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New Bella Vista Yarnbomb by Nicole Nikolich Winks at Spring

January 13, 2020

Love this little blooming peek into spring by Philly street artist Nicole Nikolich (aka Lace in the Moon)! Featuring 12 crochet flowers, Nicole’s yarnbomb is located on the outer fence of Starr Garden Playground at 7th and Lombard streets in Bella Vista. And just around the other side of Starr Garden, you can also find Binding Things’ creature yarnbomb that was installed about a year ago and is still in great shape.

See other yarnbombs from Nicole Nikolich around Philly here!

Art at Mission Presents: “Open Up” by Chad States

January 10, 2020

Art at Mission is a new arts project that transforms Mission Taqueria’s courtyard into an experimental outdoor arts space! Curated by’s founder Conrad Benner, we use #ArtAtMission to build rotating, quarterly exhibitions in collaboration with Philly artists.

For Winter 2020, we’ll be featuring an evocative new light installation by artist Chad States, titled Open Up. A pulsing symbol of light and possibility exhibited at the start of the new decade and through the darkest months of the year, we’re hoping Chad’s work can offer solace and inspiration!

Artist Statement by Chad States:
“Open up. It’ll feel so good. Trust me. It’ll feel so good to do it. Go ahead. All your friends are talking about it. You know you want to try it, too. C’mon. You do. So go on. You’ll enjoy it. You will. You know you will. You have wanted to for awhile now. Just relax. It’s easier than you think. Give in to it. Don’t be shy. Open up. Stop worrying about what others might think. Stop worrying about what others might say. Do it. You’ll be surprised by how good it feels. Just open up. Let someone in. Let the whole world in.”

Be sure to join us for the for the exhibition’s opening party, y’all won’t wan to miss this…

Open Up by Chad States – Exhibition Opening
WHEN: Wednesday, January 22, 2020 from 5-8pm
WHERE: Mission Taqueria (1516 Sansom Street, 2nd Floor)
**Light snacks will be available, families welcome**

Hope to see y’all soon!

Philly Street Art Interviews: Fear as Inspiration, with Sticker Artist As Above So Below

January 9, 2020

Welcome to Season 3 of Streets Dept’s newest series of street artist interviews, created in partnership with Philadelphia’s own unofficial official street art museum, Tattooed Mom. Each month, Streets Dept Contributor Eric Dale will sit down with one local street artist to ask them about their work. Together, we’ll learn more about the incredible artists getting up around Philly. (Photos also by Eric Dale.)

What are you afraid of? Death? Fake news? The paranormal? From ghosts to government conspiracies, As Above So Below is trying to keep that fear in your subconscious—not to scare you, but to help you recognize it and face it.

Featuring a creepy character and odd little phrases, As Above’s stickers have been contributing to the gritty aesthetic of Philadelphia street art for a decade now. Their creator has too: even before he was As Above So Below, he put on several shows for the Sticky Bandits sticker crew at a bar where he used to work. Now, he’s a fixture at Philadelphia street art events and shows.

We sat down recently to talk about fear, conspiracy, the occult, and sticker art. So open your mind to the unexplainable, and read on!

Streets Dept’s Eric Dale: Thanks for coming by for an interview!
As Above So Below: My pleasure.

SD: So first of all, I want to give you props for being a pillar of the sticker art community. After 10 years on the scene, you’re still constantly making hand-drawn stickers, actively trading and collaborating with other artists, and showing up to help out with Characters Welcome and other events. What has kept you going?
AASB: Community, I think. The introduction of social media is a big part of it. Before there was that style of internet connection, there was, like, AOL rooms—I mean, even 4chan existed before then too—but it wasn’t to any pinpointed area. It wasn’t until Instagram, where hashtags to a certain city would open up other people’s work.

That and hoofin’ it, too, and recognizing things. I had an eye for that stuff, every since I was a kid. I would take a trolley to 69th Street, and then from 69th Street I would take the Market-Frankford, and I would see all the rooftops. And as a kid, it was like wooaaah, look at that one. And it was right by the old Sears building—they destroyed it—but there was like SUROC, RAZZ… all these old, really hard-hittin,’ kinda post-Cornbread-ish era, like, late 80s–early 90s type of stuff. Yeah, I was obsessed with that.

And then of course the whole South Street culture, being here when you’re a 16-year-old buying your first bowl, and 7-inch record, and pair of Doc Martens. Hahaha! It’s definitely not the street it used to be. It’s kinda sad. It’s symbiotic with the whole technology thing: for everything that social media opened up for art, at the same time, e-commerce destroyed retail. So the technology giveth, and the technology taketh away.

