UPDATE (4/11): #SurpriseArtShow is here to stay! Y’ALL, you’ve responded so positively to #SurpriseArtShow that Saxbys has asked us to leave the show up for the time being (it was supposed to come down yesterday). No word yet on exactly when it will have to come down, that’s dependant on their construction timeline, so it could be up for a few more days or a few more weeks. Either way, if you’ve yet to check it out and you want to – do so soon!
SO excited to announce #SurpriseArtShow today – a temporary public art exhibition I’ve curated and helped to pull together in partnership with the decidedly uplifting folks over at Saxbys.
We’re calling our exhibition the #SurpriseArtShow, because we quite literally popped it up overnight last night, at the corner of 18th and Chestnut streets, in the windows of a future Saxbys that’s currently under construction. That café, by the way, will be opening sometime this summer, so keep your eyes open for that.
The show features artwork by seven of my favorite Philadelphia-based artists who, quite frankly, are killing it right now: Amberella, Aubrie Costello, BLUR, Bruno Guerreiro, Joe Boruchow, Monica O, and Phobymo! The artwork will be on display for the next seven days (until Monday, April 10), and because it’s installed in the windows it will be viewable day-and-night.
Each of our seven artists has work for purchase, by the way – just click their names above to explore their shops and/or learn how to contact them for inquires… Support local artists, y’all!
As any frequent reader of this blog knows, I not only love but value art in the public space – free and accessible to all. And I’m so grateful to Saxbys for this opportunity. But of course they’d work with me and these artists to do something so inspired. According to their own mission statement, Saxbys aims to ‘Make Life Better’. Or, as they quite fittingly put it, “To fuel the day’s possibilities with our uplifting cafés filled with friendly faces, delicious drinks, and exceptional food.” Love it!
Saxbys gave us the space because, as they told me, their team loves to provide a lift to entrepreneurs of all types. The lift is a hat tip to their new logo, a hot air balloon rising from a coffee cup.
With this #SurpriseArtShow, I hope to surprise and delight unexpecting Philadelphians, to celebrate seven of our city’s most exciting artists, and to inspire thought and creativity abound.
Be sure to Instagram your favorite piece in the show using the hashtag #SurpriseArtShow… Love you, Philly!
More photos below… Read more…
Legendary Philly street artist Joe Boruchow has just installed the latest wheatpaste in his Trump-era resistance series. The piece, titled ‘Metamorphosis‘, is a freaking masterpiece of resistance art in my opinion, and you can check it out (for now) at 9th and Spring Garden streets!
The text above Joe’s wheatpaste, which reads “Based on shocking untold true events”, while perhaps quite fitting with the message of Joe’s work is in fact a line from the movie poster that’s under his wheatpaste.
See more work from Joe Boruchow around Philly by clicking here!
A BIG new collaborative wheatpaste just popped up at 5th and Bainbridge streets in Queen Village, the subject of which is climate change. Created by Plamen Veltchev (aka DENIED) and Doomed Future, each artist has expanded upon the inspiration for their collaboration on their individual Instagrams:
“Our ignorance towards global warming is one of our greatest failures! Resisting to accept sea level rise and defunding climate change research for political gain is leading only to our own apocalypse!” –DENIED
“No weapon is stronger than Mother Nature. Humanity’s demise will be spawned by our own hands.” –Doomed Future
Freaking LOVE this project!
This week I stumbled on a trio of relatively new wheatpastes in Kensington that address the effects of mass incarceration on mothers and their children. Located at Cecil B. Moore avenue and Hancock street, two of the three wheatpastes used the hashtag #UnbrokenByBars. That hashtag led me to a Google search where I learned that these wheatpastes are apart of a public art and storytelling project which creates works of art from the messages that previously incarcerated mothers of color shared with their children during their incarceration.
As the project’s website goes on to explain:
“Many women are incarcerated for non-violent offenses related to drugs or self-defense and have been victims of relational abuse or race-related violence and poverty. Women are the fastest growing prison population, but incarceration affects female migrants of color and Black-Americans at the highest rate.“
“All of the women of color who volunteered to participate in this project are working toward breaking the cycle of inter-generational incarceration in their families and are working toward futures free of prison through activism and self-care. The women share a common experience of being incarcerated while pregnant. Some were shackled on their way to childbirth and had officers in the delivery room, and their children were born in prison. We built friendships with these women and through a seven-month interview process, we generated portraits and quotations that celebrate each of their ongoing journeys and indivisible love that ties them together.”
