November 18, 2020 Blog

Get to Know Sharif Pendleton

Get to Know Sharif Pendleton, an award-making craftsperson who knows all about the beauty found in design. One of his favorites is the Eames Lounge Chair. His mission is to bring design to the forefront because, as he put it, “everything we touch has been designed by someone.” And if that doesn’t tug at your existential heartstrings, then this Q&A certainly will.

What would you consider one of Philadelphia’s best-kept secrets?
The architectural walking tours given by the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. I feel so smart after I’ve done one. And, even as a native Philadelphian, they help me see the city in a new light.

What’s your favorite piece of art that you didn’t create?
Tough one, but probably The Eames Lounge Chair by Charles and Ray Eames.

The creative/artistic life can often feel isolating. What do you do to counteract that?
I don’t mind isolation. I’m an introvert who does a convincing job when I need to be an extrovert. I live a lot in my own head – it’s my comfort zone. I do listen to music for most of the day. So, maybe music?

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Healing because I’ve got a high degree of empathy and I don’t like seeing people suffer.

What’s your personal mission or vision?
Geez. Can we go back to superpowers? As it pertains to art and design, I think it’s to increase awareness of how much the world needs good designers and artists. We know we need doctors and lawyers, but everything we touch every day has been designed by someone. But because design is ubiquitous, its importance and the people behind it, are often overlooked.

What was the most memorable response someone has had to your work?
I designed the Barrymore Award for Theatre Philadelphia. It was the first time I was in a room full of people who were hoping to receive something I made as validation for their craft.  They cried a lot and treated those statues with such a crazy amount of regard –  I wasn’t prepared for that.

Is cereal soup? Why or why not?
Not if you eat it right. If you let the cereal sit in milk until it dissolves then yes because, I dunno, but that makes sense to me.

Name three artists to whom you’d like to be compared. Why?
Me, myself, and I. Or me at different stages of my career. Not because I’m amazing, but because I’m always learning and trying new ways to apply what I learn. So, hopefully, my stuff gets better and better. Plus, how in the hell do you even begin to answer that question?

If someone asked to be your apprentice and learn all that you know, what would you teach them?
How to work smarter, not harder.

In 50 years, what will people be nostalgic for and why?
(Cue the Debbie Downer sound) Everything we take for granted now, because it’ll probably be scarce or not around anymore.



Follow Sharif Pendleton on social media at @laserphilly. Learn more about all the artists-in-residence.
This Q&A is one in an artist Q&A series titled Get to Know. All Q&A’s were reviewed and edited by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation Digital team.