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This 3D Chicago-Flag Mosaic Made By CPS Students Is A Work Of Civic-Pride Genius

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 20, 2017 4:59PM

With due respect to Chicago's pothole artist, we may have some competition for favorite mosaic artists: the Computer Science students of Jeff Solin at Lane Tech College Prep.

The incredible, Chicago-flag mosaic is the collaborative final result of an end-of-year project for students of Solin. With Chicago's (perfect) flag as a base, each of Solin's 126 students was assigned one tile and one "main tool" from the classroom's maker's-paradise lab. Tools included 3D carvers, 3D printers and laser cutters, but could be supplemented with all kinds of goodies, ranging from power tools to cardboard and tape. "Anything you can use to make something with," Solin told Chicagoist.

Preferring to keep his projects flexible where they can be, Solin didn't give the kids too much direction as far as content of their particular tile. But it being the city's iconic flag, he nudged them towards a Chicago-centrism (hence tiles like Wrigley Field and Crown Fountain).

"I asked [students] to keep in mind the beautiful, different people and different communities in Chicago, and take advantage of that," Solin told Chicagoist. Not everybody followed the advice, as evidenced by one video game-related tile and a random Eiffel Tower. But it all adds to the idiosyncrasy.

Solin—a 15-year teaching vet and former software engineer—said he's "amazed" by what his students produce in the classroom lab, which Lane Tech had built about three years ago with Solin's specific design input. Indeed, a rundown of recent Lane Tech Makers projects is a roll call of truly inspired work, ranging 3D print towers to new fidget-spinner concepts to the school's localized version of Chicago's ambitious data node project, Lane of Things.

Solin, said he hopes to be able to take the 60” x 40” flag-mosaic stunner on display around the city at some point. In the meantime, you can check out the jaw-dropper above and read more about the project here.