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News Bites: Alum’s Mural at Iconic Chicago Eatery Spotlighted by The Art Institute

Posted October 13, 2014 in AlumniNews BitesIllustration

Hot Doug’s, a landmark hot dog restaurant in Chicago, may have closed its doors for good on October 4, but thanks to The Art Institute, the huge mural alum Louise Ahrendt (’87, Illustration) painted on the restaurant’s bathroom wall a number of years ago is enjoying a second life.

In tribute to the restaurant’s place in Chicago lore, The Art Institute’s Twitter and Facebook accounts were recently awash with photos of Ahrendt’s mural, a delightful parody of Grant Wood’s famous “American Gothic.” In it, Ahrendt replaced the stoic rural couple with a couple of hot dogs

work by alum Louise AhrendtLouise Ahrendt's "Doug Gothic" (credit: Louise Ahrendt)

After graduating from KCAD, Ahrendt moved to Chicago and quickly developed a relationship with Hot Doug’s owner Doug Sohn. Sohn commissioned Ahrendt to do a number of artistic works for his restaurant - including its logo and a number of paintings and sculptures throughout the restaurant - that have become part of it's special atmosphere.

work by alum Louise AhrendtAhrendt and Sohn pose in front of another one of Ahrendt's creations, "Son of Doug" (credit: Louise Ahrendt)

“It’s pretty amazing that over the years I’ve become good friends with Doug,” Ahrendt said. “It’s just been so fun to be part of his journey.”

Ahrendt, who owns and operates her own mural and decorative painting company, WonderWalls, may not be doing any more work for Hot Doug’s, but for now, she’s glad that her work has drawn the interest of The Art Institute.

“It’s the cherry on the top to have my work recognized in this way,” she said.

See below for more pictures of Ahrendt's work at Hot Doug's:

work by alum Louise Ahrendt

work by alum Louise Ahrendt

work by alum Louise Ahrendtall images credit: Louise Ahrendt