"6250 Harper Ave." by Ricky Willis
Mixed media sculpture | 13" x 8.5" x 5.25"
Ricky Willis (b. 1968) is an architectural historian and sculptor, depicting high-rise apartment buildings, Shell gas stations, CTA buses and trains, and water towers. Willis is a living Google Earth, able to pinpoint virtually any building in Chicago and tell you when it was built, what building existed in the same spot before it, and the best bus route to get there. With simple materials and found wood, he recreates these structures flawlessly from memory with startling elegance, charm, and insight as to their function and history. Contact with real places and locality drive Willis’ work: with the use of appropriated materials, most often collected during his public transit or bicycle commutes around Chicago, Willis builds up objects of the city from the literal material of the city, taking items that are economically uninteresting and transforming them.
Ricky Willis joined Project Onward in 2011 and currently lives in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood.