"The Hot Seat" "CERA" Philadelphia, PA

Black Cat Alley’s most mysterious and most hard-to-photograph mural: “The Hot Seat.” This surrealist composition suggests business, studying, speaking, reading, all in a moving environment of noise, patterns, and danger. The lioness in the lower left hand corner suggests predation, and the megaphone perhaps brings the possibility that help can be found, if only one can find the courage to seize the mouthpiece and say something. CERA said that at the time of designing this composition in 2016, the US Presidential election filled him with anxiety and acute urgency, and this composition was meant as a study of those feelings.

CERA, aka Janson Rapisarda, is a MIAD graduate and a Milwaukeean, but we found him in Philadelphia—the mural capital of the United States—and flew him home to paint a mural for Black Cat Alley in September of 2016. When he visited us, he was asked, "What does street art mean to you?" He replied, "Street art has a plethora of definitions, typically varying in definition from artist to artist. My own interpretation of street art has also changed over the years. Initially, it represented a more freeing way of producing artwork, or a less restrictive platform for exhibiting artwork. I never wanted to confine myself to a canvas, or a print on paper, because I believe that the most accessible artwork is artwork made on the streets and for the streets. It’s the difference between a painting hanging in a gallery, to be exhibited to a select group of trained artists and critics, and a painting made on site, about the site, and for the site. I believe that this inherently widens the viewing demographic, or provides a more inclusive way of creating artwork."