SD: Your artist name is quite unusual—in its length, and that it’s a phrase—how did you come to be called As Above So Below? Read more…

Streets Dept Podcast – SN 3, EP 6: Erika Rubio And Designing Downtown Phoenix

January 7, 2020

Welcome back to the Streets Dept Podcast, y’all. This season of the podcast is our first-ever road trip season! That means that while the episodes at the beginning and end of this season will be recoded here in Philadelphia at Radio Kismet where I’m based, the middle of this season (seven episodes total) was recorded on a recent road trip from Phoenix, Arizona to Denver, Colorado talking with some of the creative minds from those states.

In today’s episode, we’ll be talking with Erika Rubio! A life-long Phoenician, Erika is the Stakeholder Engagement Manager for Downtown Phoenix. As many people know, for the last 10 years or so, Philadelphia and Phoenix have been in this dance for title of the United States’ 5th largest city when it comes to population. That’s in large part due to Phoenix’s growth. And Erika’s work with the city’s downtown improvement district seeks to build on that growth employing public art and smart urban design, among other tools. We talk about it all in this really interesting conversation that I think a lot of city lovers will particularly enjoy.

Check out my conversation with Erika Rubio below, or on any major podcast streaming platform by searching “Streets Dept Podcast”!

Be sure to subscribe to the Streets Dept Podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PlayStitcher, or any major podcast streaming platform to receive new episodes as soon as they’re published, and please feel free to rate and write a review of the podcast on those platforms to help others find it. (Truly, rating and reviewing podcasts, particularly on Apple Podcasts, helps us so SO much, so thank you for doing that.)

Season 3 of the Streets Dept Podcast is brought to you by our brilliant sponsors at the Spring Arts district, Elfant Wissahickon Realtors, and Kismet Cowork! Each episode is mixed and edited by our producer Mike Mehalick, and each Philadelphia episode of this season is recorded at Radio Kismet!

Listen to past episodes of Season 3 here:
SN 3, EP 1: Ernest Owens
SN 3, EP 2: Jane Golden
SN 3, EP 3: Christopher Plant
SN 3, EP 4: Jose Acevedo
SN 3, EP 5: Antoinette Cauley

“This Is The Sign You’ve Been Looking For” by Nero

January 7, 2020

New wheatpaste by Philly-based street artist Nero, found on Schuylkill Banks stairway between Market and Chestnut streets! The artwork reads, “This is the sign you’ve been looking for.”

Art Painted On Box Originally Left for Trash Nears 3 Month Birthday

January 6, 2020

This week I spotted a box, what appeared to be a shipping container left out for trash day, but with a drawing on it. The drawing depicts a figure with shoulder-length hair and red lips and text saying “I don’t fit in this box”.

I found the box at 4th and Fitzwater streets, outside Paradigm Gallery + Studio. It made me smile, so I photographed it. When I got home to edit my photos for this post I noticed some more, much smaller text: the date (I’m guessing) that it was painted, 10/18/19; and the Instagram handle of the artist.

The artist, it turns out, is Brooklyn-based Sara Erenthal. On her website, the artist’s bio reads: “Sara Erenthal is a self-taught multi-disciplinary artist whose work focuses on themes of displacement, survival, and liberation. Born into an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family, she left home at 17 to avoid an arranged marriage and has spent the next two decades creating art and traveling the world. She works across mediums such as painting, sculpting, and performance, often integrating everyday materials into her process. When not in her studio, Erenthal can be found working on the streets, reinventing discarded objects and painting provocative portraits.”

I contacted one of the owners of Paradigm Gallery, Sara McCorriston, to learn if there was any reason this piece was outside her gallery. Sara confirmed that the box was left out for trash, but that the artist used it as her canvas fairly quickly after that and no one’s touched it since. Sara added that if anyone particularly liked the work and wanted to claim it for themselves that there’s nothing stopping them. The box isn’t attached to the wall or sidewalk.

Now, I’m not sure if it’s the post-holiday quiet or what, but I really enjoyed bumped into this work. Its scale, its use of discarded materials, its simple design, it all just worked for me!

SEPER and Sean 9 Lugo Collaborate for Awesome New South Philly Mural

December 29, 2019

New collaborative mural by SEPER and Sean 9 Lugo, located at 12th and Christian Streets in South Philly! As best I can tell from Instagram, the mural seems to be about four or five weeks old. Absolutely love this, y’all!

Be sure to click here to read our 2019 interview with SEPER, and click here to see more work from Sean 9 Lugo over the years around Philly. 

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