The object I’m donating is a gift-wrapped cigarette. Actually, it is a dowel rod serving as a substitute, because the cigarette has already long been smoked.
This object came into my life in the fall of 2011, when Vox Populi Gallery exhibited performance artist, Jessica Gath. Her work for this show consisted of wrapping a present, any present, for someone else. I was in the gallery with my good friend and artistic collaborator, Mike Ellyson, from whom I was perpetually bumming cigarettes. He asked her to wrap one for me. I’ve held onto this object because it represents so much of what I think of as good in Philadelphia: friendship, generosity, artistic endeavors, and exchange.
I moved to Philadelphia in 2008 as an emerging artist seeking opportunity and community. Among the most exciting artist ventures that I’ve had is my involvement in the artist collective, first as a member of Vox Populi and then of Grizzly Grizzly, where I began working with Mike. At Grizzly Grizzly, we curated a lot of good shows and did some very innovative creative programming, including bringing the first Community Supported Art program to Philadelphia. During this time, I found that Philadelphia has a surplus of very talented artists in all cultural sectors. Much of my energies here in this city have been spent trying to give structure and focus to these amazing creative energies.