A whimsical wire sculpture of Danny DeVito’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia character, art collector Ongo Gablogian, was recently found dangling from the telephone cables at Broad Street and Washington Avenue. At first, onlookers thought the rotund little man was a caricature of ol’ Benny Franklin, as it sported a broad, angular hairstyle and big glasses. Instead, street artist Reed BMore confessed on Instagram that his latest creation was inspired by his favorite scene of his favorite show, the cynical and outrageous comedy set in a Philadelphia pub.
Ongo wasn’t Reed’s first contribution to the City of Brotherly Love’s street art scene. Based in Baltimore, Reed creates “intricate, poignant, and pop-culture-inspired” wire figures that inspire instant recognition, and then uses a telescoping pole to dangle them from utility lines, traffic lights, and other locations where they are likely to entertain and enchant eagle-eyed passersby. Reed (birth name: Jon Struse) graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art and has been dubbed “the Banksy of Baltimore.”
The artist’s work first came to public attention three years ago thanks to the observations of Conrad Benner on his popular Philadelphia street art blog, Streets Dept. Benner observed that the wire Reed used to create the sculptures was almost paper-thin, meaning that people walking or driving right under them might not know that they were even present unless the people were paying attention. In 2017, a little girl hanging on a pastoral swing was sighted near the Divine Lorraine hotel in North Philly. There’s a notorious flying pig in Spring Gardens, a tree-shaped car air freshener also in South Philly, as well as a mysterious Garfield the cat who has made a cameo on Reed’s Instagram but has yet to be found.
The Philadelphia Streets Department has issued no comment on the legality of the hanging art, or whether they will take steps to remove said pieces.