Category Archives: Toys

Philadelphia stores with art toys.

Archives Alchemy

Philadelphia Dumpster Divers at The National Archives

Archives Alchemy: The Art of the Dumpster DiversOpening Reception: January 10th, 5:00 – 7:30pm Artwork will be displayed from Jan. 10 – April 24, 2014. Gallery Hours listed below. Location: National Archives at Philadelphia, 900 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107-4292 (Entrance on Chestnut Street)

The Dumpster Divers of Philadelphia

The National Archives had miles of microfilm and piles of debris from moving records and renovations, doomed for the dumpster. “Call the Dumpster Divers!”  Who? The Dumpster Divers of Philadelphia are a group of over 40 found object artists, their artwork as diverse as the group and materials used. They were officially recognized with a 2012 City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Tribute for “helping to raise the consciousness of art lovers and heightened awareness of taking a creative approach to support a more sustainable city, country and world.”

This show is an unusual collaboration between two very different Philadelphia institutions and demonstrates the infinite possibilities available when we think outside the dumpster. Leslie Simon, Director, Research Services, the National Archives at Philadelphia said, “I challenged the Dumpster Divers of Philadelphia to create art out of the debris from our moves and renovations. Materials included decommissioned ladders and carts, miles of microfilm and readers, aged leather book bindings, as well as decommissioned electronics and displays, posters, photographs, and lots of red tape.”

Ann Keech, Philadelphia Dumpster Divers

Ann Keech, Archives CommemorativeArchives Alchemy: The Art of the Dumpster Divers at The National Archives

As a loosely bound collective of classically trained and self-taught artists the Dumpster Divers’ unique found object artwork has been exhibited at the American Visionary Art Museum, Noyes Museum of Art, Perkins Art Center, Please Touch Museum, the Garbage Museum and many other regional and national exhibitions. They are featured in books such as Found Object Art (Schiffer Art Book), books 1 and 2.  They established South Street galleries that have entranced more than fifty thousand people, while recycling these abandoned storefronts into viable neighborhood businesses. In the words of their founder, Neil Benson, “Trash is simply a failure of the imagination.”

Thus, in a new kind of alchemy, this partnership between the National Archives at Philadelphia and the Dumpster Divers of Philadelphia preserves, conveys and interprets stories of our pasts hidden in words and objects.

Susan Richards, Philadelphia Dumpster Divers

Susan Richards, Home Movies, Archives Alchemy: The Art of the Dumpster Divers at The National Archives

The National Archives at Philadelphia

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the record keeper of the Federal government. About 2% of all records created are preserved permanently and are available to the public, whether exploring family history, proving a veteran’s military service, or researching an historical topic. The National Archives at Philadelphia, one of 15 research facilities across the country, holds records of federal courts and agencies operating in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The records range from hand written 18th century customs manifests to 20th century scientific data.

Calendar Listing:  The Dumpster Divers of Philadelphia are exhibiting their unique found object artwork created for the National Archives at Philadelphia. Opening Reception January 10th, 5:00 – 7:30pm at the National Archives, 900 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107-4292, 215-606-0101. Show runs from Jan. 10 – April 24, 2014.

Gallery Hours of Operation:

M-F:  8:30 am – 4:45 pm. Second Saturday of each month: 8 am – 4 pm. A Photo ID is required to enter Federal Buildings.

Address: National Archives at Philadelphia, 900 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107-4292, 215-606-0101


  • Leslie Simon, Director, Research Services, National Archives at Philadelphia, voice: 215-606-0101, fax: 215-606-0116, e-mail:

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New Members Plastic Club 2012

Tecu’Mish Munha’ke, Put on Your Big Girl Panties and Cowgirl Up at The Plastic Club

Tecu’Mish Munha’ke, Put on Your Big Girl Panties and Cowgirl Up, three assemblages at The Plastic Club.

Tecu’Mish Munha’ke submitted three assemblages for the New Members 2012 exhibition, Put on Your Big Girl Panties and Cowgirl Up, Out of Order (a large assemblage sculpture that grabs your attention) and Feed Me.  Take that all you Untitlers out there!

