Phantom Hand; Evil Gods and False Idols

The latest Phantom Hand show, called Mythology and the Forgotten Gods, brought a full wall of new art to the gallery. The group show was curated by mythology and creature enthusiast Anthony Pedro. There were new pieces by Jeffro Kilpatrick, Jeff Daniels, Mike BukowskiJeanne D’Angelo, and the fantasy stylings of genre master John Moriarty.

Jeanne D'angelo

Jeanne D'angelo

The show coincided with the news from the  Arts on South program that the gallery was going to get an extension for another four months of art. So the mood was up all around.  “We got extended, yeah,” said Moo Noo, artist and Phantom associate. “It’s awesome, we’ll ride the summer, try to make this summer really great, Armageddon may or may not happen, its gonna heat up, people are gonna be walking around. We might as well have a great place to show art.”

Anthony Pedro

Anthony Pedro and friend

Even the cheer got to Shawn Hileman, founding member of Masthead Print Shop and Gallery who gave a few prints away, including giving me the “I Want to Have Adventures With You” piece I had in last weeks post on the Masthead Vice Show slideshow. I had my eye on it. What a guy.

The show went well, thanks to the great Friday night foot traffic. I would tell you how much but the thanks to the faulty clicker skills of Fred Grabosky the numbers were all off. “It definitely went as I expected” said Anthony Pedro. “It was a beautiful Friday night, and there was a lot of quality art up, so I knew a lot of people were going to come through.”

The room is set up so that the new show is by the door and in the back there are the remnants of the other shows, and thanks to the majority of them being prints, there is no

The new mythology themed wall.

The new mythology themed wall with cyclops

bottom to the barrel. But the room this time around was Anthony Pedro’s , and he caught some flack for having all the pictures lining up at the top, except for one lonely Cyclops by Christian “Patch” Patchell. ” It was something I just wanted to do different, I was going for the straight across and then the Cyclops honestly, see how its got kinda just a half a body, its all the way up there so I was thinking that it’s a tall Cyclops. It’s like the head, the body, then the feet.” Personal preferences aside everything went well, and the future is going to be filled with art. “Everybody has networked, we all know each other, so you get to know more of the city crew,” said Moo Noo It’s like this guy is at this gallery, this guy shows at that gallery. It really makes everything more cohesive, it becomes more of a community when everybody comes here and gets together.”

Check out the sights from the show:

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most prints are from the new show but a few were too good to not pass along.


Arts on South Project Gives Philly Artists Space to Grow

         The Arts on South project is a program that loans unrented stores to local artists to help show their artwork. They have a myriad of projects , including a writers workshop, a few galleries and a skill share cycling space called The Bikery, with community service projects, bike art and sometimes music. “ Ideally , Arts on South is not about helping a certain type of art, but wanting to help disenfranchised artists. The gallery scene can be hard to get into,” said Amanda Cameron, Arts on South coordinator. The program is a project of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, started by award winning mural artist Isaiah Zagar.

          Art in Philadelphia is exploding on walls and clothes and arms and legs all over the city. Most every place has a group of people who dedicate much of their waking existence to creating works of color and shape. But the difference is if these artists have a place where they go beyond their circles and reach an audience that clamors for it. Like many cities, Philadelphia has a young vibrant collection of artists with full portfolios and time to kill. Depending on their ability to show their work, they will either create in seclusion or be apart of a community that could almost exist alone through sheer will. With Arts on South they don’t have to start from scratch.

           The Arts on South program provides spaces for the best bid on how to use the space. The winning bid gets to put their plan in motion, usually culminating in a new space for local artists to not just show, but sell their art.  Phantom Hand, a gallery on South Street, shows the art, and  because the art there are prints or illustrations, they can be sold at a small price. Not only getting artists exposure, but putting it in people homes. “ The prints are great because they are affordable”, says Phantom Hand artist and gallery hand Anthony Pedro. “Someone can come in and actually leave with something, its surprising who is into it”.

           The program caters to a common sense idea: empty space should be filled with art. “ Non-traditional art spaces are important.” Said Cameron. With many schools cutting art budgets and putting more attention in the classroom elsewhere. Arts on South helps provide opportunities for young students. A non-profit organization staffed by volunteers, educators, writers and film makers, called the Mighty Writers. They help kids in workshops, lessons and writing programs, including one-on-one time with instructors.

        As much as it is difficult time for some, educators and artists are finding time and support for some of their more important projects. “Philly has a very supportive art scene that I didn’t see in Boston or LA,” said Cameron. “Its a young, working class art scene. Cost of living has a lot to do with it. Here people really get to push their art.” Sadly in many major cities there are empty spaces, and there is no lack of people willing to fill it with their ideas of powerful or informative art. Hopefully in the future people can utilize unrented spaces like Arts on South has and will. Because wherever there are people and paint, wall space is always coveted.


Alright, hello, my name is Nick Russo, and I’m in the business of documenting happenings. It turns out that I’ve run face first into art all my life… It’s been a journey finding what I want in it, and Im finally at my destination. I will fill this space with the most free-form interviews, profiles of painters, illustrators and printmakers, street colors, gallery events, medium explorations, and even some art of my own, maybe. My mission is to bring you this kind of colorful brooding art that is trying to explode in the greater Philadelphia area and beyond. I will try to put aside any urges to hoard knowledge of these awesome creations. I would elaborate, but I guess you will just have to come back…

Coming soon. . .  A recap of the Phantom Hand: Artificial Dissemination 2 Opening, and the oddest of interviews with Philly Cartoonist Jeffro Kilpatrick. Cheeseburger talk with artist Jeff Daniels, and animal studies with camel wrangler and zoology enthusiast Anthony Pedro .