Muddy Waters

17 N State St Chicago

Design Museum of Chicago
Written By Design Museum of Chicago

The Design Museum of Chicago strengthens design culture and builds community by facilitating the exchange of knowledge through dynamic experiences. Through exhibitions, public and private programs, digital media, and workshops the museum facilitates an open conversation about design across disciplines and borders.

Muddy Waters

McKinley Morganfield, better known as Muddy Waters, was an American blues singer-songwriter and musician. He is cited as the "father of modern Chicago blues," and was an important figure on the post-war blues scene. Muddy Waters' music influences various American music genres, especially rock-n-roll. He was born in a rural town on the Mississippi River. He was given the moniker "Muddy Waters" because he played in the swampy puddles of the Mississippi River as a boy. He showed his talent and interest in music when he was young and taught himself to play music by listening to recordings of Mississippi blues legends. With more and more amazing performances, he began to gain recognition and his ambition grew. As part of the “great migration” of African Americans from the southern United States to Chicago in the late 1930s and 40s, in 1943, Muddy Waters headed to Chicago and started another wonderful chapter.

Muddy Waters and Chicago

When Muddy Waters was in Chicago, his uncle gave him an electric guitar. It was with this guitar that he was able to develop the legendary style that transformed the Delta blues to the Chicago sound. Gradually, he became more and more popular. "Rollin' Stone," one of his singles, became so popular that it went on to influence the name of the major music magazine as well as one of the most famous rock bands to date.

It was in Chicago that Muddy Waters created his own unique style and gained the mainstream success. At the same time, he added new blood and new perspectives to Chicago’s music, and left a splendid page on Chicago blues history.

Muddy Waters has relationship to the origins of the Chicago Blues Festival. On August 30, 1969, many blues musicians, including Muddy Waters, produced a blues concert in Grant Park. Fifteen years later, the first Chicago Blues Festival was held in 1984 in honor Muddy Waters, who had passed away the year before. This mural created by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra was commissioned as a part of the Chicago Blues Festival in 2017.

Muddy Waters lived the last decade of his life at Chicago suburb of Westmont. To memorize him, two years after his death, the city of Chicago paid tribute to Muddy Waters by designating the one-block section between 900 and 1000 East 43rd Street near his former home on the south side "Honorary Muddy Waters Drive." By the end of his lifetime, Muddy Waters had garnered six Grammys as well as countless other honors.

The Artist

Eduardo Kobra’s artwork is not difficult to identify. The Sao Paulo-based street artist's signature approach is filled with vibrant colors and geometric shapes that merge together to form the portraits of many very prominent figures. The repeating shapes bring new life to the famous people he depicts. Eduardo's work evokes memories of moments past that still resonate with audiences today.

Murals in the Chicago Loop

Muddy Waters

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