Philadelphia based muralist, Eric Okdeh began creating public art in 1998. After receiving his BFA in painting from Tyler School of Art, Eric chose to focus on socially engaged public art exclusively. He came to that decision after comparing the experience of his first solo exhibit as a painter, with what he knew to be true about the process of creating inclusive large scale public works and the impact that process has on communities.
Community driven public art has the ability to provide a voice to those who feel disenfranchised and powerless. Eric has created multimedia projects tackling difficult subject matters, such as gambling, addiction, mass incarceration and overcoming the stigma of mental illness. Central to the process is conducting interviews in communities. Using art as a means to gather personal narratives, he is able to bring people’s stories to life and create a dialogue that is cathartic and promotes empathy and understanding. Additionally, the use of technology and social media platforms allow the conversation to continue beyond the completion of the physical work.
Eric has facilitated art and mural making workshops in a wide array of communities including teens and adults, incarcerated men, as well as people in recovery programs. These classes serve as a vehicle for skill building, leadership and teamwork exercises, which culminate in major mural projects. Eric has found that the process of mural making provides a sense of inclusion and accomplishment among its participants that in turn empower them to take ownership in their work.
Over the past few years institutions, city governments and organizations around the country have hired Eric to consult on projects in their cities. With over 20 years of experience in mural and mosaic making, and working with diverse populations, he brings an enormous technical skill set that help groups utilize art making as a process for community engagement and discovery.
Eric has over 150 public art commissions throughout the northeast United States as well as murals in Hawaii, Spain, Jordan and Norway. He is proud to have created public art with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, and multiple Percent for Art programs and other public art organizations throughout the US and the world. His work is featured in seven books about public art.
BFA, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA Cum Laude Philadelphia High School for Creative & Performing Arts Honors in Painting
Beyond the Wall Art & Justice Symposium Convention Center Philadelphia, PA
Criminal Justice Symposium Columbia University NYC, NY
Philadelphia City Hall Visitor’s Entrance
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia
Connelly Collaboratory, Nesbitt Hall Drexel University, PA
Philadelphia Art Alliance
Prison Obscura Haverford College, PA
Beyond the Paint Philadelphia’s Mural Arts PA Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia
Family Interrupted Community Voices Gallery, Philadelphia History Museum @ Atwater Kent
Styles May Vary Urban Outfitters HQ Navy Yard, Philadelphia Anthropologie Gallery Rockefeller Center, New York City
Albert M. Greenfield Restorative Justice Exhibition The Thomas Eakins House, Philadelphia
Self Portraits (Group Exhibition) Plastic Club, Philadelphia
Works on Paper Nexus Gallery, Philadelphia
Solipsist BFA Exhibition Tyler School of Art Elkins Park, PA
Senior Studio Exhibition 2001 Market Street Corporate Building, Philadelphia
Golden, Jane & Updike, D. (2014). Mural Arts @30. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
O’Connell, Maureen. (2012). If These Walls Could Talk: Community Muralism and the Beauty of Justice. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.
Iosifidis, Kirlakos. (2009) Mural Art #2: Murals on Huge Public Surfaces Around the World from Graffiti Trompe L’Oeil. (Publikat Verlags Und Handels Kg).
Zinman, Phoebe. (2009). Visual Restoration. Pennsylvania: Roland Printing.
Moller, Maria. (2007). My North Philly: Neighborhoods. Murals. Stories. Philadelphia, PA: The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.
Golden, Jane, Rice, R., & Pompilio, N. (2002) More Philadelphia Murals and the Stories They Tell. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
Multimedia Art Instructor- The Kirkbride Center 2015-Present
· Conduct weekly art and mural making workshops with 20+ individuals in drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Over the years the classroom has reached 250+ people.
· Develop on-going curriculum promoting positive self-imaging and accomplishment of complex personal works though traditional muralist methods.
Instructor, Lead Muralist – Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
Porchlight Program 2015-Present
· Conducted weekly art and mural making workshops with 20+ individuals in various in and out patient drug and rehabilitation facilities and shelters.
· Interact with over 100 participants throughout 10 weeks to a year.
· Developed a curriculum promoting positive self imaging and accomplishment of complex personal works though traditional muralist methods.
· Conceptualized and designed 5 multimedia public art projects with groups
Graterford Prison Mural Program 2004-2017
· Led group of 20 inmates through mural making process
· Developed classroom environment that encouraged leadership and team work
· Created close to 35 works of public art within Philadelphia and inside the institution.
Mural Corps Program 2003-2009
· Led group of 10 high school students for 4 ten-week sessions
· Developed curriculum focusing on strengthening internet literacy, Photoshop and photography skills as well as fabricating large scale multimedia works of public art.
· Created 12 large-scale multimedia murals throughout Philadelphia
2018 “Damfoss” Toemmerkaia 19, Skien 3732, Telemark, Norway
2017 “Våre refleksjoner/Our Reflections,” 7 Rådhusgata, Sandefjord, Vestfold, Norway
2017 “Vårt Sandefjord /Our Sandefjord,” 5 Storgata, Sandefjord, Vestfold, Norway
2014 “Azraq” Art For All 2014 Amman, Jordan
2010 "Biomimicry" Poligono San Pablo Seville, Spain
2017 “Kingswood” 2300 Bowers St, Wilmington, DE
2016 “Building Towards Tomorrow” 185 Goffe St, New Haven, CT
2016 “Getting Back to the World” 900 Washington St, Wilmington, DE
2012 "Na Wai 'Eha" Main and Market Sts. Wailuku, HI
2018 “Almost Home” 885 Preston St
2018 “Hospitality, Mutuality, Transformation” 123 E Price St
2017 “Today I Can See in Color” Jefferson and Lawrence Streets
2017 “The Only Way Out is Through” 4631 Lancaster Ave
2016 “South Philly Singers Remix” Broad and Tasker Streets
2016 “Contemplation, Clarity, Resilience” 5627 Chestnut St
2015 “Tribute to Dox Thrash Revisited” 1631 Girard Avenue
2015 “Fables of Fortune” 7th and Wolf Streets
2015 “Beyond the Wall” series of 35, installed and exhibited citywide
2014 “City of Innovation” Municipal Services Building Innovation Lab, 15th and Arch Sts
2014 “Settlement House Roots” Frankfort Ave and Master Streets
2013 “Above & Beyond” Broad and Cambria Streets
2012 "How We Fish" 8th and Cherry Streets
2012 "Family Interrupted" Germantown Ave and Dauphin St
2011 "The Community Action Center" District Attorney's Office
2010 "Changing Seasons, Lasting Symbols" City Hall Courtyard
2010 "Interactive Outdoor Classroom" 8th and Cumberland Streets
2010 “The Bottletree” Dickinson and Marsden Streets
2009 “This We Believe: Living in the Presence of History” Multiple Sites
2009 “From Behind the Mask” 52nd and Master Streets
AWARDS AND HONORS
Hui No'eau Artist in Residence Maui, HI, 2012
Citywide Mural Competition Winner, 2009
1st Annual Nexus Gallery Graduating Artist Exhibition Winner, 2001