Resident beautifies city with garage door murals


Zoe Malin/The Daily Northwestern

Teresa Parod is a lifelong painter. She paints garage door murals in Evanston.

Zoe Malin, Reporter

When Evanston resident Teresa Parod takes out the garbage in the alley behind her house, she’s often greeted by people photographing her garage door. It’s adorned with a colorful mural that depicts her house.

Across the alley, Parod’s neighbors’ garage doors are also painted. One is covered in zinnia flowers and another features the solar system. Parod creates all of the murals, and she said she aims to fill the once “lackluster” area with joy.

“I like that it’s unexpected,” Parod said. “I’m working to make an ugly place look nice.”

Parod is a lifelong artist and an art history instructor at Oakton Community College. She works in a variety of different mediums and said she likes making big public art pieces.

After noticing that his mother doesn’t typically show her pieces publicly, Parod’s son suggested she paint the family’s garage door a few years ago. Parod said she finally covered her garage door in brushstrokes of blue and green last summer.

Upon seeing the finished piece, Parod’s neighbors asked her to paint murals on their garage doors. Parod agreed. She painted sunflowers on the second garage door she worked on, and ever since, has received requests for murals from homeowners.

“Now I have a waiting list of people who want murals done,” Parod said. “People talk to me while I’m working, and conversations usually end with their name on my list.”

Each garage door mural takes Parod between two and 12 days to complete. She only works on the murals when the temperature is 50 degrees or above, since paint won’t set in cold conditions.

When people first ask Parod to paint their garage doors, she has them look at her website to find a theme they like. Parod bases the mural’s design on the chosen theme and draws a sketch before painting. She charges for the cost of materials, but said she doesn’t expect people to pay her personally. Parod sees her murals as a service to the neighborhood, filling it with vibrant, positive imagery.

Parod’s husband, Bill Parod, is also involved with the garage door art. He created an app that lays augmented reality scenes on top of his wife’s murals. For example, he animated black birds to fly in and out of a garage door mural of a neighbor’s dog. The app brings the murals to life, making each a digital landscape with video, sound and design elements. Bill Parod said people will eventually be able to download the app and see the augmented reality scenes he produced.

“These murals represent light and fun,” Bill Parod said. “When people see them, they always have a smile on their faces.”

Zoe Malin/The Daily Northwestern
Parod’s husband, Bill Parod, is also involved with the garage door art. He animated black birds to fly in and out of a garage door mural of a neighbor’s dog.

Expanding the reach of her art, Parod also painted a mural on a building located at 2504 Gross Point Rd. in Evanston. She dedicated the piece to her late brother. The mural was a community effort between Parod, her family and the Evanston community.

Parod also creates public art across the country. She put together a mural made from Mardi Gras beads in New Orleans and works on an ongoing outdoor mosaic in Fusterlandia, a village near Havana, Cuba. Parod said her main focus, however, is the garage door murals she continuously receives inquiries about.

“I’d like to paint every garage door in my alley,” Parod said. “I would love it if this became a fad.”

Courtesy Teresa Parod
Teresa Parod prefers creating public art. She painted a mural dedicated to her late brother at 2504 Gross Point Rd. in Evanston.

As Parod hoped, other Evanston residents have painted their garage doors. Artist Amanda Freund, owner of a gallery on Chicago Avenue, painted her garage door in 2016. Freund said her garage door was “banged up,” so she wanted to paint a floral mural on top. The mural not only hid the dents, but also beautified the structure.

“Adding a mural to your home raises the energy of the space,” said Freund. “It’s a visual investment.”

Courtesy Amanda Freund
Amanda Freund painted her garage door in 2016. The mural features a floral pattern.

While summer is months away, Parod already started designing the numerous garage doors she will paint during the warmer season. She plans to do murals in the alley behind her house, in the greater Evanston area and in Chicago.

“These murals make me happy, and I know they make other people happy, too,” Parod said. “I’m just so grateful people let me paint their garages.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @zoermalin

Related stories:
Cuban artist Eduin Fraga discusses new Dittmar exhibit ‘Images of My Experiences’
Local artists host ‘collective feeling’-inspired gallery during Evanston Made’s First Saturday event
Evanston Made engages local artists with Evanston public