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Ottawa’s next mural to ‘pop out of the wall’

Ottawa’s next public mural will be located on the south wall of the Central Life building on Columbus Street. The mural will occupy the approximately 40 feet from the west edge of the wall, and run vertically between the second and fifth floors.
Ottawa’s next public mural will be located on the south wall of the Central Life building on Columbus Street. The mural will occupy the approximately 40 feet from the west edge of the wall, and run vertically between the second and fifth floors.

Get ready to gawk.

Ottawa’s next public mural will be completed this summer, and it will be unlike any of the others, Brush With History Committee member Christy Myers told the Ottawa Noon Rotary on Wednesday.

“This mural will not be a walk-by mural, which most murals are,” she said.

Instead, international artist John Pugh will produce a mural that will cause the viewer to stop in wonder.

“This artist does the paintings that pop out of the wall,” Myers said. “He’s the first muralist to use the fourth-dimension.”

Pugh’s style is “trompe l’oeil” — which is French for “deceive the eye.” The goal is to trick the viewer into believing what they see on the wall is real.

“He spends a tremendous amount of time on details,” Myers said.

A native of Lake Forest, Pugh now lives in California. Pugh has completed more than 200 murals around the world. This will be his first mural in Illinois, Myers noted. (For examples of Pugh’s murals visit artofjohnpugh.com.)

An exact schedule for his stay in Ottawa — as a house guest of Myers — has not been set, but at least part of it will be in August.

The size and location of the mural, however, are set.

It will be located on the south wall of the Central Life building on Columbus Street. The mural will occupy the approximately 40 feet from the west edge of the wall, and run vertically between the second and fifth floors.

The mural will hearken back to an Ottawa of yesterday had more hotels and social activity at the Ottawa Boat Club.

Christy used a projector to show the Rotarians examples of Pugh’s work and a rough image of the proposed new mural. It featured what appeared to be pivoting wall panels: impossible to describe but arresting to view.

“The design is subtle enough to catch your attention and detailed enough to hold it,” Myers said.

Right now the goal is raise funds to cover the artist’s fee. Although he typically changes in excess of $100,000, Pugh agreed to do the Ottawa mural for $50,000.

Currently, donations are being accepted by the Ottawa Visitors Bureau. The phone number there is 815-434-2737.

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