Greektown Chicago Introduces New Street Art Project with Fanciful Fish Sculptures
Come & Meet Greektown Chicago’s Fun & Fanciful Fish!
Greektown Chicago is alive with new street art! A school of 22 fanciful fish have landed along Halsted Street between Monroe and Van Buren. Each of the artist-painted fish sculptures is amazing. Some fishies showcase the imagination of Greek School students and teachers. Other fish exhibit the creativity of some of Chicago’s finest professional and emerging artists.
These fabulous fish are positioned near your favorite shops, bars, and restaurant. (See listing below). And, they will be delighting visitors to Greektown all summer long.
The Greektown Arts Committee appreciates our partnership with the Chicago Greektown Educational Foundation and is thankful for the Greek Schools participating in this art display including:
- St. Demetrios SOLON Greek School of Chicago
- Holy Wisdom Academy
- Pythagoras Greek School of St. John the Baptist
- Koraes Elementary School
- Greek School Pythagoras of Elmhurst
- St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago
Inspiration for the project comes from ancient Greek culture. As many Greeks lived close to the sea, fish was an essential food source for centuries, and it remains a healthy food option and staple menu item at many Greektown restaurants. So too, many children have a pet fish at home and will relate to these special fishies. Further, the project calls attention to the need for protecting our waters and sea creatures.
Each fish is painted on both sides requiring the viewer’s engagement. Each fish artwork has a title. And of course, each artist has given their fish a name. We have listed all 22 fishies below detailing the fish name, artist, title of the piece, location and the inspiration behind the piece or more about the artist.
- Title: Poseidon Protects the Church
- Artist: Juan Cano
- About: An established Chicago Graffiti Artist, Cano is known for his distinct “shattered glass style” as shown in the image of Poseidon. An interest in Greek mythology and the beauty of Santorini, Greece, further influenced his fish design. (Early this year, Cano participated in a program at The Cliff Dwellers celebrating Pilsen’s original muralists).
- Location: Poseidon sits on his tail on the west side of Halsted Street near Van Buren Street.
- Title: Tiger Queen
- Artist: Alexandra Damato
- About: Damato discovered her love of art while traveling through Southeast Asia. She is inspired by the beauty of our natural world. Damato connects with her Greek heritage not only through art, but also by her cooking and gardening. She is also a certified yoga instructor and on the team of Urban Rivers.
- Location: Zelda is parked by Arkadia Tower on Halsted south of Adams St.
- Title: Where’s the Beach
- Artist: Panos Fiorentinos
- About: Despina, the fish, would rather be swimming in the seas near Greek coastal cities than sitting on dry land in Chicago. Her creator, Fiorentinos, once built architectural models for San Francisco architects but more recently used his art photography for a book on Midwest Greek Orthodox Churches titled ECCLESIA.
- Location: Despina stands at the south end of Athena Restaurant; 212 S. Halsted St.
- Title: Stratum’s Doorway
- Artist: Tyrue “Slang” Jones of Slangism.com
- About: “Slang single-handedly defines the Chicago Graffiti movement. For 30 years, he has been a non-stop force pushing the limits of his art and teaching the history of the culture that he helped to create.” – Roger Gastman, co-author, The History of American Graffiti. Slang’s is a world of color, rhythm, passion and personal story.
- Location: Stratum stands tall in front of Dugan’s at 128 S. Halsted
- Title: Fishy Faces’ Recovery
- Artist: Kathleen King
- About: A Chicago-based artist and educator, King serves on the board of the Skopelos Foundation for the Arts (located on the Greek Island of Skopelos). As the viewer circles around King’s creation, both the expressions on the fish’s face and the symbolic images on the fish’s body, will change. Depending on the point of entry, there is either a transition from illness to health or vice versa. For King, this expresses the idea that health management is a balancing act that can tip either way.
- Location: Fishy has landed on the side of 9 Muses Bar & Grill – 315 S. Halsted
- Title: Wish Fish
- Artist: Victoria Martin
- About: Martin holds a BA in art education and an MFA in performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Known for her large mystical murals based on religious texts, Martin’s current practice is Synesthesia (art done live during jazz music events). Using musically-influenced colors, she brings us Glenda, the good magic “wish fish.” Visit the fish and tell her your wish!
- Location: Glenda is situated in front of Starbucks at 116 S. Halsted Street
“Smokey the Salmon”
- Title: Swimming in the Blue Water of Alaska
- Artist: Molly McGrath
- About: McGrath is a versatile visual artist at Project Onward, a studio and gallery in the Bridgeport Art Center. She was inspired to paint Smokey after reading about the relationship between the Black bears and the salmon of Alaska. Visit projectonward.org
- Location: Smokey resides near the National Hellenic Museum: 333 S. Halsted st.
- Title: Athena and Triton
- Artist: James Mesple
- About: James McNeil Mesple joyfully absorbed many of our world’s diverse cultures early in his art career. He now brings classical myths to life. Mesple uses rich, vivid colors (grinding his own pigments for intensity and saturation) to achieve his contemporary vision. His art is in many public and private collections.
- Location: Dolphin lives near Artopolis Bakery, Cafe & Agora; 306 S. Halsted St.
