Artist fills treacherous potholes with humorous mosaics

Jim Bachor
© Jim Bachor

Nothing sucks more after a tough winter than spring roads full of huge potholes. Chicago has been dubiously blessed in this respect, with a record number of 600,000 potholes to repair this season. It's become so bad that some, like artist Jim Bachor, are stepping up to the challenge; instead of waiting for the city to patch over all these potholes, Bachor is filling them with his own mosaics.

© Jim Bachor
© Jim Bachor

Influenced by Roman mosaics that he'd seen in Italy years ago, Bachor has been creating original mosaics for some time. Pothole mosaics are a new iteration of Bachor's chosen medium, and so far, Bachor's seven completed pothole mosaics are both practical and artful, as they propose a temporary solution to a widespread problem, and yet they are also humourous (some mosaics say simply "pothole," others sport an ID number, others will include the phone number of the nearest garage, just in case). Some of the potholes sport the colours of the city's flag, as a way of showing Chicago pride.

© Jim Bachor
© Jim Bachor
© Jim Bachor

To do the repairs, Bachor uses orange cones to section off the work area, and wears an orange vest -- sometimes he is mistaken for a city worker.

© Jim Bachor

Though they are time- and labour-intensive, Bachor intends to create more high-quality, mosaic-tiled works to cover up Chicago's potholes (he's since won a commission from the city), says Hyperallergic:

Bachor has attempted to keep all of his pothole works approximately the same size to minimize cost, but even at 16 x 22 inches, they cost about $50 each to make. He doesn’t skimp on materials, though — he uses Murano glass in all of his pieces — and he works in the old-fashioned double reverse, or Ravenna, method. Cost is currently the reason he’s sticking to the simple Chicago-branded designs, but one day he dreams of creating pothole works more closely aligned with the detailed portraits found in his studio.

© Jim Bachor

Like pothole gardening or filling them with yarn, it's not a permanent solution, but it is a brilliant (though temporary) idea that other pothole-inflicted cities could emulate; more over at Jim Bachor and Hyperallergic.

Tags: Artists | Arts | Chicago | Driving

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