The Sepia Project comprises new murals celebrating the spirit of Little Village and North Lawndale through portraits of community leaders from both neighborhoods, and is located on two underpasses. The murals, commissioned by 22nd ward Alderman Ricardo Muñoz and managed by Chicago Public Art Group, were developed to celebrate each neighborhood’s spirit, diversity and history, while promoting their unity.
Alderman Muñoz and community leaders wanted the viaducts to represent a bridge to each community, Little Village, a primarily Hispanic neighborhood, and North Lawndale, an African-American neighborhood. It also provided a space for artists from both communities to create art that celebrated each neighborhood’s spirit and diversity.
The finished murals were unveiled on Thursday, December 8, 2016, at 2230 S. Central Park Ave., Chicago.
About the Artists
Rahmaan Barnes grew up on the south side of Chicago, surrounded by the urban art and public murals that inspired him to get involved with the sub-culture of urban graffiti. The focus of his work became public murals that fuse the graffiti aesthetic with the classical art training he received at the American Academy of Art. As co-founder of RK Design, a graphic arts and mural company, he has produced more than 200 murals, multiple CD covers, book illustrations, and logo designs. Through Chicago Public Art Croup and Gallery 37, he has instructed children in mural painting techniques, and mentored young artists in their craft.
Max Sansing, a Chicago native, was raised on the south side in the Avalon Park community. His parents were artists, and he naturally grew to love painting at an early age. Fueled by the desire to create art, Sansing taught himself oil painting, and later completed two years of college training at the American Academy of Art, from 1999 to 2000. In addition to painting full time, Sansing has expanded his creative and artistic talents into creating murals across Chicago and New York. His current art influences include Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, Gustav Klimt, Thomas Blackshear, and his late father, Ellis Sansing. Max is the cofounder of RK Design, an art consulting group that specializes in mural and graphic design.