The Century Walk Corporation

Artists expand their techniques for latest addition to CenturyWalk - 'Just a bigger canvas'

August 25, 2009 — Source: Naperville Sun, The (IL) — Author: Jane Donahue

The latest addition to the Naperville Century Walk will be formally dedicated at 4 p.m. today outside the Naperville Art League.

"World's Greatest Artists" is a 67-foot-wide, 12-foot-tall mural located on the south wall of the Naperville Art League building. It is the 34th piece to be added to the public art collection.

"This is not art for art's sake," said Brand Bobosky, founder and president of the Naperville Century Walk. "The mural is very whimsical, but very educational. It will peak interest in art."

The mural depicts 34 artists creating their "signature" works of art. The artists are portrayed as cartoon characters, while the art is realistic. Art enthusiasts and novices alike will recognize many of the works, which include some of the greatest masterpieces in history.

Glen Ellyn artist Mike Venezia created the concept for the "World's Greatest Artists" mural. A celebrated author and illustrator, Venezia based the project on his series of children's books called "Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists."

Venezia entrusted Naperville artist Marianne Lisson Kuhn to bring his design to life. In June, Lisson Kuhn projected Venezia's cartoon images on the building to capture his exact style. She then drew and painted each artist's work by hand, including Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night" and Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa."

"I've really learned a lot along the way," Lisson Kuhn said, referring to the textured wall and gutters that were her canvas. "The more challenging, the more fun it is - as far as art goes. I haven't been bored for a minute."

But when it came to  recreating one artist's work, Lisson Kuhn preferred to bring in the master himself.

Naperville's Dick Locher, artist and writer of the "Dick Tracy" comic series, was the only featured artist to draw and paint his own work.

Locher, who first began working on the popular detective series in 1957, had no difficulty sketching on the building wall.

"It's just a bigger canvas," said 80-year-old Locher. "Drawings are wide and high, that's two dimensions. The third dimension is the story - there is a story in every painting here."

Locher, a resident for almost 40 years, will sign his original "Dick Tracy" at today's ceremony. Other artists featured on the mural, Faith Ringgold and George Shipperley, are also scheduled to attend the dedication, along with Venezia.

Dick Locher, of "Dick Tracy" fame, adds the popular detective to the "World's Greatest Artists" mural on Saturday. The mural, designed by artist and author Mike Venezia, will be dedicated today. Jane Donahue / For the Sun


Section: OUR CITY — Page: 18