Chicago murals: Tyrue ‘Slang’ Jones’ Evanston mural not Central Street presents’ Birds of Concern ‘
Tyrue “Slang” Jones became “obsessed” with drawing birds as a child because he always saw them in the art books his mother gave him.
The West Humboldt Park artist has been creating ornithological art ever since.
His latest: the graffiti-style âBirds of Concernâ mural at 1901 Central St. in Evanston which features three vulnerable birds found in Illinois: a red woodpecker, an American kestrel and a black warbler.
Lea Pinsky, who as executive director of the Evanston Art Encounter organization helped oversee the mural project, said the work was not only “beautiful and uplifting” but “also a goal for the community and raises awareness of a really important issue. “
Bird populations are in free fall due to pollution, habitat destruction and climate change.
Jones, 51, says he has been influenced by different artistic styles. For Evanston’s mural, he went back to one he is familiar with – graffiti art. This influence can be seen in vines and exaggerated, curly branches.
In the center of the room is an adult male American Kestrel, a bird that can be seen year round in Illinois and is easily identified by the pair of black bars on its face.
The mural also features the bright yellow adult male black warbler, which migrates through Illinois to breed in southern Canada, and a red-headed woodpecker – another Illinois resident who is the most endangered of the three, due to habitat loss.
The mural – which lights up the exterior of businesses and is approximately 15 feet tall – is the result of a collaboration between Art Encounter and the Evanston North Shore Bird Club.
âWe wanted it to be a mix of art and science,â says Libby Hill, who leads the bird group.
âMurals can help the viewer position themselves in a world beyond their own life,â says Pinsky, who also helped create Rogers Park’s Mile of Murals, another project that included birds among its subjects and Jones among the artists.
“It beautifies the environment and brightens their day, but it also makes them think a little more about the world they live in and maybe take action.”