Pittsburgh Magazine has produced a remarkable profile of Ed Piskor that includes a print interview and a video of the artist walking through his childhood home, where the drawings he did as a teenager are still visible amid peeling paint and fallen plaster.
Both pieces focus heavily on the milieu in which Piskor was raised, the Homestead neighborhood of Pittsburgh, which took a sharp nose dive after the steel mills closed; Piskor’s parents were among the many who lost their jobs. When he was growing up, the neighborhood had a heavy gang presence, so Piskor spent a lot of time indoors, drawing, but it was also there that he was exposed to hip-hop and became fascinated by it; his Hip Hop Family Tree has grown out of that youthful obsession.
In the video, below, Piskor revisits his childhood bedroom, which he dubbed “FANATICAL Studio,” drawing the final “o” as an 8-ball — a device he borrowed from the graffiti at a nearby basketball court. The camera also catches him at his drawing board and working at his comics at a hip hop dance studio, and he pays a visit to a comic shop where recommendations from the owner broadened his boundaries. There’s also an interesting interplay as well between the chaos and decay of Piskor’s childhood home and neighborhood and the streamlined, utilitarian look of his current home and studio.
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