To steal a line from Van Halen, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
Pipelines and myself decided to do something we had never done before and head for a part of Philadelphia we normally stay away from; The Art Museum. We had heard of some fairly obscure place that promised a vast cavern of not just street art, but also adventure. For me, adventure is something that you should experience whenever you can, and with Pipelines in tow, we were more than ready to take it on! We originally started at the other end of the Ben Franklin Parkway and stared straight into a pit where countless cop cars were parked. I had to laugh. “Well, maybe we should just ask an officer for directions. Just say, ‘Hey, how do we get to the abandoned railroad tracks?'”
We eventually reached a tiny dirt path that led directly to our treasure; a hidden world cut off from everything and everyone.
As amazing as the space itself was, it was also incredibly intimating. A massive expanse, seemingly endless at times, and a set of abandoned tracks running down the middle. It made me think of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and where their lair would be, but also of how it was still so well preserved on a whole. Columns rose from the ground high into the air to keep the ceiling up. Considering the large number of cars and how long its been around and how unwell kept it is… it is nothing short of amazing to comprehend!
As we entered, we saw the walls covered in street art.
When you’re a kid, you imagine finding ancient ruins, lost cities, and new worlds. When you’re an adult and you accomplish this goal, a feeling of both pride and nostalgia washes over you, cleansing you of all your inhibitions and fears and it beckons you to embark on this new quest.
Against the water and hidden from prying eyes, The Pier was just breathtaking. The years were not kind to most of it, but the decay was just perfect. It was, without a doubt, the most stable and safest abandoned structure we had ever gone to. The place had to be at least 3 city blocks long, maybe more. Every single tower in the place was covered in tags! Hands, wildstyles, pieces, throw-ups. Everything and everyone was represented!
“You know what would be awesome?,” I asked Pipelines.
“I don’t know, what?”
“If you had a paintball fight here! It’s perfect!”
That was when I noticed that a lot of the towers were, in fact, covered with paintball bullets. I guess I wasn’t the only one to realize this.
Over the course of an hour, maybe even more, we were in awe of this behemoth. We ran around examining almost every inch. We even yelled and scream in joy because, for once, we could. No one awaiting the corner to possibly attack us, no cops waiting to bust us. No, none of that. All we had was the peace and joy of a new fort.
As we left, we passed someone who seemed to just arrive to take photos. We exchanged glances and smiles; we knew they were about to have the time of their lives.
Underneath some abandoned railroad tracks is some amazing street art that is hidden from most prying eyes. Another tagger’s paradise, this one has gotten more and more difficult to get into. O.D.D.Ball and Tober have been here, along with Shock, Hank, Seka, and countless others! The pieces here are incredible, and its a real treat to get to see!
I went to the Electric Factory for a show not too long ago (Anthrax, and it was amazing!) and noticed that the place got a fancy new paint job! I’m not 100% sure who did it, and while we rarely cover murals or commissions, but this one was way too sweet to pass up!
The incredibly talented and amazing artist NoseGo, along with Mad Decent, did this amazing mural on the side of the PhilaMOCA building at 10th and Spring Garden. We were thrilled to get a chance to shoot this piece, and the amount of detail is astounding! The piece uses multiple textures, some printed, and a really interesting painting technique. Not only that, but the subject matter, as always, is pretty interesting. Our main hope is to one day get to ask him what the symbolism is of these animals, if any, and what he enjoys about painting them.
I was searching around Center City for some awesome photos of Philly Street art when you can only imagine my shock when I saw SPAIN had hit up the building around the Pennsylvania Convention Center!
Spain is easily one of the most daring artists I’ve come across, and to a large degree the intrigue comes from his targets. We’ve covered Spain in the past, and really I wish we could find more of his work! So if you’re ever in the area, look up and around! You may find something you never did before!
Shock Hank is an old-school tagger… and we know nothing about him.
After some internet research, all we know is that this guy gets around. We found this piece around Juniper and Sansom, and some questions were left with us: Did he do the mural, or just tag the top of it? Was it just doing something for the sake of the score? I’ve seen this around for nearly 10 years, and its never been cleaned or changed, unlike that Shepard Fairey piece in Fishtown.
So, does anyone else have any info here? Or is it just as simple just another tag?
EDIT: Thanks to our commenter on the help! Shock and Hank are two separate taggers.