Monday, November 12, 2012


By J a m e s for JUMP magazine.
Winter 2012/2013: The Visual Issue feature, p. 36.

Thunder boomed throughout Queen Village in South Philly. Only the cool cats dared come out and play. PHSH TANK presented by DJ PHSH and Place Your Art Here accepted the challenge.

The September installation of PHSH TANK marked the official release of DJ PHSH’s first original record “End of theSummer,” featuring Philadelphia rapper THE BUL BEY. Philadelphia graphic artist John William Fitzpatrick, known as JohnF The Artist, stenciled the album artwork for the collaboration. Life-size cutouts and projected visuals of JohnF’s work set off Fluid Night Club. Party-goers exited the summer the PHSH way.

"I want people to come to the spot and say they’re there for PHSH TANK or Superdope. It’s important to offer some sort of movement from the beginning. That’s what the visual side does. It’s something eye-catching,” PSHH explains. It’s about creating a narrative for the night. It’s about crafting a “frame of reference.” The mis-en-scène is crucial.

PHSH TANK is the brainchild of Illvibe Collective member DJ PHSH and Harlan Joseph of Sedso Design’s exhibition series Place Your Art Here. The residency at Fluid Night Club began in January of 2012 and features a local visual artist each month. The team projects the artist’s prints over the dance floor, letting it become an integrated part of the event.

PHSH TANK has cemented itself as one of Philadelphia’s creative scene’s most happening. It’s hosted a block party outside of Fluid at the top of the summer that featured The RadLands, Decades Hat Co., and Glasshouse Clothing. The Saturday night party has featured a colorful mix of Philadelphia visual artists, including The Air Rat, Juan Dimida, Ron Ackins, Bob Will Reign, Frost215, and Nosego.

"I wanted to offer the Philly event scene something a little more thought out than 'Club. Bar. Dance floor. DJ.' That's where the artists’ projections come in. Appreciation for visual art is a shared understanding between SEDSO Design and myself. It was a perfect fit for us to work together. - DJ PHSH
Whether it’s his signature bun, or residency at Brooklyn’s Donna and Philadelphia's Kimmel Center, or his distinct sartorial sense - a worn passport in his breast pocket [He doesn’t own a driver’s license.] and a tattered copy of Sakyong Mipham’s "Ruling Your World Ancient Strategies For Modern Life" in his back pocket, it’s evident PHSH is pretty damn cool.

Matthew Fishman-Dickerson, the 24-year old West Philadelphia native behind DJ PHSH explains, “I wouldn't have the aesthetic understanding if it weren't for the training I received there, at Summer Art Camp.”

The product of a multiracial home with parents who founded a local theatre company, PHSH’s rearing emphasized creative expression. The experience during his formative years at Philadelphia’s Summer Art Camp held great weight in fashioning his proclivity toward aesthetics. “When I attended, it, [Philadelphia’s Summer Art Camp], was the ‘broke kid’s Fleisher.’ I loved it. I loved the community,” PHSH explained. “That camp changed my life.”

During his teenage years he worked at the program as a counselor. “My first set of turntables was bought with Summer Art Camp money. I probably wouldn't be a DJ if I hadn't worked there.”  

DJ PHSH - Philadelphia made, artfully made.

Author's Note:
Matt and I both attended Central High SchoolHad to be said. He's 265. I'm 264. And that's okay.

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