Philadelphia street art
There’s something cool about street art at the best of times, but especially when you’re a tourist. There’s something about the installations in public areas that says a lot about a city. The artwork represents the thoughts of the inspired, using symbols to tell the true tale of the place. And it’s telling what a city allows to be installed!
One work in particular caught my attention when I was in Philadelphia. It’s hard for a huge fighter jet crashed into the pavement not to catch your attention!
I walked around it, surveying it from every direction. I looked inside the windows and was surprised by what I saw. I touched it and felt the cold metal on my palms. I made a mental note to find out more about it.
I’m glad I did.
It turns out the work was made by a young local artist called Jordan Griska. He had bought the shell of the Grumman S2F plane on ebay and had it shipped to Philadelphia. In his workshop he fixed the damaged parts, adding fresh metal to some of the top and the landing gear door. Then, after fixing it up, he began to damage the plane again, crumpling parts of it to appear as though it had crashed into the ground.
Plane street art
It sounds impressive enough but, as they say, it’s what’s inside that counts. And inside the plane, Griska put the true meaning of his art. Looking through the windows, you can see a little greenhouse inside. Heat lights, a watering system, and exposure to the sun create the perfect environment for plants he’s put in the plane to grow.
Much of what is grown in the greenhouse of the fighter jet is edible. And everything is given to local Philadelphia projects that help to feed the poor and homeless. The artwork gives back to the community.
Veterans groups were apparently worried when they first heard about the project, fearing it would be insensitive but they’ve now embraced the idea. And Griska says the point was to demonstrate that an object could have a life beyond its initial aim, especially when it was originally built for war.
“These repurposed finished pieces simultaneously lead the viewer to contemplate the history of ‘the thing’ while changing the function of the object,” he’s quoted as saying. “My generation—what do we do with all these parts of post-war conflict? What is our role in that?”
The street art of a city has the power to show the true humanity of its citizens. From the pain of war, compassion can grow.
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