|Commissioning Entity||The Sprout Fund|
Located at the end of Strawberry Way, a street in downtown Pittsburgh filled with public art, Tom Mosser and Sarah Zeffiro’s Two Andys is a playful reimagining of Pittsburgh’s most iconic Andys – Andy Warhol on the left, and Andrew Carnegie on the right. But rather than simply repeating the well-worn depictions of these men, the artists show the artist and steel magnate seated side-by-side at a beauty salon. They sit under hair dryers, hair in curlers, covered in salon capes. Carnegie dips his fingers into small bowls, ready for his manicure, while Warhol holds a copy of August Wilson’s Fences, a nod to yet another important Pittsburgher. The playful dotted background adds to the overall lighthearted tone of the mural. The artists pay homage to these Pittsburgh icons, while also poking fun at them, especially Carnegie, who is normally remembered in stodgy portraits or aggrandizing murals, such as John White Alexander’s Crowning of Labor at the Carnegie Museum of Art. The neon Weiner World sign (belonging to the restaurant in the neighboring building) at the base of the mural just adds to the comical quality of the mural.
This mural was produced as part of the Sprout Fund’s Public Art Program, which oversaw the production 55 murals in neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh between 2003 and 2010. After many decades during which very few major murals were produced in Pittsburgh, the Sprout Fund’s Public Art Program brought new attention to mural making in the city. Unlike other programs, the Sprout Fund emphasized community input and also offered young, regional artists, like Zeffiro and Mosser, an opportunity to produce large-scale, public works. Today, Sprout Fund murals can be found throughout the city and embody Pittsburgh’s changing identity.
By Sylvia Rhor, Ph.D.
Mural Locator, The Sprout Fund: http://murallocator.org/groups/the-sprout-fund/
J. Michael Krivayanski ,”Pittsburgh Area Public Art: The Two Andys Mural” The Examiner, April 15, 2012 http://www.examiner.com/article/pittsburgh-area-public-art-the-two-andys-mural
The Pittsburgh Foundation Sprout Public Art Program: Community Murals 2003 to 2010 http://pittsburghfoundation.org/node/28181
Dr. Sylvia Rhor is Associate Professor of Art History at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, Pa. She has written extensively about murals, the history of museum education, and political cartoons. Her doctoral research was the first full-length study of the historic mural collection in Chicago Public Schools. Recently, she published “The Evolution of the Chicago School Mural Movement” in The Decorated School: Essays in the Visual Culture of Schooling (Black Dog Press, 2013), and she co-authored, “Shaping Spaces/Shaping Publics: A Short History of Mural Painting in the United States” in The Companion to Public Art (Blackwell Press, forthcoming). Her current research focuses on the early 20th century labor murals in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh native Tom Mosser knew as a child that he wanted to be an artist. He pursued his artistic inclinations by earning a bachelor's degree in fine art from the Pennsylvania State University. As a student, Mosser honed his drawing and painting skills by working as a graphic artist and editorial cartoonist for Penn State's newpaper, the Daily Collegian. Since his college days, Mosser has worked as a freelance illustrator and painter. Mosser won the Illustrator of the Year award from Harvard Magazine in 2005. He has been commissioned to paint large scale murals at the Prudential Center arena in Newark, New Jersey and at the Amway Center arena in Orlando, Florida. Mosser is also known for using his ambitexterity while painting.
Artist Sarah Zeffiro studied studio art and art history at the University of Pittsburgh. After graduation, Zeffiro spent a semester abroad in Florence, Italy. Upon her return, Zeffiro pursued studies in art education at Carlow University. During her career, Zeffiro has participated in numerous solo and group exhibtions. She currently practices at her studio in East Liberty, where, she explores various ways to engage viewers with her art. Zeffiro's most recent exhibition was held at Fieldwork Gallery in Garfield.