Hawk Krall draws inspiration from Philly

Hawk Krall’s new exhibit, which includes “South Philly Times Square,” opens with a First Friday reception (7-10 p.m.) at Space 1026 gallery.

Local illustrator Hawk Krall loves hot dogs. Not just eating them, but drawing them and the places that sell them. In addition to freelance work with local and national publications, Krall does a food column for the website Serious Eats, where his drawings are accompanied by stories about regional hot dog styles.

“More so than the dogs themselves, I love the old-school hot dog locations,” says Krall. “They’re really unusual, particularly the decor and the lettering used on the signs. There aren’t many hot dog chains, so each one’s unique and funky in its own way. It’s like going to a folk art garden, but with hot dogs.”

He’ll always love hot dogs, but Krall’s latest muse is Philadelphia. Following the First Friday opening reception, his new collection of drawings will be on display at Space 1026 through the end of the month. The 12 black-and-white works capture street scenes from across Philadelphia — including the intersections of 13th and Arch, Eighth and Market and Broad and Eerie — and several drawings on wood highlight particular details from the more elaborate pieces. 

“I’ve gone past these intersections a billion times, and they all have this crazy look,” says Krall. “Some are really funny, some are kinda depressing, but all the streets, buildings and people are visually amazing.”

The wildest one is “South Philly Times Square,” in which cars, SEPTA buses and hundreds of people swarm the streets and sidewalks. Inspired by both recent and archival photos, Krall also included businesses and buildings that have since disappeared, including the legendary porn bookstore Doc Johnson’s.

“There are all these beautiful old buildings and shops that have completely changed or closed, but it’s still very easy to feel the past,” says Krall. “I’m fascinated with how you can see many layers of history in Philadelphia, which isn’t really possible in other cities.”


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