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Chicago murals: Emte’s graffiti-style ‘Transformers’ mural near Western Avenue Orange Line CTA L stop features Optimus Prime, Megatron as L trains

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Optimus Prime and Megatron from the “Transformers” movies are battling it out once again, only this time as robotic L cars lobbing trains at one another in a mural painted on a CTA Orange Line retaining wall near the Western station on the Southwest Side.

Above the portrayal of the epic battle are the words: “Never Rust Away or Fade Away.”

The mural was created last weekend by the graffiti artist who goes by Emte as part of an art contest called Battle of Midway, in a nod to the nearby airport.

Emte showing off the prize belt he got for winning the Battle of Midway art contest.

Emte showing off the prize belt he got for winning the Battle of Midway art contest.

About 10 artists used the wall along 49th Street between Oakley Avenue and Western Boulevard to compete based on a theme celebrating the 50th anniversary of what some regard as the birth of hip hop music.

Those artists focused on the east side of the wall. Others, not involved in the competition, put up murals on the west half.

Together, they transformed the concrete span, with their work taking the place of murals done last year featuring video game and comic book characters.

Emte, who’s in his 50s, says that when he was much younger, he “honed my craft” on the Orange Line.

“Before, we used to say, ‘We’d rather rust away than fade away,’ ” Emte says.

For winning the competition, Emte got a prize fighter-type belt — and hundreds of dollars worth of spray paint.

Which will come in handy for doing graffiti art, of which he says, “It’s kind of mind-boggling to me even now that it’s become a respected art form.”

The graffiti wall at 49th Street and Oakley Avenue. The mural at the left was done by the artist who goes by Jesus Saves. The piece on the right is by the artist Seoh.

The graffiti wall at 49th Street and Oakley Avenue. The mural at the left was done by the artist who goes by Jesus Saves. The piece on the right is by the artist Seoh.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

Another creation from the Battle of Midway contest on the Southwest Side. This piece was done by the artist who goes by Rokr.

Another creation from the Battle of Midway contest on the Southwest Side. This piece was done by the artist who goes by Rokr.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

An L train passing overhead as graffiti murals were being created along 49th Street last weekend.

An L train passing overhead as graffiti murals were being created along 49th Street last weekend.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

More new artwork on the Orange Line retaining wall along 49th Street between Oakley Avenue and Western Boulevard. The mural on the left was done by the artist who goes by Spade. To the right: artwork by OBVS.

More new artwork on the Orange Line retaining wall along 49th Street between Oakley Avenue and Western Boulevard. The mural on the left was done by the artist who goes by Spade. To the right: artwork by OBVS.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

A mural created on the 49th Street wall that wasn’t part of the contest.

A mural created on the 49th Street wall that wasn’t part of the contest.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

Click on the map below for a selection of Chicago-area murals



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