Phil Ferguson

aka Chili Philly

We've had the pleasure of Phil Ferguson aka Chili Philly in our gallery preparing for his first solo exhibition Chili Philly: Crochet Social. His enthusiasm and creativity is contagious and we wanted to take a moment to find out more about him.

When and why did Phil Ferguson become Chili Philly?
I started ChiliPhilly in 2014 as a way to meet new people in Melbourne after I had moved over from Perth, I already had an idea of creating crocheted hats for my own drag and so I decided to create the Instagram account so I could meet like-minded people!

What made you pick up a crochet hook?
I studied Fine Art and sculpture so learning crochet was just another development of that, it was always useful to teach myself new skills!

Why the focus on crocheting food for the head?
I was originally going to use the hats I created to use to do drag, though once my Instagram became really popular, the focus went to keeping the momentum up for all the attention I was getting. That’s why I never really stopped doing the same thing for the last few years!

You’ve mentioned that the image on Instagram you consider to be the final artwork. Why?
Because that’s what I'm posting! I think everyone kinda forgets about the image being the final result only because it is easy to see an image and think the purpose of it is to show off its subject, but in the context of social media, the image is something that is being presented in the platform and so if you want to have some sort of reaction, you have to think of the image.

Who and what inspires your work?
Drag is the primary inspiration for my work, I don't have any strong 'art' inspiration outside having an aesthetic inspiration from the TV show 'Adventure Time'. Outside of that, I'm just reacting to the situation I'm in and making what I need to make next!

What’s next for Chili Philly?
I hopefully will develop some sort of performance over the next few months and eventually do some drag! I really want to have a unique point of view because these days its easy to be just another young performer in the crowd!

Explore the exhibition Chili Philly: Crochet Social here

Image: Phil Ferguson aka Chili Philly and Rhadi Bryant, Programs Manager ADC preparing for exhibition Feb 2017. Photo: ADC.
Chili Philly, installation ADC. Photo: Simon Cardwell.