- Title: Of the Aegean
- Artist: Patricia Owsiany
- About: Owsiany considers the many seas – the Aegean, the Ionian, the Mediterranean, and the Sea of Crete – that surround the Greek Islands. She uses color and texture to capture these sun-drenched waters, and the wonderful aquatic life that dwells within, as inspiration for her fantasy fish. Owsiany’s work has been shown in galleries in Chicago, Evanston, and New York.
- Location: Konstantinos sits near Mr. Greek Gyros; 234 S. Halsted St.
- Title: Aquatic Decoherence
- Artist: Terry Poulos
- About: Growing out of his strong interest in science, Poulos’ fish draws awareness to the catastrophic effects of single-use plastics polluting the Earth’s oceans, seas, lakes and river. His fish, in part, depicts a molecule of water, H2O, and a molecule of polyurethane, i.e., the active compound in water bottles. And Poulos further champions the marine conservation group Bluering.blue.
- Location: Polly sits in front of Meli Cafe & Juice Bar at 301 S. Halsted St.
- Title: Jonah and the Whale
- Artist: Vicky Tesmer
- About: A story from the Old Testament comes to vivid life in this creation. Tesmer’s art has been exhibited locally, nationally and on an international scale, e.g. Cairo and Luxor, Egypt; Bochum, Germany. Her work is an ongoing dialogue between society and the artist’s inner world that travels through time/space and form/function.
- Location: Big Fish rests in front of Chicago Parthenon Hostel: 310 S. Halsted St.
- Title: The One That Got Away
- Artist: Chuck Walker
- About: The compelling and diverse work of Walker has been widely exhibited and included in both private and public collections. In this artwork, flush with beautiful color, he ponders the question: Who dreams? The Fisherman or the fish?
- Location: Sprite is parked on the northwest corner of Halsted street and Adams street
- Title: Finding Demo
- Artist: Miss Alex White
- About: Music and visual art work work well together. White is a guitarist with the rock’n’roll duo White Mystery, and a visual artist who attended Gallery 37 and graduated from DePaul University. In this time of performance interruption, Miss Alex White turned her talents to creating the delightful Demo.
- Location: Demo waits at the south end of Walgreens; 111 S. Halsted St.
- Artist: Kiki Whitehead
- Title: ΑΓΑΠΗ
- About: A noted children’s book illustrator, and a recognized leader in the Hellenic community, Whitehead’s artistic roots sprouted early in childhood when she studied charcoal drawing and oil painting in art school. With the start of protests this year, she was inspired to promote love (ΑΓΑΠΗ in Greek) through her art piece “Love-Raki.” With a fun wordplay based on a popular fish dish, i.e., lovraki, Whitehead’s work includes the term Love on one side & the word ΑΓΑΠΗ on the other side. And, the circular symbols are the Greek “mati” used to protect us from bad intentions brought on by jealousy and hate.
- Location: Lovie is found on the southwest corner of Halsted and Adams St.
- Title: Prometheus
- Artist: Vasiliki Valkanas
- About: Working in both traditional mediums and graphic design, Valkanas drew inspiration for this piece from Ancient Greek pottery and the story of Prometheus: the “eternal sufferer” who defied the gods to give fire to man. She believes the message in this myth – showing the value of knowledge and importance of doing the right thing despite all challenges – is as valuable today as in centuries past.
- Location: Char is positioned by Arkadia on Halsted just south of Adams St.
- Title: Goldie Gives Gratitude
- Artist: Rebecca Zaragoza & Eve Moran
- About: Zaragoza, a freelance artist and author, uses a variety of art forms and strings of words to color the world. Her fish “Goldie” pays tribute and gives thanks to the wide range of healthcare workers who “saved lives” in this perilous period. Moran’s side adds a Greek olive tree to express love and friendship to all our many heroes.
- Location: Goldie sits near Arkadia Tower on Halsted just south of Adams St.
Fish created by Greek Schools:
- Title: Pythagorean Theorem
- Artist: Eirini Sizopoulos
- School: Greek School PYTHAGORAS of Elmhurst
- Location: Pythagoras rests comfortably in front of Athena restaurant at 212 S. Halsted St.
- Title: A Cat’s Dinner
- Artist: Chris Hale, Tessa Hale
- School: Holy Wisdom Academy
- Location: Fishbowl charms alongside Santorini restaurant at the corner of Halsted and Adams
- Title: Fish is Delish
- Artist: Alexandra Bakopoulos
- School: St. Demetrios SOLON Greek School of Chicago
- Location: Thalassia brings beauty in front of Athenian Candle at 300 S. Halsted St.
- Title: Blue the Color of Sky and Sea
- Artist: Dimitri Koutelidakis,Niko Harisiadis, Sophia Harisiadis
- School: Pythagoras Greek School of St. John the Baptist
- Location: Blue is flipping their fins in front of Spectrum Bar & Grill; 233 S. Halsted St.
- Title: Greek God of the Sea
- Artist: Jimmy Economou
- School: School Koraes Elementary School
- Location: Greco welcomes in front of 9 Muses Bar & Grill; 315 S. Halsted St.
- Title: Love recognizes no barriers – Maya Angelou
- Artist: Nikoleta Rentzelos
- School: St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago
- Location: Brizo shares love alongside Greek Islands Restaurant at Halsted and Adams St.
We hope you enjoy these fun, friendly and fanciful fishie sculptures around the neighborhood this summer, and stay tuned for more activations surrounding this fun street art project!