Doghouse owner helps bring mural to Lincoln Park

(Elli Sebastian )
March 14, 2013|By Adam Lukach, @lucheezy | RedEye

Since Doghouse owner Aaron Wolfson proposed the idea of a mural next to his restaurant, the process of getting it on the wall has taken more than a year, but Thursday, the paint will finally be hitting the wall.

The black wall between his restaurant and the McDonald's beside it has regularly been a graffiti target and is generally unattractive, said Wolfson, 29, who lives in the Loop. Located near the six-way intersection of Fullerton, Halsted and Lincoln and right across from DePaul's music school, the area sees heavy foot traffic, and Wolfson wanted to give those people something better to look at.

"Lincoln Park is such a beautiful neighborhood, and that wall was not glamorous at all," he said.

So he set out to put a mural there, attending a mural class taught at DePaul to recruit help with the project. He found his girl in Elli Sebastian, a DePaul communications major who's also minoring in art, but the largest impediment was the wall being McDonald's property. Wolfson had to run ideas and designs by the corporation and the franchisee Nick Karavites, whom he said is "a really cool guy."

"We had to do a couple drafts, exchange a couple drafts," he said. "Finally with this last one, they really liked it. Nick said, 'Aaron, do what you gotta do. Make it look good.'"

The design they proceeded with was a colorful one full of musical allusions and signs. Wolfson said he thought music was such an important part of the area and the city that it was something that just made sense. He hopes it will bring more people into his restaurant and improve the look of the neighborhood.

The project was Sebastian's first and largest as a freelance artist. She's graduating this spring and smiled as she said, "it's a really nice project to get going in the real world."

Wolfson said he couldn't be more excited once he got the OK, or thankful to McDonald's and the Wrightwood Organization, who endorsed the idea from the start.

"They're so big and I'm so small," he said. "I see it as them helping out the little guy in a weird way."

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