Political hoopla departs Philly, political street art remains

Joe Boruchow's mysterious print featuring presidential candidate Donald Trump is pasted beside Amber Lynn's candy hearts at 9th and Spring Garden streets. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Joe Boruchow's mysterious print featuring presidential candidate Donald Trump is pasted beside Amber Lynn's candy hearts at 9th and Spring Garden streets. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

The Democratic National Convention is over; the Wells Fargo Center is cleared out, road restrictions are lifted. But  one thing staying in Philadelphia is the street art.

Some of the city’s graffiti artists made sure to get their work out while the national spotlight shone.

Amber Lynn — also known as Amberella — normally prints images with clever or emotional text, such as Valentine’s Day candy hearts printed with dark messages about relationships. She uses wheat paste to plaster them in out-of-the-way places, under bridges or on boarded-up windows of abandoned buildings.

During the DNC, she wanted her work to be more on-point about an issue close to her — women’s rights. So she printed a series of Magic 8-Ball images with fortune-telling messages referring to women’s sexuality.

For the DNC, Lynn put them in highly visible places.

“Normally my work is wherever I think it’s beautiful and speaks to me. This is so specific I have to think about it more,” said Lynn. “It’s not something I would put in my family neighborhood. I don’t want to offend anyone, I’m trying to raise awareness to something in a certain way.”

Street prankster Kid Hazo created lawn signs advertising himself as a presidential candidate. They went up at Independence Mall and Rittenhouse Square park, and almost immediately disappeared. Fortunately, Conrad Benner of the Philadelphia graffiti blog StreetsDept.com captured the artist in the act.

Another Philadelphia street artist, Joe Boruchow, is prolific and often political. He makes cut-out silhouette prints that illustrate strong feelings on specific issues, such as his distaste for former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

One of the images he created during the DNC is more mysterious than political. It features Trump leaning over three babies in a crib, while faces of minority caricatures float in the dark background.

Even Boruchow said it’s hard to get its meaning.

“I was hoping I would discover the meaning as I worked on it,” he said. “It showed up in a thumbnail drawing. I liked the composition and the creepy vibe, so I kept working. To tell the truth, I still don’t know exactly what it means.”

Even though the image features a presidential candidate, and was posted during the DNC, Boruchow said he did not make it for the DNC. He generally creates a new image every month, responding to the world around him, and this one happened to coincide with the Democratic Convention.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.