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Mark Ulriksen
Another Sports job-United Airlines & The Chicago Bears
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The entrance to the United Club at Soldier Field featuring Tim Zeltner's cityscape and behind the doors on the right my image of da Bears all-time greats.
If the Golf Digest job about the Masters was the coolest job I had last year then another sports gig, murals for United Airlines and the Chicago Bears, was  the toughest. United's agency, BDM of Mineeapolis, commissioned a number of illustrators to create paintings that would be converted into murals for the walls of the new United Club at the Bears Soldier Field stadium. Tim Zeltner did the cityscapes and I did the paintings of the players.
 
The mural of the Bears all-time greats. It's hard to tell the scale but this mural is over 15 feet high.
The acrylic painting. It's actually two pieces, each about 38" wide, butted together.
 What made this job so tough is that I had five weeks to do the sketches and the finishes. Plus their were four clients for the project: the agency, the Bears, United and the city of Chicago. It all went amazingly smoothly, primarily because the art buyer, Kim Witczak, ran interference and served as my point person. Her only brief on the job was to "make them cool."  You can't beat that.
The "Fan Wall" depicts happy Bears fans amidst a bummed out Packers fan. I wasn't able to put a Packers logo on this guy's hat because of licensing issues. But I did manage to sneak some real people into the scene.
I tried to design the painting so that at eye level you would see the few "real" people in the scene. From right to left there is my younger daughter Lily (now 12) in her father's arms (now bald). Then my now teenager Emma and my lovely wife Leslie next to yours truly again, next to legendary Chicagoan Harry Carey (albeit a Cubs announcer)
This painting of the 1933 worlds fair and the world champs was enlarged to over 50 feet across. So I'm told, I haven't been to Chicago to see these yet.
Here's two views of this mural, combining the city of Chicago in the background with eight individual portraits stripped into the scene.
Here's the portraits of the individual players
And here's the background painting of the Chicago skyline
Along the hallways of the United Club are mock airline windows with portraits of individual Bears greats in their plane seats. It looks like these came out OK even though the originals are each only about 8 " high.
Mr. Bear, George Halas
Bronko Nagurski, perusing ESPN while in-flight
This last image was used smaller as a framed poster. I got so used to "murals" that a poster around six feet tall seemed small. It's easy to get jaded.


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