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Local Illustrator Tells the Story of the Chicago Flag Through Art

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Chicagoans are very proud of their city's flag, and this civic pride can be witnessed throughout the city and on peoples' bodies. The Chicago flag is pretty much everywhere in the Windy City. And while Chicagoans and vexillologists love the simple look of the flag, there's more meaning to the flag's design than a few stars and bars. The light blue bars on the Chicago flag represent Lake Michigan and the North and South branches of the Chicago River, while the white sections represent the city's North, West and South sides. Each star commemorates an important moment or structure in the city's history, and each point on each star has a meaning. Local artist Phil Thompson of Cape Horn Illustration has paid homage to the city's flag by creating a new series of images that dives into the history and meaning of each star.

A fan of Chicago architecture and history, Thompson has previously (and painstakingly) illustrated the common architectural styles of homes found in Chicago as well as the homes of some of Chicago's most famous residents. Thompson has changed gears on his latest series and instead of illustrating homes, he has turned his attention to the city's famous flag.

"The Chicago flag is well loved and well known," Thompson tell us, "but less known are the rich stories behind the flag's symbols. I illustrated the stories behind the flag to commemorate Chicago's most recent birthday on March 4. I did this in parallel with my friend Liz Garibay of History on Tap, who wrote about the booze and pub history behind the symbols. I'm now assembling the stars and an illustration of the water—the blue bars—into a full 18" x 24" print. For now, though, I'm offering the four stars on their own."

In order, the stars on the flag represent Fort Dearborn, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the Columbian World Exposition in 1893 and the Century of Progress exposition in 1933.

·Cape Horn Illustration [Official Website]
·Time Lapse Shows Illustrator Drawing a Classic Chicago Greystone [Curbed Chicago]
·Illustrating the Homes of Famous Chicagoans [Curbed Chicago]
·Check Out These Incredible Illustrations Of Chicago Homes [Curbed Chicago]