Food and art have gone together for a long time, and now art will help feed the hungry in a new project by Moore MFA student Steve Mogck.
Called Sated (The Food Container Project), Mogck and other artists are painting images on handmade food containers to help bring awareness of the issue of hunger in the Philadelphia region. Money raised from the sale of the art and custom-designed shirts will benefit Philabundance, a nonprofit food bank serving the Philadelphia region. The culmination of the project is an art show Friday, December 7, 6 – 9 pm in the Hot Bed space of James Oliver Gallery in Philadelphia. Mogck hopes to raise $30,000.
“I felt like it was something I can deliver to people as far as something that I’ve been through,” Mogck said. “And there’s a lot of people I know close to me that have been through (hunger).”
ISSUE OF HUNGER
Mogck got the idea to create the containers, which look like Chinese food takeout boxes, by writing a blog as an assignment in his Technologies of Art class at Moore, taught by Asher Barkley. Then Mogck took the Ethical Issues class by Jonathan Wallis, PhD.
“I started exploring where the food container came from,” said Mogck, who is a student in Moore’s Master of Fine Arts in Socially-Engaged Studio Art program. The type of container he’s using as art was originally called an oyster pail, a leak-proof version created in the late 1800s in America for carrying home shucked oysters. “What can I do with these containers as far as my major goes, as far as my social engagement, my responsibility to a community?”
He began looking at charities, and chose Philabundance.
“There’s a lot of people that will not want to admit that they’ve ever been hungry, and that’s something I could identify with,” Mogck said. “I feel like I’ve been very lucky, very privileged throughout my life, but there are those times where, whether you’re by yourself, you’re living on your own, you’re in school full time, you’re hungry and you just can’t find money to scrape together.”
Each of the 117 containers is an original piece of artwork by Mogck and 16 other artists, including fellow graduate students as well as Moore faculty members. Mogck’s hand-painted pieces are stark black and white images of celebrities and sports figures, like Andy Warhol, Elvis, Stevie Ray Vaughn, the Robot from the TV show Lost in Space, and Philadelphia Flyers left winger James van Riemsdyk. Mogck recently was able to get van Riemsdyk to sign the container that depicts him.
“From living in New York City, I have no problem approaching professional athletes,” he said. He also has a background in doing sports illustrations and portraits.
The containers come in two sizes, and are built by folding high-quality water-color paper. The images are painted onto the paper before folding.
“I’m using my training in illustration to push it forward to the next level as far as my training now in social engagement in this program,” he said.
STEVE THE ARTIST
“Art was one of the only things I was ever really good at,” said Mogck, who grew up in Cape May, N.J. “I was horrible at math, I just found myself always drawing, and my mom helped nurture that.” He attended the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, and did work for Marvel Comics, movies and television commercials. He studied illustration at the Pratt Institute, but left to work as a storyboard artist for movies and commercials. The idea of not having a degree bothered him, so he moved from New York to Pennsylvania with his wife and graduated from West Chester University with a BFA in Studio Arts.
After graduation, he showed his work in galleries, but felt something was missing in his education, and applied to Moore. He will graduate in spring 2019.
In addition to working as an artist, Mogck teaches 5- to 8-year-olds in an art program in Havertown.
“I want to have an impact on kids who want to be artists,” he said. “I would never give that class up. I feel very fortunate to do that.”
STEVE THE CURATOR
Putting Sated together required Mogck to learn how to curate a show. He got other artists involved with the project, got approval from Philabundance, and secured Troegs Brewing and Morimoto restaurant as sponsors for the event.
“There’s a lot of different things that have gone into this and it’s my very first fundraiser,” he said. “It’s been an ongoing challenge, but it’s been very fulfilling.”
Mogck has been showing his work at the James Oliver Gallery for eight years, and that fortuitous connection has helped Sated come to life.
“Without the space, without James, none of this would have happened,” he said.