‘JUMBO JET’ mural completed in Old Irving; 16 murals located in that commercial area


The 16th mural project in the Old Irving Park commercial area recently was installed on a retaining wall for a viaduct on Pulaski Road at the Kennedy Expressway.

“They’re intended to beautify these neglected areas,” and artist Tony Passero, who began working on the murals 8 years ago. “They’re also a deterrent to graffiti, and the community helps maintain and clean up the area.”

The latest mural is called “Jumbo Jet” and is based on Passero’s childhood memory of using the Kennedy Expressway as a guide to help find his neighborhood as the plane which he was on was approaching O’Hare Airport.

The 17-by-49-foot mural, which is the tallest of the 16 murals, includes caricatures of an airplane and homes, reflecting the architectural styles of Old Irving Park and Jefferson Park. The fact that the rocket-shaped airplane in the mural has an elephant connected to it is a “a play on words as you have ‘jump jet’ and elephants are ‘jumbo,’” Passerro said.

Passero said that he received a lot of “car honks and thumbs up” as he was painting the mural. The mural faces southbound Pulaski and is located across from Hot Woks Cool Sushi, 3930 N. Pulaski Road.

The Old Irving Park Association approved the design for the mural and paid for a sealant which was applied over the mural, and Arts Alive Chicago worked with Alderman John Arena (45th) to obtain permission to have the mural installed.

In other news, Jefferson Park resident and artist Jerry Rogowski is creating a mural which will be installed on the south side of the viaduct on Ainslie Street over the Kennedy Expressway, according to Passero. The mural will have a nature theme and will be across from an existing science-themed mural on the north side of the viaduct, Passero said.

Rogowski has assisted with the Old Irving Park murals.