Kanye is back in Chicago.
A new mural has popped up in West Loop’s Fulton Market, paying homage to none other than the Chicago-raised rapper, record producer, and fashion designer, Kanye West. The famed musician who last year legally changed his name to just ‘Ye’ and is expected to run in the 2024 presidential election, has been brought to life by 47-year-old Hyde Park artist Chris Devins.
The 14-foot mural portrays what Devins describes as “old Kanye” with the rapper wearing a smart black suit and tie along with suave black shades silver watch and a silver watch. In a recent post announcing the piece via Devins’ Instagram account, the artist wrote “a lot of my friends were mad at me for doing a mural of Kanye West, who they don’t like. Forget his politics, when I do a mural of the class valedictorian, the new doctor, no one notices.”
According to Chris Devins’ website, the artist was motivated after walking passed a big blank wall in Fulton Market having discussed Kanye West over dinner with a friend that night.
Devins had been thinking about Kanye’s undeniable impact on music, fashion, and art, and so was imbued with a desire to showcase West’s image. “His incredible influence on all three of those cultures … it just dawned on me that this might be one of the greatest artists,” said Devins.
This isn’t the first mural by Devins paying homage to a celebrated Chicagoan. A stunning Jennifer Hudson mural on 79th and Evans in Chatham honors the Grammy Award-winning singer, actress, and best-selling author while a mural of Michelle Obama can be found directly across the street from Chicago’s Bouchet School in South Shore, where First Lady Obama attended as a child.
It is also one of many dedicated to Chicago-area rappers to have made it far in the music industry. A well-known mural in Englewood pays homage to late homegrown singer Jarad Anthony Higgins, also known as Juice Wrld, and a mural across from Parkway Gardens in Woodlawn depicting rapper King Von, aka Dayvon Bennett, sparked debate last year due to the rapper’s rumored connection to gang violence.
Devins’ work is known to focus on identity and “the role it plays in a neighborhood’s economic and social viability.” As an artist and urban planner, Devins takes part in local projects all over Chicago’s South Side and his murals are but one example of the pride many of the South Side’s neighborhoods have for their most famous alumni.
[Featured image from Instagram / @chris_devins_]