The original Philz, located just an extended stumble down Twenty-Fourth street from Noe Valley, is one of the Mission District’s most gloriously funky and popular coffee shops. Hard as they try, no other contenders can seem to offer their customers ancient sofas quite as cozy nor Scheffleras quite as overgrown as the original Philz. However the new breed of Philz are different beasts altogether, with each new iteration reimagined to accommodate its indigenous clientele the way a young Lothario might modify his affect to the preferences of women in each new territorio.
Phil is ever the shrewd businessman.
For my own selfish reasons, this works to my advantage. Not only was this the first official “installation” at Noe Philz, but I got three beautiful new walls to fill with recent screenprints. The only question was could I improve them by hanging my art on them?
I took the opportunity to dig a little deeper in to this ongoing project, focusing on the disposable nature of the cardboard and the act of editioning and framing trash. Some of the more visually compelling of these pieces were beat up from being installed on the floor of a CELLspace show, so I decided to spend some time putting others through the ringer, too. I soaked them, sanded them, smacked them, derided them with harsh language. Actually I was pretty impressed by how hard it was to make screenprints on cardboard look beat up.
In addition, I let myself go with an idea for completely transforming a few of these into mini dioramas, which was fun. I cast one of them in prehistoric amber (a.k.a. casting resin) with embedded prehistoric flies (already dead). I custom fit a beautiful tree branch in another, complete with functional pine cone. A plastic dinosaur is eating one piece from the inside and another is a simply a plastic-faced box containing the remnants of a print. Even if it’s just me and a few kids who think this was a good idea, I stand by it. I think.
Here some snaps. Thanks to Tamara S for staying up till midnight helping me install.