Cheryl Vargas

There’s a giant black pineapple that’s been growing in Oak Park for the last several months, right next door to the main post office on Lake Street. It’s nearly 9 feet high and weighs 250 pounds. It is entirely inedible, though. 

Cheryl Vargas, a Chicago painter, sculptor and graphic artist, said that the pineapple is her creation “El Gran Pina Negra,” or “Great Black Pineapple.” The sculpture is a collaboration between Vargas, her Oak Park-based assistant Al Sutherland and Studio 928, an art studio that Vargas owns. 

Vargas said that the company who commissioned the work is a “secret client.” During the company’s San Diego conference, each of its 150 team members crafted a stick man made from copper (12,000 feet worth). Those stick men comprise the black pineapple’s giant body. 

The rest of the sculpture is made from 200 empty soda bottles and is 95 percent recyclable or renewable, Vargas said. 

“The project was inspired by the Antiguan black pineapple, said to be the world’s sweetest pineapple,” the artist said, adding that the sculpture also represents the company’s logo. 

On Aug. 13, the work of art was crated and shipped off to the company’s Phoenix headquarters. 

Michael Romain 

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