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Join Me: Come Explore the Street Art, Murals – and More – of South Philadelphia

May 23, 2018

(Photo by Eric Dale: mural by Shira Walinsky)

At the end of this month‘s #StreetsDept2ndSat tour exploring The Gayborhood (photos here, if you’re curious) I asked the tours’ participants which of two neighborhoods they’d like to explore next…

Well, the answer was pretty unanimous: South Philly!

There’s SO much to see in South Philly from murals to street art to graffiti to stickers to some of the most important community arts organizations in the city. And it’s a part of the city I didn’t offer a tour of in 2017, so I’m excited to offer it this year.


And a quick side note on this year’s season so far: Thank y’all so much, the first two tours of this 2018 season have both sold out. I’m so pumped you’re liking these and how I’ve evolved them for this year. I’ve got more surprises in store for June’s tour. So I hope you’ll join me, and hey why don’t you tell a friend too! <3

Bear215’s New Mural Will Melt Your Dog Loving Heart

May 22, 2018

(Photos by Streets Dept Contributor Eric Dale)

In love with this new mural by Bear215 on Carpenter street between 7th and 8th streets in South Philly!

Completed in April, Streets Dept Contributor Eric Dale recently ran into the mural that is somehow only the first mural that Bear215 has created. Though we hear he’s already got a second one up and completed, which we’ll definitely be checking out soon.

(Cat lovers can redirect themselves here.)

Stunning New Mural by Alloyius McIlwaine in South Philly

May 18, 2018

Holy moly, this new mural from Philly-based artist, Alloyius McIlwaine, is just freaking incredible!

Late last week, I was fortunate enough to get an email from Alloyius saying he was in the midst of painting his largest mural to-date and he invited me out this past Monday to shoot his last day installing. The new mural is locate at the intersection of 2nd street and Washington avenue (you can’t miss it!)

I followed up with Alloyius afterwards over email to chat more about his work…

Streets Dept (Conrad Benner): Every time I see you on Instagram it seems like you’re painting somewhere new! Can you tell us some places you currently have murals around the world?
Alloyius McIlwaine: I’m trying to paint at least one mural in all 50 states, and at least one mural on every continent, so I’m currently on a bit of a world tour! Some of the places where I’ve painted murals include: Paris, France, Casablanca, Morocco, Samara, Costa Rica, Windsor, Ontario, Miami, L.A., New Orleans, Portland, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Detroit, Washington, D.C., Rehoboth Beach, DE, Camden, Chanhassen, Minnesota, Crete, Illinois, and of course, my many murals in Philly.

SD: You grew up in Philly, right? Where at? Did you go to school here, and did you study art?
AM: I grew up in North Philly around Broad and Erie. I went to Friends Select School for high school, and for college I went to Neumann University. I actually went to school for business, so I’m a self-taught artist! I had art courses in school like everyone else, but my university didn’t have an art major when I attended the school, so I took business courses to learn how to become a successful artist.

SD: How long have you been an artist? How long have you been creating murals?
AM: I’ve been an artist since I was three years old, but I’ve been painting murals professionally for about five years now.

SD: This is your biggest mural yet, right? What are the dimensions?
AM: Yes it is! I’ve done taller murals before, and I’ve done wider murals, but this wall is by far the largest as far as total square footage. It’s Approximately 67ft x 50ft.

Read more…

Nationally Acclaimed Graffiti Crew, The CDC​, to Host Two-Day, Pop-Up Exhibition in Fishtown This Weekend

May 17, 2018

An INCREDIBLE two-day, pop-up exhibition honoring legendary graffiti crew, The CDC, is coming to Fishtown this weekend… Y’all will not want to miss this!

Hosted by High Art Productions​, a Philly-based arts organization who specialize in pop-up art events and installations, the exhibition marks the official book release of ​Create Destroy Conquer, ​a 12 year retrospective based on the nationally acclaimed graffiti crew ‘​The CDC​’. The event will also be raising money for the medical expenses of one of the crew’s own who is currently in need of a kidney transplant.

High Art’s director and curator Terasina Bonanini emailed me some more details about the book and this weekend’s event:

“[The book] will highlight the art of lettering in graffiti culture, give depth to the crew’s history, explore their relationship with freights and showcase their growth as individual artists. This 200 page narrative tells the stories of young vandals – the friendships they develop, and the troubles they encounter while painting freights. Featuring CDC crew members:​ Mecro, Yuthe, Draft, Koyn, Bogus, DotM, Swine, Stoe, Alamo, Oter, Genoe, and Tacoe.”

“This exhibition will serve as a donation platform for one of the crew’s members who is in need of a kidney transplant. He is a loving husband and father, with another little one on the way. His kidney is only functioning at 16%, this means that if he does not find a living donor as soon as possible he will have to go on Dialysis. Our hope is that we can help him find a donor, and raise money for his medical expenses. We will be accepting donations at the event.”

