Completed the PAiRROTS located on the Women’s Bungalow Building at Chicago’s Independence Park.
I would like to thank park supervisor Julie Thompson for allowing me to put up a new piece of art on this building and for her continued support of art in the environment of public spaces.
I would also like to thank the Independence Park Advisory Council for working to secure me a location and allowing me to do a live paint during the course of one of there charitable events.
Gratitude to the Public Art Trust for facilitating and funding this project with special acknowledgement to Noor Boyle, Sara Hackney and Joel Wasserman of Valspar Paints for providing paint for this project via a generous donation.
John and Heather are wonderful, kind, caring folks both one of a kind in their unique way but together they make a vibrant, colorful, dynamic duo. Somehow these two not only live together but manage to work together to successfully continue to grow their business Beat Studios. Heather is an exceptional photographer with a great eye for composition. John is a very talented designer with an incredible knack for delivering work with a great attention to detail.
The Aitkens, up to recently, where neighbors of mine, residing in one of my community’s grandest homes. Their historic home was lovingly restored using the aforementioned attention to detail and composition. Grand in presentation they could have easily had a fortress in Chicago but they never did such a thing. Quite the opposite they threw their doors open and offered up their castle to all, using their home as a community touch point. As a result many friendships where formed and cemented amongst neighbors. John and Heather fostered these relationships to unite the Independence Park community together and make it one of the most socially active and best places to live in the city.
The Aitkens collectively worked tirelessly over the years to foster and grow Independence Park’s identity while preserving its history. They did so by gathering opinion without self serving interest and then advocating and moving issues or plans forward, all the while donating money or equally valuable talent all coupled with countless volunteer hours. To be frank I was tentative when I first met the Aitkens, I had bad experiences dealing with “community groups” that where more fiefdoms than open forums and I carried my suspicions and reservations with me. John and Heather’s approach of honesty and transparency and being able to see all sides fairly put this to past and stands as my model when when working with others to this day.
Personally John and Heather kindly got behind me and advocated for one of my first public art projects. While others expressed concern about my lack of experience or questioned my limited portfolio they only offered encouragement and support. I am not sure I can properly express how much that meant to me as I embarked on a very large project that indeed had some major roadblocks, I do know during trying times their belief was a well I tapped into when I was running dry. Simply put without John and Heather’ support I may be sitting here searching for my first public art space to paint a mural on, so I am forever indebted to them for advocating for me in the early on.
One could go on and on singing the praises of John and Heather but the reality is I don’t have to as anyone who counts them as friends probably knows the verse or at the very least join the chorus. The Aitkens may have moved on from their grand home but I know they will always be deeply rooted in my community. They are one of the couples that laid a key cornerstone that the foundation the Independence Park area is built on.