Reprinted with permission from The Pantagraph
By Julia Evelsizer, The Pantagraph
BLOOMINGTON — With his murals brightening the streets of Chicago, London and Amsterdam, Eric Lee always wanted to bring his talent home to Bloomington-Normal.
Lee is an artist from Chicago, but grew up in the Twin Cities and graduated from Normal Community High School in 1998. His art, which has been shown in galleries in Chicago and Paris, often carries themes of pop culture and comic book characters. His whimsical street art often fools the eye with 3-D techniques.
“I’ve been doing street art all over the world. To do something in the place where I grew up is a privilege,” said Lee.
On Saturday, he continued his work on a mural stretching along a brick wall at the corner of Front and Prairie streets in downtown Bloomington.
The wall is part of a building built in 1883, originally known as Williams Horse Hospital. According to The Pantagraph archives, the equestrian hospital could accommodate up to 25 horses. Veterinarians would tend to local race horses and work horses.
Lacey and Kyle Glandon, owners of Workbench Collaborative, purchased the building in 2016 and reached out to Lee to add his artistic touch.
“I like to consider the space I’m working with when I create something. I want it to fit in with the architecture and history of the building,” said Lee.
Using spray paint and acrylic paint, the finished mural will feature horse heads peeking out of elaborate golden frames. An open stable door will showcase a man carrying a frame, an image inspired from a Norman Rockwell painting.
Lee expects to complete the mural by Monday.
“A lot of people aren’t exposed to fine art. I didn’t grow up surrounded by art or going to a lot of museums,” said Lee. “It’s important to make it easily accessible to the average person. Street art is the easiest way to introduce it to people.”
The project was funded through a grant for public art by the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, which has backed several other murals in Central Illinois.
“I hope that when people walk by this painting, they’re surprised or it brings a smile to their face. It’s fun to be able to slip into someone’s day like that,” said Lee.
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