Cary Galbraith, Frog Hollow, oil, at The Plastic Club New Member 2012

Cary Galbraith, Frog Hollow, oil, at The Plastic Club New Members 2012

At first glance DoN thought this languid landscape was by Robert Daniel Bohne’ but then DoN overheard someone say that she, Cary Galbraith, painted with Bohne.  The cross influences artists have on each other is one of the best parts of being involved in an art group like the Plastic Club and is a hallmark of the Philadelphia art scene.

Leon Graff, Plastic Club New Member 2012

Leon Graff, Parkside, acrylic, at the Plastic Club New Member 2012

Leon Graff was born in South Africa and was trained in South Africa and London. He has lived and exhibited in London, Seattle, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Montreal, Boston, Philadelphia and New York City. His paintings hang in many private collections in New York City, Philadelphia, Canada, Florida and Europe.”  – Fine Art Liasons website

Leon Graff‘s paintings capture the vibrancy and fun of the thriving Philadelphia art scene.  Congratulations to the New Members of The Plastic Club.  Learn more about the art club in DoN‘s interview with Bob Jackson on the Philly Side Arts blog.  Member’s of the Plastic Club looking to expand their web presence and consolidate their social networking links may consider an artist portfolio page on Side Arts.

Photographs by DoN Brewer
Kodak Digital Cameras


Bohyun Yoon: Embody @ Center for Emerging Visual Artists on Rittenhouse Square

Bohyun Yoon: Embody @ Center for Emerging Visual Artists on Rittenhouse Square

Bohyun Yoon has created an experience design in the chic art gallery in the Barclay Building, every surface of the gallery is activated with a confounding display of intellectual design, superb craftsmanship, historical references and anthropomorphic symbolism vibrating in unison like a strum on a guitar.  Every nuance is considered as the exploded little bodies, each element hand crafted from custom molds, coalesce as shadows of babies cast by a single bright white light bulb on the walls.  But, when the light bulb begins making a circular motion, the tiny doll parts swinging with air movement, the whole room suddenly becomes a dream scape of dancing babies, inducing a startling sensation of floating.

Bohyun Yoon: Embody @ Center for Emerging Visual Artists on Rittenhouse Square

On the right is the artist, Bohyun Yoon.  Yoon decided to create each doll part mold because he didn’t want to violate copyrights, he told DoN the process took more than 5 months.  Each carefully crafted element of the installation is suspended in a way that the sum of the parts creates a whole experience design, Yoon told DoN he wished to,”…create a dialog not a monolog.”

Bohyun Yoon: Embody @ Center for Emerging Visual Artists on Rittenhouse Square

Yoon created these mirror masks to help him learn English by seeing all parts of the face he was listening to; the face recognition technology in DoN‘s camera went wacko.   Bohyun Yoon is an art professor at Tyler, is a glass artist (the water filled glass bowl hat and accompanying video is idiosyncratic to the extreme), a video artist and photographer; Amie Potsic explained to DoN that Bohyun Yoon, “is smart and resourceful in his use of materials.”

Bohyun Yoon: Embody @ Center for Emerging Visual Artists on Rittenhouse Square

Buhyun Yoon, Reforming, 9 channel video with sound, 4 minutes, dimensions variable @ Center for Emerging Visual Artists in the Barclay Building on Philadelphia’s beautiful Rittenhouse Square.  This Friday, 4/15/11, is the Center City District art crawl, the perfect opportunity to experience Bohyun Yoon: Embody.


Photos by DoN.


Joroko & Yow! – Intuitive Bricolage @ Smile Gallery

Burnell Yow! Dolls of the Apocalypse


Burnell Yow! Dolls of the Apocalypse

Burnell Yow!, “Dolls of the Apocalypse“, Smile Gallery.

Burnell Yow! Dolls of the Apocalypse

Burnell Yow!, “Mummy Barbie“.

Exquisite Corpse

B. Yow!, L. Parkes, D. Walters, “Exquisite Corpse #33“, giclee print, 20″ x 16”


Joroko,”March On“, mixed media.


Joroko, “Subtext“, mixed media.