Friday (5/18) from 6-10pm
Saturday (5/19) from 3-10pm

WHERE: 1537 N. Front Street (Front and Oxford streets)

Rain or shine, the exhibition will take place this Friday and Saturday ONLY. It’ll give you the opportunity to see some new pieces that The CDC crew has just put up. It’ll be your first chance to purchase their book. (The book will then be available online next week, and you can check out High Art’s website for more details about that.) And it’ll give you a chance to make a donation to the medical fund.

Hope y’all can come out and show your support!

Read more…

Stunning New Mural in Northern Liberties by Nile Livingston and Uriah Bussey

May 10, 2018

An awesome new temporary mural by a pair of Philly artists has popped up in Northern Liberties, and I’m loving it! The mural was created by the mentor/mentee duo of Nile Livingston and Uriah Bussey, and commissioned by Sunkist, who sent me to check it out and has partnered with me on this blog post! You can find the mural now through the end of June at the intersection of 2nd and George streets.  

“I appreciate how public artworks like murals are a platform for communication between a wide range of ideas and perceptions. It leaves us open to learning about who we are.” Nile responded when I asked why having art in the public space was important to her. This is now the second recent mural I’ve document for this blog by Nile; the other a tribute to James Baldwin. About their collaboration, Nile added, “I invited Uriah in because she’s talented and I love how thoughtful and expressive she is; there’s a sense of mutual regard and admiration between us.”

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Glossblack Paints New Series of #PhilaUnite Neighborhood Murals for the Sixers

May 7, 2018

(Photos by Streets Dept Contributor Eric Dale)

If you live in Philly, chances are you may have noticed a new series of neighborhood-rallying Sixers‘ murals that have been popping up around town. These ‘Phila Unite’ murals are the work of Philly-based graffiti and mural legend Glossblack, who with the help of fellow artist/muralist Evan Lovett painted his eighth mural in the series over this past weekend off South Broad street!

Now I know the Sixers are playing a make-or-break game tonight (so who knows where we’ll be by the time you read this,) but what I also know is that Philly has been LOVING these murals and posting about them all over Instagram. And in fact, the way they have been created makes them look and feel so much like neighborhood/Philly pride murals that I think they could easily last and be relevant between Sixers’ seasons or otherwise.

Interested to learn more, I chatted with Glossblack…

Streets Dept (Conrad Benner)First, I’m curious how you got involved with the 76s? Are you a basketball fan, have you been following this season?
Glossblack: The first job I did for the 76ers was in 2015, where I painted a mural for the interview room called The Low Post. It was for their partnership with Redbull. After that I did a few smaller jobs (custom basketball for auction, PHILA corn hole boards, etc) so when marketing came up with this neighborhood mural campaign I guess I was the obvious choice. I hate to say it but I don’t follow sports in general, but I’m definitely the dude that hops on the bandwagon when teams are doing well.

Read more…

NJ-Based Street Artist Pays Tribute to 9 Philly Creatives with Life-Sized Installations Around Town

April 26, 2018

Over the last two weeks, a New Jersey-based street artist with some Philly roots has been quietly installing life-sized wheatpaste tributes to Philly creatives all around town!

The artist is Sean 9 Lugo. According to his Instagram bio, Sean is an Asshole, a Brown Boy, and a Creator, in that order. He is also one of my favorite street artists to regularly visit Philadelphia!

Sean has been coming through Philly to install his signature humans-wearing-an-animal-mask wheatpastes around the city for at least a few years now. His artist statement reads: “Brown boy representing the duality of both Latin and American culture and experiences through masks that can either misconceive or stereotype perceptions.”

I was lucky enough to photograph Sean putting up a couple of wheatpastes one afternoon about two years ago. I was also lucky that Sean had my cell phone number, because last week he started to text me about this new series titled Clones of Illadelph, which is inspired by some (potentially) recognizable Philly creatives.

“It was based off people who motivated, inspired, and showed me love.” Sean responded, when I asked why he chose to create and install wheatpastes about nine Philadelphians.

On his website, Sean explains the project’s inspiration in more depth: “It was the fall of 1996, and I was starting my sophomore year of high school. One day after school I went to my homie Rene Figueroa’s house where he told me I had to listen to this track, ‘Clones,’ and after the first 4 bars I was hooked – a Roots fan for life. As the years passed my love for hip hop and art grew stronger. The moment I started putting up art in the city of Philadelphia I was shocked by how welcomed I was. I come from Hudson County, New Jersey where there are way more haters than supporters so I didn’t expect to get so much love from a city that I wasn’t from. William Penn knew what was up by calling it the City of Brotherly Love. That being said, Philly has a special place in my heart, and I wanted to give back to those who have motivated, inspired, and showed me love.”

Read more…

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