Seeking a Renaissance in San Francisco
Anyone who has spent much time in Philadelphia, and espescially in the South Street area, has seen an Isaiah Zagar mural. Made of broken, rejected, and custom made tiles, his murals cover the sides, and sometimes the insides and tops, of entire buildings. Zagar uses ceramic tile, mirrors and found objects to create colorful and unusual mosaic murals.
One of his earlier works can be seen at the Painted Bride Art Center; his outdoor sculpture and mosaic garden attached to his studio is easily visible from South Street. Zagar, who is a graduate of the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, came to Philadelphia in the 1960’s – a sort of low point for the South Street area, before it’s current gentrification. At the time, South Street was slotted to be torn down for the building of a cross town highway. Zagar established himself in the area over the years and is now a relic of Philadelphia.
Zagar’s youngest son, Jeremiah, recently produced a documentary entitled, In a Dream, depicting his father’s life, art, psychiatric problems, and artistic eccentricities. Here is a clip from the award winning documentary:
The Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, which houses Zagar’s work, is a 501(c)(3) corporation formed by artists and community members to promote and preserve the Art and legacy of Zagar. It’s located on 10th and South Street in Philly and is essentially a temple of Zagar’s works. Check out some of his murals below! Don’t forget to donate to preserve his artwork!