The “Phanatic Around Town” art project has placed a bunch of identical, differently decorated Phanatic statues around Philadelphia, we’re going to like/dislike them. Here he is in Center City, at the Free Library, the Franklin Institute, Rittenhouse Square, Love Park, and Lloyd Hall.
By now, you know my affinity for Phanatics that aren’t designed to just be the Phanatic. When the medium through which your art is projected happens to be a six foot tall creature, it seems that departures from reality are more tahn welcome. Some Phanatics have embraced this. Others have not.
The Piazza, however, home to charming ‘lil shops and soothing evening tunes, is where all the cool kids hang out (I just discovered this fact–so they’ll probably pick a new spot within the next few weeks, I’ll keep you posted). So you know their Phanatic is going to be all measure of different. Different enough to be cool, yet the same enough not to start a panic.
So he’s made of bricks. Okay. I’ll bite:
Here’s your artist, David McShane. He’s got a list of accomplishments that makes “I write a Phillies blog” feel like its about as worth bragging about at parties as a gaping head wound. He even includes neighborhood children in the formulation and actual painting of his projects.
The guy’s done 75 murals in the Philadelphia area. Seventy effing five. That’s a ton of art. Which I guess makes sense, when this Phanatic, which is meant to capture the two most singular moments of glory in Phillies history, as illustrated by the Phils’ mascot, is a pretty proud piece painted by somebody who knew what they were doing.
McShane lets his experience in the area bleed into the statue, showcasing Tug McGraw and Brad Lidge as they were during the first and second nanoseconds of a World Series victory for Philadelphia.
Having the Phanatic painting them brings about a cyclical nature to the piece, reminiscent of a theme Jud Turner would do. The Phanatic appreciates art, but on a deeper level, he was a big chunk of both victories. No, he didn’t score runs or throw strikes, but he was always there to jiggle his belly or put a voodoo curse on an opposing pitcher. These contributions are just as certifiable, as he led us fans into battle, linking us to the game and the team we’re here to yell about.
I like the bricks. I just don’t understand them. But it seems like one of those things that has a perfectly reasonable/definable answer that I’m just dense enough to avoid.
This Phanatic is a tidy little reflection of his environment, and the accomplished artist who created him. The glossy, independent shops populating the Piazza are represented with casual nostalgia, bringing the Phillies into another faceted little corner of the city where maybe they wouldn’t have been three years ago.