Jeff Zimmermann has worked primarily as a muralist, locating suitable walls on which to create large-scale, dynamic paintings that are inspired directly by the both the physical environment and the community in which the wall exists. Since most walls available for murals are in changing neighborhoods, the imagery reflects the nature of the neighborhood. For this project at MCA Chicago, Zimmermann responds to the area in and around the MCA, spending time getting to know neighborhood life, specific individuals, and what he calls “urban tumbleweeds”: the snack bags and crushed pop cans that that travel across sidewalks, streets, and plazas. Zimmermann juxtaposes these elements with his private interests to convey a sense of emotion and pride. Incorporated into his MCA project are such subjects as the Chicago Board of Trade’s derivatives market, mathematics, and politics. Trained as a graphic designer, Zimmermann’s murals are compositionally dynamic and include areas of striking imagery and bold color.
Zimmermann is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He has worked with youth at Casa Juan Diego in Chicago, and been an instructor in SAIC’s Continuing Studies program. Murals on view around Chicago include numerous works in the Pilsen neighborhood including on a building at Ashland Avenue and 19th Street, at Damen Avenue and Lake Street on the west side, at the Old Town School of Folk Music (with Tony Fitzpatrick), and in restaurants and clubs such as the House of Blues.