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Studio Visit: Ephemeroh

August 22, 2017

Welcome to Studio Visit, a new Streets Dept interview series that will explore Philly-area artists and the spaces they work in!

To kick off this new series, today we’ll be interviewing up-and-coming Philly street artist Ephemeroh and touring his Kensington studio, then joining him as he installs of one of his latest wheatpastes…

“I decided to do street art about two years ago after moving from West Philly to West Kensington. My roomate at the time, Pyramid Oracle, was a street artist and he put me on to it.”

Ephemeroh has easily become one of Philly’s most exciting-to-watch new street artists over the last couple of years. His painterly, abstract style is unique amongst our city’s current roster of talented street artists, and as any reader of this blog knows there are many talented street artists right now. And while Ephemeroh is relatively new to putting his art on the street, he’s been an artist most of his life. Consistently active for the last 12 years, he even spent three of those years as a visual studies major at the University of Pennsylvania before dropping out.

“I knew nothing about street art when I began putting my work up. I was excited about the idea of changing a public space, creating a new way of seeing something familiar. I was thinking about Bruce Nauman‘s work, the corridor installations in particular. Jeff Wall’s Picture for Women was another one.” [Links added by Streets Dept]

If you’ve been following Ephemeroh’s work, you have likely noticed a recurring theme, the depiction of an opened window with a curtain blowing in the wind. I asked Ephemeroh about this:

“About 5 years ago I was scraping and painting windows for most of the summer, so I was thinking a lot about windows. That experience informed the window pieces. You could say the window is a metaphor for my work and its relation to the natural world. I’m interested in the relationship between interior and exterior spaces and how it can be represented visually, so the window is perfect. As a mediator, the window designates space, requiring viewers to determine where they are, inside looking out, or outside looking in. Over the past year I’ve reinterpreted the window several times in conversation with that question.”

When asked about his name and how he created his street art alias, Ephemeroh replied:

“I interned at the ICA for a year while studying at Penn and a big part of my job there was sorting through documents or ephemera from previous shows in the archive. Ephemeroh is derived from the word ephemera defined as ‘printed matter of passing interest’ or ‘a short-lived thing’ (American Heritage Dictionary). I felt like it was an appropriate moniker for the work I was putting on the streets.”

So, what’s next for Ephemeroh?

“I’ve been working on a collaborative project with Strictly Featured for the past few months. We’ll be dropping the collection I designed at Tattooed Mom on September 10th. Now that all the designs are in, I’ve had a chance to step away from the computer and paint. I’m working on found materials, putting together a series of pieces. A show is in the works.”

And now it’s time for Five Quick Questions! I’ll be ending each Studio Visit post with a lighting round of questions which seeks to ask the artist about their inspirations and their thoughts on the world around them. So, without further ado…

Five Quick Questions with Ephemeroh
1) What’s your favorite TV show right now?

2) What’s the last book you read, or book you’re currently reading?
The S-Man by Mark Caine. It was given to me and I’ve been skimming, so trippy.

3) Are you pro- or anti-Broad Street median parking?
Anti, medians should be pocket parks.

4) If you could grab dinner with one artist living or dead, who would it be and why?
Walter Benjamin. I’d like to hear his take on snapchat.

5) Are you pro- or anti-removal of the Rizzo statue?
I think the statue should stay and be altered to include a phallus protruding from his crotch, wrapping underneath his legs and into his backside.

Thank you so much to Ephemeroh for opening up and participating in Streets Dept’s first Studio Visit!

See pervious work by Ephemeroh around Philly here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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