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Streets Dept’s Top Posts of 2014

December 23, 2014

Every year around this time I like to pull together a list of the most read/viewed posts of that year. It gives me a chance to not only reflect on the year, but helps me put the year in some perspective with regards to what y’all are interested in. Hope you enjoy…

TOP ART MOMENTS OF 2014

10) Pyramid Oracle Installs in North Philly and Northern Liberties

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Had the pleasure of meeting and shooting New York-based (for now) artist, Pyramid Oracle, in September as he put up some new work in North Philly and Northern Liberties… Check out all the photos HERE!

9) Blek Le Rat Visits Philly!

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That time the Father of Stencil Graffiti put up in Midtown Village.

8) But Really Though: Why Was This Wall Buffed?

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Simple question, not so simple answer… Read the whole story HERE.

7) New Ben Volta Mural Outside Union Transfer

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So good! This stunning new Ben Volta mural went up last May outside Union Transfer at 11th and Spring Garden thanks to Mural Arts.

6) Butter And Salmon Says “Hi” 

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Love love LOVE all the work Butter And Salmon has put up this year!

5) An Equally Excellent and Rare SEPTA Train Burner

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(Photo by Damon Landry)

A SUPER rare sight, Philly photographer Damon Landry spotted this SEPTA rail train car with an an end to end burner back in January. As Damon explains on his Tumblr, these are usually buffed before the paint even drys!

Not for nothing, I think it’d be cool if the city/SEPTA commissioned a handful of rotating graff artists to wrap a few trains every now and then.

4) The Case for Graffiti Pier

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A little piece I wrote over the summer giving my two cents on how and why the city should protect this AMAZING public space as the area around it gets more and more developed… Read the whole article HERE!

3) Could There Soon Be A Second Magic Gardens in Philly? Inside Isaiah Zagar’s Rarely Seen Watkins Street Studio!

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Tucked inside a former two-story parking garage in South Philly, today lives the nearly complete studio of one of Philadelphia’s most esteemed and exciting artists, Isaiah Zagar… Check out ALL the photos HERE! (Just incredible.)

2) My Thoughts on the Defacing of the New Shepard Fairey Mural in Fishtown

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This past summer Shepard Fairey (aka Obey Giant) joined up with Mural Arts to install a big new mural on Frankford avenue in Fishtown, the first of three planned in the city over the next year. (Side note: Shepard even jumped a few times for one of my #PhillyJumps Instagram photos. Very nice dude.)

Shortly after the mural was finished some super sloppy tags went up over it. This was more or less expected, as the Fairey mural outside The Rocket Cat Cafe (just a few blocks away) was defaced, and nearly every Obey paste and sticker that went up while he was in town was torn down/picked apart almost immediately. So, in the midst of it all, I offered my opinion, which you can read HERE.

Shortly thereafter, local blog LOLadelphia wrote a critique on me, and offered their opinion on Fairey in Philly, which I also responded to: read HERE.

Long story short, some people feel Fairey’s a sellout, some think he’s not a bad model for how to make a living off your art. I think this whole situation is just another reminder that you’re not going to get anywhere if you waste your time trying to tear other people down. Focus on yourself and your art, do great work in great spots, then watch the opportunities start to knock. (I know that’s incredibly boiled down, but it’s a super simple version of what I believe: work hard, work smart, stay positive.)

1) Kid Hazo Gives Those Visit Philly Ads A Run for Their Money

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Taking a playful stab at those ubiquitous “XOXO” Visit Philly ads, Kid Hazo created a series of re-imagined “XOXO” posters and installed them in heavily touristed areas of Center City… Check out all the photos HERE! (It should absolutely be noted that Visit Philly responded to Kid Hazo’s pieces perfectly!)

This now the 2nd year in a row Kid Hazo has topped my list of top street art posts (last year it was for ticketing the PPA!) Hazo is clearly on a role the last year and half or so, and I’m super excited to see where he takes things next year.

BONUS POSTS!

11) Cera Saves the Day: Artist Puts Up Inspiring Pastes All Over the City

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Absolutely LOVING Cera‘s work this year… Check out all the photos HERE!

