Kristyn Hartman
The compliments on his Instagram feed tell part of the story. People wrote things like, "So beautiful...detailed, yet playful and poignant," and "Great job, dude...Chicago is proud."
If you're wondering who the "dude" is, it's Jeff Zimmermann '88. The Saint Ignatius College Prep alum just finished another work of art that has people talking here and across the Atlantic.

In April, Zimmermann traveled to Lucerne, Switzerland to work on a mural on the Sentisteg Pedestrian Bridge at Kasernenplatz. He painted one side of the bridge, and a local artist painted the other side -- their work bridging geographically distant places that have had a unique tie for more than two decades.

Chicago and Lucerne have been part of the Sister Cities partnership for 25 years. The mural commemorates the bond between the cities, and Zimmermann was thrilled to lend his talent to the endeavor. His work features two wonderfully expressive teen faces, symbolizing the youth of Chicago and the hope they bring. The artist calls the experience a giant opportunity...one that wasn't entirely a slam dunk.

"In Chicago everyone wants a mural," said Zimmermann, "Here it's a little different, but we won them over, and the Lucerne mayor is all over it."

It is Zimmermann's first work in Europe. You can also see the artist's murals around Chicago and in Africa, South America and Central America. It's remarkable for any painter, especially one who's self-taught. 

Zimmermann went to college for graphic design. He pivoted a bit, after he had the chance to paint a mural with some kids in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood.

Following that experience he remembers thinking, "This is way better than sitting in a cubicle. I'm going to try and become an artist."

He's been doing it ever since.

Zimmermann's advice for students at Ignatius and beyond: Pursue your passion as soon as you find it. His own decision to do what he loves has brought joy and beauty to people around the world who've seen his murals. What a gift!

Saint Ignatius College Prep

Saint Ignatius College Prep, a Jesuit Catholic school in the heart of Chicago, is a diverse community dedicated to educating young men and women for lives of faith, love, service and leadership.