Bricolage, pronounced /ˌbriːkoʊˈlɑːʒ/, /ˌbrɪkoʊˈlɑːʒ/ is a term used in several disciplines, among them the visual arts and literature, to refer to the construction or creation of a work from a diverse range of things which happen to be available, or a work created by such a process. The term is borrowed from the French word bricolage, from the verb bricoler – the core meaning in French being, “fiddle, tinker” and, by extension, “make creative and resourceful use of whatever materials are to hand (regardless of their original purpose).”

A person who engages in bricolage is a bricoleur.

Thank you Wikipedia!

Burnell’s dolls are totemic, shamanistic, zen-like, beatific, clever, ironic, dystopian creations repurposing objet trouve and doll parts.  The digital “exquisite corpse” prints are a great stealable idea – so po-mo.

Joroko‘s goth skeletons populating bombed out surfaces, dancing and cavorting with stars, stripes, crosses and words perfectly counterpoints the odd dolls – somehow the energy of the room becomes a bad boy’s fantasy world of stealing your sister’s dolls and ripping the heads off and drawing war scenes with explosions, craters and bodies.  Dr. Deb Miller curated the show – deep.

4th Fridays on 4th Street

Supermodel Mike invited DoN to visit Jinxed Clothing to meet artist Tim Diet and toy designer/artist  Mr. Shane Jessup.  Tim Diet is a NYC based artist who creates super-pop art featuring icons of advertising and cartoons; “Where’s the Beef?” features the Hamburgler, Wendy, Wimpy and more, “Menace to Society” stars Dennis and other trouble-makers.  Diet’s style is to paint with acrylics on stretched canvas and create a masterful mash-up of cheery icons designed to make us buy stuff that’s not really that good for us.Tim Diet  

Tim Diet with his paintings @ Jinxed.

Acrylic Boxes by Tim Diet

Acrylic Boxes by Tim Diet @ Jinxed (that’s Leanne Biank working on her entry for The Rolling Canvas Art Collective presented by Fuji Bikes which opens Friday @ Jinxed).

Acrylic Box by Tim Diet @ Jinxed.

Acrylic Box by Tim Diet @ Jinxed.

Tim Diet and Jinxed owner Supermodel Mike.

Tim Diet and Jinxed owner Supermodel Mike.

“Words that Hurt” paintings by Mr. Shane Jessup @ Jinxed.

Words that Hurt” paintings by Mr. Shane Jessup @ Jinxed.

Mr. Shane Jessup is a toy designer for Kid Robot planet Earth’s premier creator & retailer of limited edition toys, clothing, mini-figures, artwork & books.  Jessup designs three-D toys in Illustrator, the vinyl toys are manufactured overseas, refined back here in the states and then sold to kids and collectors alike and are currently a big hit at ComicCon in San Diego.  The toys are Super-Kawai bunnies, robots, punks and monsters – DoN LoVes them all!  You can buy a box of 24 figurines some of which are rare and collectable – then you have to network with other collectors to find the special ones you need to complete your collection.  Start by shopping at Jinxed, you’re sure to find something deliciously wacky to start your collection.Painting and vinyl figurines by Mr. Shane Jessup @ Jinxed Phildelphia.

Painting and vinyl figurines by Mr. Shane Jessup @ Jinxed Phildelphia.

Jinxed Philadelphia on 4th Street, South of South Street.

Jinxed Philadelphia on 4th Street, South of South Street.

Next, DoN stopped in Digital Ferret CDs because of the crowd of punks outside; it’s so cool that punk is not dead, super-high platform boots, black leather and pink Mohawks will never go out of style. Digital Ferret CDs is one of America’s leading music retailers and mail order houses for 80s, Ambient/Techno, Industrial, Electronica, Gothic, Metal, Trip-Hop, World Fusion and Experimental Music.  Inside the shop was rocking to the sounds of Philadelphia’s own Society Hill, kind of a mash-up of punk, funk and grunge – really fresh and clean – lead singer Dwight was totally unintelligible – fabulous!  Check out Society Hill’s MySpace Page to learn more about the band.

4th Friday on 4th Street is really fun with jewelry vendors, stained glass, art and clothes for sale on the sidewalk – and parties everywhere.  Let’s ROCK!

All photographs by DoNBrewerMultimedia Photography