Column Artwork and Text, Hidden Along the 56th Street Metra Stop

After arriving at the 56th Street Metra stop, I was walking out when a figure caught my eye. This is looking out East, a direction I normally don’t look or go. But since the sunlight has been sticking around a little longer, I happened to be able to see this from inside the station.

On going outside, I noticed there was yet another figure on one of the columns.

As well as some writing: “I’m coming from socializing with my fellow brothers and going home to socialize with my loving mother.”

“I’m coming from a period of turmoil, but I’ve actually gotten to a period of rest.”

As I walked around, I started to see that there seemed to be writing or artwork on nearly every column.

“It’s been 12 years of having the aspirations of the people ignored and now we’re seeing that impulse come around again.

I won’t be exactly the same. I hope it will include the things we’ve learned from the last time around.


“In a way I’m coming from where I am going. I’m about to go on a long trip to Bolivia for field work for my degree. That’s where I’m coming from in that that’s mostly what I’m thinking about these days.”

“I’m coming from where I have been. I can’t decide if I’ve been more religious and am becoming less or the other way around.”

“I’m coming from the comfortable middle class and I want to head toward the upper class”

Another man along a column.

“We are all come from Allah and are returning to Allah.”

We are going to be married.”


“Basically, I was coming from a disaster lifestyle. Now I’m in tune. I’m just walking my faith now.”

“I’m going to a higher goal; I’m coming from a lower goal.”

“I’m coming from earth and going to heaven.”

Figure with coat and at (and a bit of tagging, unfortunately).

“I don’t know where I’m going. I’m lost; I’m aimless right now.”

“I’m not going anywhere in particular. I’m earning a living. I’m leading a life”

“I hope I’m going to a more peaceful frame of mind.

The children will be older.

There will be more space.”

“Well, it was here before and it’s here after and it’s going on.”

What I really liked about this artwork is that it got me moving. I found myself drawn to the next column, wondering if I’d find more artwork or more words. I was both delighted and saddened that mine seemed to be the only footsteps in the snow.

Original man, detail.

“I’m coming from a very full life.

I want to e able to expand what I know. I want to be able to maintain at age 70 my level of inquisitiveness.”

“I’m coming from home and I’m going to work.”

“I’m coming from work and I’m going home.”

Originally, I thought these statements were all from the same person or voice. That they were part of a single narrative. But on re-reading things now, it seems that whoever created this talked to a lot of different people. Possibly asking the questions “Where are you going? Where are you coming from?”

I really liked encountering this on my own. I’m not sure how long this has been here, as I usually only see the station in the evenings, when it’s dark. I liked that I found it on my way home, and that it made me reflect on my own travels – trying to figure out how I would answer the same questions.

And for you, reader?

Where are you coming from? Where are you going?

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Olivia Gude

    Check this out

    “Where Are You Going? Where Are You Coming From?

    In 1991 Gude stood at the same intersection with a tape recorder and a camera, asking passersby two questions: “Where are you going? Where are you coming from?” Her mural combines portraits of these residents and excerpts of their answers, from annoyed to polite, simple to profound. “

    Henry K. Reply

    • This is fantastic – thanks for the link, Henry!

      avoision Reply

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