Philly based photographer Dominic Episcopo, whose exhibit “Meat America” opens tonight at Northern Liberties’ Bambi Gallery, is by no means a starving artist. In fact he, his wife and hundreds of their friends consumed upwards of $2,000 worth of meat in the two years it took him to create the bulk of the work appearing in his show. Each photograph features cuts of beef and other meats that were carefully butchered to resemble states like New Jersey and Texas, as well as American icons like Abraham Lincoln and Elvis Presley. He chose alligator to depict Florida and Caribou for Alaska. “I know it’s not very profound or anything, but I really love meat,” Episcopo told Grub Street. “I think it’s definitely a medium that hasn’t been explored enough in the art world.”
The whole thing started two years ago, when on a whim he decided to cut a piece of steak into the shape of the United States. More butchering, sculpting and photographing followed, and those pieces gained considerable attention from gallery owners here in Philly and elsewhere. So he decided to continue to chase his meaty muse, which culminated into the dozens of works on display in the show.
The bulk of the meat used to create images was consumed. He says over the course of months many pounds of ground beef went into several batches of meatballs that he and his wife froze and later served to hundreds of guests at their son’s first birthday party. “If we could, we ate it,” Episcopo said. “But sometimes I just played with it so much it became disgusting.”
Episcopo’s “Meat America” will be on display through January 30 at the Bambi Gallery at the Piazza in Northern Liberties.