Portrait of an Artist Series : Philip Krohn

Portrait of Philip Krohn in his West Oakland studio by Thomas Kuoh in July of 2011

I had the great fortune of photographing one of Oakland's gems, the installation artist Philip Krohn, in his West Oakland Studio after a recent show. When I first saw his work I was amazed at it's simplicity and beauty. The concept of recyclable items re-purposed as art usually brings images of amateurish grade school projects of cut up soda bottles and broken AOL CD's glued into some bad mosaic. But Philip takes it to a whole new level. His recent show, After the Flood, takes several tons of old shreded t-shirts, used vegetable oil jugs from restaurants, refuse from construction sites and other dumpster dive finds, and selectively sorts and organizes them into deeply introspective, political and socially critical Art.

The piece I fell in love with, grandiosely titled The Oracle, is a three story tall stack of plastic cooking oil jugs back-lit to resemble a bit-mapped glacier which foretells of a future in the hands of man. The plastic made from petroleum used to carry vegetable oil derived from an industrial process shipped via diesel chugging big rigs to fast food restaurants where a nation of obesity, materialism and single-use ignorance throws them out to be picked up by a visionary who stacks them neatly into a beautiful and contemplative display of Art.

I look forward to seeing what Philip comes up with next. in the mean time, follow his work at http://www.philipkrohn.com/ and buy an EARTH sticker from http://www.earthsticker.com/. All net proceeds go towards supporting non-profit organizations listed on their site.

The Oracle by Philip Krohn