Trolley Hoppin’, Recent Paintings by Terrence Laragione will be on view Thursday May 11, 2017 from 6:30 - 10 pm at The Sculpture Courtyard, 1714 Mascher Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122.
Terrence Laragione is an artist living in Philadelphia creating timeless, realistic, and sometimes surreal, paintings of Philadelphia and some of the trolleys that still travel the city rails. His work is featured in a one day show Thursday, May 11th.
Laragione has lived in Philadelphia since attending the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art over 20 years ago. The trolley series began around 2008 when he purchased a home in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia. While spending time in the area he became enamored with the trolleys he began seeing every day. In nearly the decade since he started the series Laragione has painted them in nearly every season, sometimes inserting the image of an adult dressed in a rabbit costume.
“I’m obsessed with vintage things, retro things,” Laragione said at his studio, “I love old architecture, old vehicles, I love things from the art deco time period. The trolleys, they were originally designed, I think, in 1936, and these particular trolleys, the design has not changed much in the past 80 years.”
For Laragione, who also owns a Philadelphia area coffee shop, Buzz Café at 1800 N. Howard St., there is something appealing about the timelessness of the trolley design. After spending the first few years of his life in Philadelphia, he grew up in nearby Bensalem before coming back for college.
“I always loved sci-fi my whole life,” he said, “Flash Gordon was on when I was a kid, and there were spaceships on the show that resembled closely the trolleys. So, when I first saw these trolleys, it kind of brought me back to that time period with the spaceships, and the little sparks flying out of the back. Then, after the initial attraction of the aesthetic of the trolley, it became more of a sport for me, almost like hunting, I would just follow them. My favorite images of trolleys are when two are passing one another, something about that is so sublime.”
For the artist, paintings of the trolleys in certain parts of Philadelphia look like they could be a scene from 2 years ago or 50 years ago. Something he enjoys as the neighborhood now changes so rapidly, the new development changing a once familiar landscape.
“There’s nothing dating it,” Laragione said, “and I kind of like that, there are parts of Philadelphia that seem like they haven’t changed in 50 years and I just find that kind of beautiful in a way. It has this timeless quality.”
Laragione will be the featured artist at a unique one day only show on view Thursday May 11th at The Sculpture Courtyard, 1714 Mascher Street. The venue is new to the Philadelphia art scene and has indoor and outdoor viewing areas with occasional pop-up shows, the way Trolley Hoppin’ is being staged.
The works Laragioned creates are not limited only to trolleys. One series was inspired by Van Gogh and the cartoon Adventure Time, and he has created Star Wars inspired pieces. The works have been featured at Rodger LaPelle Gallery, some are currently on view at Buzz Café, and some will be on view May 11th at the Sculpture Court Yard show. For more information about upcoming shows visit Terrence Laragione Art on Facebook.
Portions of this article originally appeared in an article for the Star Community Newsweekly written by the author.