HUMBOLDT PARK — Nick “Sick” Fisher’s bright murals dot Chicago — and now the painter has returned home for more.
Fisher moved back to Humboldt Park this year after spending the past three years based out of Los Angeles. The prolific and well-known artist plans to touch up his existing works, take on new public art projects and “be creative in the city I feel the most real,” Fisher said.
Fisher’s murals are hard to miss around Chicago, with many cropping up in Humboldt Park and Logan Square.
The artist paced in his Humboldt Park studio Aug. 25 as he analyzed his “quintessential Chicago project” across the street: the exterior of Adams & Son & Daughter Gardens, 1057 N. California Ave. He primed the place for paint and has now given the signature leaves of its mural a fresh color. Fisher has been redesigning the store’s exterior since 2014, when he walked in and talked his way into doing the piece.
“The art is like a picture book, made to be constantly redone,” Fisher said. “I want people to remember what it looked like when they walked past it eight years ago; there’s a narrative there that has a life story for them. It creates a sense of community, and that’s what’s important.”
Fisher has spruced up mom-and-pop shops and turned backdoors into escape pods and garages into Chicago-style pizza ovens.
Fisher’s teamed up with Vintage Quest, 1105 N. California Ave., to paint its knickknacks and drop them off around the city for Chicagoans to stumble upon.
There’s “no shortage of things to work on,” and Fisher is always open to ideas, he said. Someone stopped him on the street and asked if he could paint his home dele so he’d have colorful Zoom backgrounds.
Chicago will always be Fisher’s signature canvas, he said.
“I moved back because I’m happier here,” Fisher said. “There’s work and there’s a network, and an energy here that makes it very livable. I like to ride my bike places and paint spaces.”
Fisher credits the North Side food and drinks scene for launching his career as an artist.
After graduating from Florida State University, where Fisher started painting, he took a job at Bourgeois Pig Cafe, 738 W. Fullerton Ave. The cafe was an “incubator for creatives,” and Fisher helped run the place alongside Angel Olson and other young musicians and artists, he said.
Between shifts, Fisher painted the patent office on Armitage Avenue in Logan Square. It was his first gig, and he’d stumbled upon it through Craigslist.
More commissions for store exteriors popped up on the Northwest Side, and Fisher developed his own style, inspired by “a love of Bob Ross and the dark outlines in Looney Tunes,” he said.
Fisher has forged friendships with the small business owners whose exteriors he’s painted. He gave Bric-a-Brac Records a UFO before it left its Logan Square location.
“I hope the art helps get people through the doors,” Fisher said. “I want to leave places better than I found them.”
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