The Belmont Station in Chicago
“We teach people how to remember, we never teach them how to grow.” - Oscar Wilde
Stepping onto those weathered and abused wood planks of the L platforms in Chicago brought me to 1892. I felt as if visiting a historical boardwalk theme park on a field trip. Although I must say those nostalgic but dark and aged representations made L riders be on guard from being mugged or harmed from urban accidents. You might say this is how I most rememberd the public train system while living in Chicago.
Recently I was told that my friend David Cisko was commissioned with a public mural project at one of the Chicago Transit Authority’s stations, Belmont. Personally I fell in love with Cisko’s art when he started with expressions of the Saints. His works also cross over into glasses and ceramic tiles, married into architectural and experiential in two-dimensional mediums.
Despite the biting cold weather, I patiently rode the Red (Howard) Line from downtown to the Belmont Station to visit the city’s newest public art work by my dear friend. Those aged wood planks were gone and replaced with sustainable materials. Certain details were modern: timeless and efficient. As soon as I stepped out onto the Belmont Station, I immediately noticed the improvements, which gave the street a much-anticipated makeover. I recall the days when the station was dark and depressed with pungent odors from human refusals. Darkness did not inspire commuters to be proud or inspired for their daily journeys.
Cisko’s mural brightens the station’s atmosphere and represents the neighborhood appropriately. The color selections and patterns Cisko orchestrated are timely and uplifting, a precise representation of the neighborhood’s energy. In a way that the tile colors are not necessarily immediate predictions of Chicago, but they represent the eclectic collage of Chicago heritages, a melting pot of diverse cultural interests.
Enjoy the detail shots!