Spores on tour — the work of Greg Labold

[Dre introduces us to a local artist who creates colorful, repeated pattern installations and garments; plays music in several bands; and seems overall like a pretty fungi. — the Artblog editors]

Walls covered with rainbow-colored spheres inspired by the seeding of mushroom spores, and a complementary array of costumed mannequins made in the artist’s likeness– this is what you can expect when visiting an installation by Philadelphia-based artist Greg Labold.

Rolling with an idea

Greg Labold
Greg Labold and his spores.

Labold’s current body of work is based on a design inspired by the artist’s finding a mushroom, in which he uncovered deeper meaning and symbolism. With the lessons he learned from his exploration of all things mushroom, the artist now produces his art like a mushroom–spreading his spore design wherever he goes and creating active installations. Recent art installations include one at Center City café The Last Drop, and from now to Jan. 7, 2015, at the Archive Space at Crane Arts.

Greg Labold
Greg with his work at the Last Drop.

About the artist

Greg Labold is a Tyler BFA printmaking graduate; he immersed himself in the world of installation arts while still completing his degree at school. The flat-file drawers that were provided for the printmaking department could not fit the work he was creating, so he moved into the hallway, took it over, and got into scuffles and awesome conversations with people. That was his first investigation into installation and the effect of his work on the community and passersby. Since then, the artist has been doing contract silkscreening work and has been on an art installation and costume-creating journey.

One of his recent accomplishments is his current show at the Crane Arts Building. In 2009, Labold exhibited at the Crane Arts Building in the Victory for Tyler sculpture show. There, he debuted concepts, such as the “Mushmanican,” that he still works with today. “Mushmanican” has been portrayed in mannequin form and portrayed by Labold himself. “Mushmanican” is an important patron saint of the spore chore.

Greg Labold
“The Business Man” and Greg.

Since 2009, Labold has added a diverse spectrum of costumed mannequins to his installations, such as “The Artist” and “The Business Man,” plus one based on a tarot card, called “Temperance”. His idea behind creating these mannequins is that they are proof that you can wear what he makes.

It is no surprise that Greg admires the work of Nick Cave, an American sculptor, dancer, and performance artist known for his “Soundsuits,” which are wearable fabric structures. Another artist he admires is his older brother James, a glass artist and sculptor currently working toward an MFA from Ball State University. Shamanism also has a great influence on his work. Imagination is a key element in shamanism, and likewise Labold’s art-making process.

Art installation
“Temperance” at The Crane Arts Building.

The Greggie Awards

One of the strange projects with which Labold is building a reputation is his Greggie Awards. This project spoofs important awards such as the Grammys, Oscars, and Emmys. The Greggie Awards are little man-shapes cut out of wood, with versions of Labold’s 11th-grade high school photo glued to them. He gives out these awards based on whatever random reasons he chooses at different times.

Greg Labold
Labold as a big bird at Peoplehood.

Labold is passionate about working with communities and frequently volunteers at Emerald Street Urban Farms. He also participated in Spiral Q’s Peoplehood Pageant in Clark Park in costume as an inhabitant of nature–a large bird. He hopes to stay involved with as many things as he can. He has plans to be a mummer in the Rabble Rousers in the upcoming Mummers New Year’s Brigade. He is also a drummer and guitarist in a few Philly-based bands, such as Bandname, APE!, Guitarcules, and Mike Bell & the Movies.

From December until the end of January, he will be exhibiting and curating a show about monsters with Jarmel Reitz and friends at the Rocket Cat Cafe on Frankford Avenue in Fishtown. His spores will be there, and there will be illustrations on display. He looks forward to printing and self-publishing a body of comics he has been working on. For the latest information on Labold’s work, check out his blog here.

Dre Grigoropol is a Philly-based artist, writer, blogger, and musician. You can follow Dre’s work at, and on Twitter @DretimeComics. Photographs by Dre.