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Artist puts finishing touches on new downtown Oswego mural

Artist Jason Watts put the finishing touches on his latest mural Wednesday morning, July 27, on the side of the former fire station building on Main Street in downtown Oswego.

The colorful mural overlooks an alley on the side of the building that houses the Fox Valley Winery, Oswego Cyclery and the Oswego Brewing Co.

The Village’s Cultural Arts Commission chose the location and sent an open request for proposals. Christina Burns, deputy village administrator, said Watts’ submission was chosen because the commission liked how vibrant his work is.

“It’s very colorful, it really catches your eye,” Burns said. “We’re excited to have it. I think it’s a great addition to our public art.”

Watts has been a studio artist for 25 years, and began painting murals nearly five years ago. He has murals in Milwaukee, Georgia and all over the Chicago area, including West Loop, Lincoln Square and Des Plaines.

Watts said his largest mural to date was along a highway in Suwanee, Georgia, that was around 250 feet long.

Watts described the background of the mural as a dynamic pattern of fragmented color, which is on brand with much of his work. He said he chose to paint a bicycle because he wanted the theme to be ‘outdoor Oswego,’ and the owner of the building, Art Black, also owns the Oswego Cyclery.

“It is a total win-win for me and the community,” Black said. “It really makes this little alleyway pop.”

Black said he has plans to set up a light for the piece so patrons of the brewing company and winery can view it at night.

Jason Watts putting the finishing touches on his mural at 59 Main St. in downtown Oswego.

Jason Watts putting the finishing touches on his mural at 59 Main St. in downtown Oswego. (David Petesch/Oswego, IL 60543, USA)

Watts has a collection of his work that is centered around kids playing. He said that as a middle-aged artist, he finds himself looking back more and feeling nostalgic about his youth.

“A lot of my work expresses the kind of the free spirit and optimism of youth,” Watts said. “When you’re a kid out on your bike, you know? We used to go ride for hours out and report back for dinner.”

The 18-foot mural took Watts just more than two weeks to complete. He said the biggest challenge of this mural came from the shape of the wall. The mural is on a section of the building that juts out, so there are three sides, and Watts said trying to keep the right perspective while wrapping the bicycle around the corner of the wall was tricky.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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