Continuing with yesterday’s theme of “What’s With That House?” let me tell you about a place right here in Chicago. Located at Barry & Monticello in the Avondale area, the multi-unit home is an ever-shifting art installation with murals painted in homage to El Salvador, Puerto Rico, and South Africa as well as revolutionaries, religious figures, and…believe it or not…Princess Diana (click the link if you want to see it, when I took my pictures she wasn’t up there yet). The building owner and proprietor of H&C Welding Co., Hector Alvarenga, believes nothing should be thrown out. He’s a scrap collector and welder who can turn discarded junk into art. In his words, “I love garbage.” In front of the house, between the sidewalk and the curb, a toilet and an old bathtub have become planters. He discovered a six-foot-tall concrete Statue of Liberty being dumped behind a church, he painted it and now it resides on the deck. Carefully arranged stuffed animals, toys, and figurines sit next to a plastic mushroom cloud and a metal cutout portrait of Che Guevara. And don’t worry…there’s more. An I-beam cross stands erect in the front yard along with a rainbow-hued wrought-iron fence. A giant American flag is painted on the garage. A nearby tree wears a garland of shoes filled with fake flowers. So next time you throw out an old pair of shoes, remember someone might use it as a vase. With images of Pope John Paul and Oscar Romero (a Catholic bishop from Alvarenga’s home country of El Salvador) there is almost a religious element to the place, kind of like the decorative altars found throughout Latin America. But whatever Mr. Alvarenga is trying to accomplish with his home, he is definitely a guy who is living the American dream. And even though some of his neighbors may not be thrilled about this example of Outsider Art, the display was recently approved by city inspectors. So check it out if you can.