A neon sign points down concrete steps to the basement of a stout brick building: “Imurj” written neatly in neon wires. The wall perpendicular to the stairs is covered with colorful bears — all with their own personality and charm.
These bears are Chicago-born artist Amber’s signature subject. “It was a larger take on some of my personal art.”
Imurj, the art club/bar/studio that sits in the brick building, is an inclusive, colorful, and totally unique space downtown. Loved by local artists and art enthusiasts alike, Imurj is a great exposure space. “I really love bears, and Imurj was a place for people of all types, so I felt like my bears were a great reflection of that community – all shapes, sizes, and styles!” she said.
Growing up in Chicago, Amber was always surrounded by art. “I have always found my day brightened by seeing street art, so when the opportunity popped up to try my hand at it, I jumped on it without too much thought about how much work it would be.”
That positive energy flows through all the pieces she’s created downtown — whether it be on canvas, paper, brick or plywood — the positivity that radiates through her colorful bears is contagious.
Street art & murals can brighten up areas of gray cement & steel, and can bring new life in a way to older neighborhoods. It has the ability to increase the sense of community to the people living in those areas, and can offer a sense of wonder to the visitors as well. Self expression is important for mental health as well, no matter the scale of the work.Amber
Overall, Amber wants her art to spark joy and playfulness in her audience, no matter who they are. “With my own art, I hope it just gives people a reason to smile to people, and offers a reminder that it’s perfectly OK to be silly, have fun, and be yourself… things I think ‘grown-ups’ can often forget.”