12) My Dog Sighs Installs All Around Philly

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Invited to Philly by the HAHA x Paradigm art project in September, UK-based artist, My Dog Sighs, put up a TON of really lovely work all over the city… Check it all out HERE!

TOP URBEX MOMENTS OF 2014

5) Ruin Porn Photographs North Philly’s St. Bonaventure Church Amid Its Demolition

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(Photo by Ruin Porn)

A collection of truly incredible photos from her trip inside North Philly’s St. Bonaventure church amid its demolition, the constantly inspiring Ruin Porn sent me THESE photos back in May!

4) Inside Bok: The Bright Future Envisioned For One of Philadelphia’s Abandoned Public Schools

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In October I was afforded the rare opportunity to explore one of Philadelphia’s recently abandoned public schools by local visionary Lindsey Scannapieco, who offered her inspiring plan for the GIGANTIC 7-story building in South Philly… Check out all the photos, and more about her plan HERE!

3) Inside New Jersey’s Abandoned Greystone Psychiatric Hospital with Zhenya Grinshteyn

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AMAZING photos last January from photographer Zhenya Grinshteyn exploring the Greystone Psychiatric Hospital in Morris Plains, New Jersey… Check out all the photos HERE.

2) Inside 3 Recently Abandoned Philly Public High Schools with Austin Hodges

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(Photo by Austin Hodges)

Not only is this a sad/surreal reflection of the state of Philadelphia’s devastatingly underfunded public school system, but it’s the 2nd of 5 of my “top urbex posts of 2014.” That means two things: one, there are enough abandoned public schools in Philly to have multiple posts like this in a single year, and two, that you all care so deeply about this issue enough to click/share these posts so much.

The issue of chronic underfunding aside, Austin Hodges‘ photos are simply unbelievable… See them all HERE.

1) Exploring Abandoned Poconos Resorts with Matt Hurst and Katie Rey

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(Photos by Matt Hurst and Katie Rey)

Beautifully poignant photos from two fantastic Philly photographers, Matt Hurst and Katie Rey, last spring exploring a few abandoned resorts around the Poconos… Check out all the photos HERE.

Side note: Took some of my own photos this year as well after (literally) stumbling onto an abandoned resort while on a little vacation… And you can check out those photos HERE.

BONUS POSTS!

Cory J Popp Premiers New ‘Wastelands’ Series Documenting Abandoned Philadelphia, Episode I Features Exploration with Me

SUPER excited this September to be featured in the premier of Cory J Popp’s 4-part series about urban exploration titled ‘Wastelands.’ Such an amazing filmmaker. Cory’s got a bright bright future!

SOME OTHER TOP MOMENTS OF 2014

3) Look What Happens When You Renovate Instead of Demolish!

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The story of one Fishtown church turned beautiful home… Check out all the photos HERE!

2) 5 Ways To Improve The Already Amazing Schuylkill River Boardwalk

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Five ways to build on the existing boardwalk over the next few months/years to make it even better… Read HERE.

1) #SEPTA247

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In February I started a petition asking SEPTA to return 24/7 train service for the Market-Frankford El and Broad Street Line Subway. Within a few days the petition got a couple thousand signatures and Philly media (God bless ’em) pushed SEPTA for a response. Quickly thereafter SEPTA announced that reinstating late-night train service for the El and Subway had been something they had been thinking about, but that the success of this petition helped to show them that riders really wanted it, boasting their confidence. They then announced they would test all-night train service Friday and Saturday nights throughout that summer. After the summer, of course, SEPTA announced that the test pilot was a huge success, and that all-night El and Subway train service over the weekends was here to stay!

As a kid who grew up in Philly, grew up working late-night jobs that ended well after the trains stopped, this is such an important and progressive move for the entire city, and for me personally. Truly, everyone benefits from better public transportation options. So proud of my city and of SEPTA for taking a chance on this idea, and for creating positive change that looks to improve and inspire Philly’s future.

Check out some of the “top” lists from previous years:

Top 10 Street Art Moments of 2013

Top 10 Urban Explorations of 2013

Top 10 Street Art Moments of 2012

Top 10 Street Art Moments of 2011

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