“By using art as a social change agent, we are working with the mothers to bring their stories out from behind bars and into public spaces where Americans are forced to engage with the mothers and interact with the reality of the criminal justice system.“
Please check out the ‘Unbroken By Bars’ website – there’s so SO much more information there on this project and on each of these wheatpatses!
For me, it’s infuriating that – of all the issues that divide this country, the ENORMOUS problem of mass incarceration seemed to be one of the few issues that both Democrats and Republicans agreed on this past 2016 presidential election season. Yet, we’re nearly 100 days into the new President’s term and not a whisper has been spoken about criminal justice reform. How can we call ourselves the “the land of the free” and continue to fight for freedoms in other countries, when so many Americans – disproportionally so many Americans of color – are put away in private, for-profit prisons for minor, non-violent crimes? This is not only an insult to the American people, it’s an insult to logic and reason. We need to do better, and NOW.
Early last month, Philly street artists Ishknits and Blur hosted a feminist art workshop titled #SpeakUpPHL. The workshop offered participates the opportunity to create messages for the center of Blur’s now super well-known ‘Speak Up’ series (the mouths you see throughout this post), which the two host artists would then wheatepaste around town.
Well, that time has come! About two weeks ago I took these photos of some of the work from the #SpeakUpPHL workshop that Ishknits and Blur pasted up at 5th and Green streets in Northern Liberties and Frankford avenue and York street in Fishtown. The one in Fishtown, unfortunately, has since been buffed (or painted over, if you’re not familiar with that term).
Blur talks about the origins of her ‘Speak Up’ series on her website: “I dove into street art in the Fall of 2015. During that time my health plummeted in ways I never imagined. For months I quite literally could not speak, my words a sea of vowels. But a fire inside me ignited during that time, I had so much I wanted and needed to say. I demanded to be heard. Sick and tired of my old artistic outlets, I grabbed a pack of labels and it spilled out as if it was meant to be. Blur was created from desperation, a need to be heard. And while I continue on my path of healing, I’ll keep creating street art as a way to find my voice again. Hopefully I’ll inspire you to find yours too.”
See more below! Read more…
Always love new work by Philly-based street artist YOMI!
And today, we’ve got new work by YOMI in the photographs above that’s been created in collaboration with fellow local street artists: INDECLINE, the ‘Ignorance’ wheatepaste, and SNOD, the ‘Flint’ wheatepaste!
If you don’t know about YOMI by now, you absolutely should. As he writes about himself on his website’s bio page: “Born in Haskovo, YOMI is a Bulgarian artist who was influenced while growing up by Communist Propaganda posters, political graffiti, and environmental issues. His work often features social and political commentaries on human nature and how we, as a society, deal with every day challenges of life and death, peace and war, environmental catastrophes – cultural globalization.”
The work photographed below was created by YOMI alone, including his ‘Supreme Command Executive Orders’ wheatepaste, which as he explained to me in a text is a mockery of President Trump’s policies, social media behavior, and appointees.
Pussy Division elaborated on their installations with me this afternoon via email:
International Anti-Street Harassment Week (2nd to 8th of April) is a growing and global effort which aims to help create awareness around the causes and effects of street harassment, which is part of the larger concept of rape culture.
Pussy Division wanted to create a project which would be effective yet powerful, that is how we came up with the idea of mimicking ‘caution’ tape with different messages like “don’t comment on my body”.
We want people to realize that street harassment isn’t just inconvenient, but frightening and degrading. Our hope is that when people see the tape, they’ll relate the idea of caution with safety for those who are targeted by street harassment but also use it as a warning to not harass people in the street.
Starting this past Sunday evening (April 2), Pussy Division began putting up their anti-street harassment caution tape at various locations around South Philly, Fishtown, Northern Liberties, and West Philly. And they’ve told me they plan to continue to put the tape up around Center City, Old City, and other high-traffic areas across Philly throughout this week!