Friday, June 20, 2014

Kid Hazo Impressed Visit Philly, and we all felt the LOVE

I've made this unsubstantiated claim before: Philadelphia has more public art than any city in the world. By that I'm referring to professionally commissioned works of art. Some might be quick to argue, but it's easier to understand how much public art we hold when you consider that the Mural Arts Program alone has commissioned more than 3000 public paintings.

When you go beyond the realm of the "professional" installations and into the world of rogue street artists, Philadelphia is in a league of its own. 

Street art obviously isn't unique to Philadelphia. It's fostered to battle graffiti in San Diego. Banksy's left his stamp (literally) on cities around the globe. What's unique to Philadelphia is how the city turns a blind eye to most of our street art, and in return, our street art has transformed from angry messages hastily scrawled across public buildings to quality works or art that take time an effort. 

Dozens of mysterious Toynbee Tiles can still be found throughout the city and only vanish when a street needs to be repaired. Chicago on the other hand has declared them "vandalism," and when they are found, they are removed. Although some might not consider the tiles "art," but rather a message from a local madman, they're representative of Philadelphia's love for all art.

The city's embrace of the best and most unique rogue works of art has created an off-the-grid art community that competes much like the world of traditional artists, constantly changing, evolving, and reinventing themselves to stay at the top of their game.

Kid Hazo has become one of Philadelphia's favorite street artists. His installations parody the city's beleaguered services and tired campaigns in a way that tows the fine line between kitsch and obnoxious political statements. Quite simply, he's managed to accomplish the rare feat of being fun and smart.

Recently, Kid Hazo took on Visit Philly's "With Love" campaign with posters stating things like "Dear Liberty Bell, Crack Kills! Just Sayin." But Visit Philly didn't respond with a curmudgeonly press release denouncing his art as vandalism, they Tweeted their very own Thank You poster.

With Love, Indeed.

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