By Vince Gerasole

(CBS) — A few cans of paint in a Chicago parking lot. They don’t look like anything special. But combined with world-renowned artists and South Loop buildings, they lead to beautiful creations.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports.

It’s fair to say the work of Collin van der Sluijs towers above the rest.

“You can’t paint canvases this big, so I get walls to paint this big,” he says.

On a high lift — with everyday exterior paints and spray cans – the Dutch artist travels the world painting murals on walls. Really big empty walls.

“If you have the right proportions for the things you want to paint, I think you can paint any surface,” van der Sluijs says.

But not just any image. He tries to leave behind a local story. The redheaded woodpecker here is an endangered Illinois bird, on a building bridging the gap between man and nature.

Spearheaded by Columbia College, 18 new wall art projects are going up this week on Wabash near the school. They join 20 others debuting in the past three years, transforming the college and the neighborhood.

“We get lost thinking art belongs in museums and galleries and frames — who said that?” Columbia College’s Mark Kelly says.

If you haven’t been there recently, take a stroll past the big walls on Wabash. They are creating a creative canyon and turning the area into an arts destination.

Vince Gerasole