Saturday, April 25, 2015

Frank Rizzo dons a bikini

Is hot pink Rizzo's color? Street artist Ishknits finds out.

Frank Rizzo dons a bikini

Former mayor Frank Rizzo gets a street art makeover courtesy of Jessie Hemmons
Former mayor Frank Rizzo gets a street art makeover courtesy of Jessie Hemmons Conrad Benner / Streets Dept.

Jessie Hemmons, a/k/a Ishknits, a street artist and yarnbomber, set her sights on the Frank Rizzo statue in front of the Municipal Services Building at 15th and JFK, giving our former mayor a hot pink bikini.

(See more pictures at Streets Dept, who provided the photo.)

Hemmons put Rizzo in swimwear for a segment on "Streetosphere," a French TV show about street art, that is currently filming a segment on Philly artists. Today, they're profiling noted muralist Yis Goodwin, a/k/a NoseGo.

"[Rizzo] is just a historical figure that I don’t think should be idolized in Philadelphia," Hemmons said. "It’s something I always wanted to do."

Hemmons wanted to emasculate Rizzo in a funny way, knowing full well that if the former mayor was alive today, he wouldn't be happy with his visage donning hot pink swimwear. The security guards at the Muncipal Services Building agreed on at least that one count, removing the bikini shortly after Hemmons attached it to Rizzo. Hemmons hoped that security wouldn't see the bikini from the back. "It drew a crowd and that got it noticed," Hemmons said.

This isn't the first ubermasculine figure Hemmons has made clothing for. Last year, she made a sweater for the Rocky statue, emblazoned with "Go see the art."

"As a female street artist and a female in general, I tend to put these feminine pieces on highly masculine figures in our city," Hemmons said. "It’s a way to stand out as a female that’s also humorous."

Hemmons has previously worked with the city, including a project with the water department, but she's not worried about how her Rizzo bikini will affect her relationship with the city.

UPDATE: Hemmons put a statement up on her website about the piece.

Inquirer Staff Writer
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