Remembering Virgil Abloh: Chicago graffiti mural honors work of multifaceted artist

To say he was a jack of many trades barely begins to describe the work of Virgil Abloh.

The 41-year-old Rockford native made tremendous strides in several art fields until his death late last year. 

What better way to honor a multifaceted artist than with a work of art dedicated just to him.

Levar Hoard is the founder of B Line Productions, which oversaw the production of the mural honoring Abloh. 

"As rarefied as Virgil was, there aren't a whole lot of examples of role models especially among Black men, Black creatives, that have reached the level that he has," said Hoard. 

Abloh's mural stands 60-feet tall and was created with only spray paint.

"We wanted to focus on his early start here in Chicago," said Hoard. "And he was very vocal about how intrigued he was by graffiti and street art."

 Rahmaan Static is the Chicago street artist who painted Abloh's mural. 

"His creative influence is known nationwide and worldwide. That makes a huge difference. That's a personal inspiration to me to keep going and go harder," said Static. 

The mural spans two stories, and it took Static about seven days to complete.

"I'm deeply affected when I see any fallen peer artist within my age group that I feel like their career was kinda cut short," said Static. "The world will miss what else he had to offer as a creative individual."

Abloh was born in Rockford in 1980, and attended Boylan Catholic High School. He went on to receive his Masters of Architecture from IIT in 2006.

When he was in graduate school, Abloh met Chicago rapper Kanye West while working on designs at a print shop.

He then joined West's creative team working on album covers, concert designs and merchandising.

In 2013, Abloh ventured out on his own, launching his Off-White fashion brand in Milan, Italy.


Just five years later, Abloh was named the first Black Artistic Director for Menswear at Louis Vuitton. 

"For me, he'll be remembered for his intellect, and his unapologetic approach to fashion, design and making these things, which were historically sort of unattainable or casual, bringing it down to Earth," said Hoard.  

In addition to his contributions to the worlds of music, fashion, architecture and design, Abloh was also focused on contributing to the community. 

"Virgil was also somebody who reached back into the community all the way up to his last days," said Hoard. "He was communicating with people. Direct messaging them. Texting them."

He was also focused on the future.   

Abloh started a scholarship fund in the middle of the pandemic to foster the next generation of Black leaders in the fashion industry.

To see the Chicago mural honoring Abloh, you can find it in the west stairwell at the Time Out Market Food hall.

For more information on Abloh's scholarship fund. click here: