Skip to content

New Series of Philly Street Art Tile Installations Call for Trump Impeachment

August 6, 2018

If you’re a perceptive person, or someone (like me) always on the look out for street art, you may have started to notice a series of three tiles popping up around various Philly intersections over the last few months.

The tiles, from a distance, appear to spell the word “Mom.” Or at least they did to me, though I really might need glasses. But as you get closer, it becomes clearer that the tiles read “M,” then depict an image of a peach, and finally “him.” All of it created with orange paint. Said aloud or in your head, the tiles read “M-peach-him,” or “Impeach him!” Given the political climate and the near constant news of the Russia Investigation, it doesn’t take long to piece together that this is a call to impeach President Trump.

Soon after beginning the “Mpeachhim” street art series, the artist reached out to me over Instagram. She told me where to find installations as she installed them, including the ones documented for this post at 10th and South Street, Lombard and Broad streets, and Bodine and Market streets.

Curious to learn more about the project, I emailed the artist, who wishes to remain anonymous, and the following is her response:

“While I dabble in mosaic murals, this is my first street art. The ‘Mpeachhim’ tile project is an act of political desperation. Over the past winter after each morning bout of reading the newspaper sent me, like many, into anguish, I began to fantasize about making and placing these tiles. Everyone around me was depressed and the despondency was contagious. We know that genocides and lesser evils happen because decent folks, feeling hopeless, quit paying attention. So, I wanted to do something that was part of a circulating script about alternatives to the present, that this dark moment is not something to adjust to, that we must keep vigilant against numbness.”

“Do I think it could happen? Surely not when the majority of Congress has checked their spines at the door. But that could change and if it does this message must still be floating about–if only in front of gutters for downcast eyes. And by the way, every worry about Pence has already happened. Nothing is impossible. Who would have believed that we could convince a large urban population to stoop down and scoop up dog shit on a regular basis? But we did. Worse, who could have imagined that we would come a hairs breath away from women losing the right to choose (and that is exactly where we are now,) that in the face of climate transformation we’d have a president who cancelled a global agreement to minimal confront it, that a self-confessed sexual predator who racializes most policy issues would be deciding who could and could not enter this country or keep children at their sides. No, I have no doubts about the appropriateness of my message, but I crawl around on curbs because I want to feel less lonely and isolated and to be part of some resistance to this astonishing demolition of our already ridiculously imperfect democracy.”

“How? I made the tiles from clay, then bisque fired, glazed and then high fired. I didn’t want them to be ugly or angry (though I am) but little whimsical reminders that solidarity matters. I also wanted something more or less permanent–so that a few at least might last as visual reminders that many of us were trying, in our ways to be human. I frivolously used six glaze colors on the peaches and even then some folks still read them as oranges. Alas. I carved a linoleum stamp of the orange to speed up production but don’t have my own kiln and so had to follow someone else’s schedule. I worked over about 4 months to develop about 45 sets. But I was also waiting for warmer weather to begin as thin-set requires a minimum temperature of 50 degrees at night. So I waited until the very first warm night in April to start. I also wanted it dispersed across as many neighborhoods as I could easily include and that was challenging as I didn’t always know the hot spots so just looked for flowing bodies.”

“Installation: I have two methods. One is to sit and pretend I (or we if a friend goes along) am drawing a building in front of me. I mix up mortar in small bags before hand and apply it at the site. I conceal the work with cardboard until I am finished. Since cars are often driving close I sit on the curb leaned over and can’t really see what I’m doing. I only see the mess as I walk away. The other is where I work from inside my car with the door slightly open reaching down–that is the easiest but double parking is often tricky.”

“Reception: I’ve become aware of how much hunger there is out there for these visual messages. At several sites there are ‘peach protectors’ who are very attached to looking at them from their store/business windows and love seeing people take selfies (including an 80 year old woman who got on hands and knees for her photo.) Also, when the tiles were censored with paint (happening a lot recently) they take it upon themselves to clean them with solvent. So several have been restored frequently. I was especially moved by the recent collab with Hope Hummingbird whose manifesto of hope with resistance resonates so wonderfully. She has attached her hummingbirds to various of the sites and will we will continue this ‘resistance with hope’ collab in the future. Many street artists have these wonderful encounters–but they were all new to me and so healing.”

The artist ended her email mentioning that while she’s Philly-based (as is the project) that she’s been getting emails from folks in San Francisco and Florida (so far) asking for her to send them tiles to install in their hometowns, so this project could very likely grow in the future.

Thanks so much to Mpeachhim for the great work and thoughtful response to my inquiry… Feel free to follow her on Instagram to learn of new and old locations!

P.s. Fuck calling your establishment “Illegal Tacos.” It’s not funny. It’s not clever. HOW has this place stayed open as long as it has?! Please join me in signing this petition asking them to change their name.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 7, 2018 1:52 pm

    I saw one of these in Fairmount right near Eastern State Penitentiary. It’s very clever.

  2. xoxo permalink
    August 8, 2018 4:56 pm

    How about street art that spells out “vote during midterms”?

Trackbacks

  1. Philly Street Art Interviews: The Aftermath of 2016 and the Birth of Hope Hummingbird | Streets Dept

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: