouldn’t guess that the brick building near Grand and Chicago Avenues that all of the above is painted on is the headquarters of aircraft parts company Setna iO.

The building is flooded with murals. Many of them ask for an explanation: What is it? Others nod to the aviation industry, with their cartoonish characters wearing aviator goggles flying around in small planes.

Several artists have worked on this part of a building near Chicago and Grand Avenues that houses an aircraft parts manufacturer. Some of the images reflect this, embracing an aviation theme.

Robert Herguth/Sun-Times

The outdoor art is the result of a chance encounter during the 2020 civil unrest between David Chaimovitz, the chief executive of the aircraft parts company, and the passing street artist bird’s milk.

The painting of a “dogapillar” (left) was done by the artist who goes by the name of Don Mega. To the right is a mural by artist Dredske.

Robert Herguth/Sun-Times

“I was on Division Street, and there was a peaceful protest and tons of people were there, and I see these guys painting all the boarded up windows,” Chaimovitz says. “They made lemonade with lemons. So I went up to them and said, “That’s super cool. I have a business. I’ve always wanted to have murals. ”

This mural was made by the artist who goes by the name “Orbe the Change”.

Robert Herguth/Sun-Times

Bird Milk says, “David came up to me while I was painting another mural and asked me to paint his building. Then I just contacted friends to see who wanted to paint.

This mural was made by the artist who is called MATR.

Robert Herguth/Sun-Times

“We had fun painting with all these amazing artists,” he says.

This mural was created by artist Megan Kind.

Robert Herguth/Sun-Times

Chaimovitz says he gave free rein to the artists, saying, “If you can get aviation into it, that’s cool. Otherwise, that’s also cool. Come have fun and make the city more beautiful.

The image on the left was made by the artist who goes by the name of Killabunz. The artwork on the right was created by artist Oinkz.

Robert Herguth/Sun-Times

Many of those who painted the walls of the West Side business were seasoned street artists. But it was the first outdoor mural project for James Eastwood, a tattoo artist.

This mural was done by tattoo artist James Eastwood.

Robert Herguth/Sun-Times

“I had asked my friend Chris” – the passing street performer Killabunz and who participated in the West Side mural project — “to let me know if he ever had free space on a wall because I wanted to do a mural,” Eastwood says.

This part of the outdoor mural project was done by the artist known as FEDZ.

Robert Herguth/Sun-Times

“I didn’t know what to paint, and Chris suggested I do a rubber duck and a skull because I’m a tattoo artist, so of course I dig skulls,” Eastwood explains. “But I also have a small collection of rubber duckies that started out as gifts that were a bit of a joke from a friend of mine.”

The image on the left was created by artist Blake Jones and the image on the right by Reddor Santiago.

Robert Herguth/Sun-Times

“It was my first mural,” says Eastwood.

The mural on the left was done by Jeff Pak. The painting on the right is by the artist KOZMO.

Robert Herguth/Sun-Times

Jeff Pack, who was one of the most experienced muralists involved in the project, painted a blue and pink wolf that stands upright with its arms crossed, tongue sticking out, a patch covering one eye.

The creature appears next to a cartoonish girl who seems dazzled by candies and a rainbow in a work by the artist KOZMO, who says it’s “my interpretation” of the animated character Princess Bubblegum.

Pak says “the wolf I painted was sort of a badass I wanted to paint as opposed to the cuteness of Princess Bubblegum. Tough, cool, hard-on wolf dude.

Although the building is now pretty well covered in artwork, “we keep adding to it over time and as I meet more and more artists,” says Chaimovitz, noting that a passing Thai artist Alex Face did a mural there recently.

A mural by Thai artist who passes by Alex Face on the building near Chicago and Grand avenues.

Click on the map below for a selection of Chicago area murals