Kensington: Local Artist David Ohlerking Hits the Streets

Don’t be surprised when driving around Kensington and Fishtown to see an artist parked on the street painting furiously with his easel propped inside the back of his car’s trunk.

Artist David Ohlerking paints an appliance store in Kensington.

This is David Ohlerking doing what he calls street painting or direct painting.

It’s easy to recognize Ohlerking because his silver Ford is covered in paint.

“Some kids kept distracting me one day when I was trying to paint a building,” Ohlerking said.”I then decided to give them some paint brushes and said they can paint my car to keep them from bothering me.”

Ohlerking moved to Howard Street in Kensington four months ago from New Jersey. Before Jersey he lived in Texas.

Some of Ohlerking’s artwork is currently hanging in the F.A.N. Gallery at 221 Arch Street in Old City. He is influenced by German Expressionism and is a student of Alex Kanevsky. Ohlerking uses oil on Masonite as his medium.

Ohlerking only has one rule when it comes to brushes he uses.

The finished painting of an appliance store in Kensington.

“I never throw out any brushes,” Ohlerking said. “The worse they get, the happier I am.”

Ohlerking is also a workaholic often doing two to three painting a day to stay afloat.

“I usually trade my paintings for coffee and free internet access at the Rocket Cat Cafe,” Ohlerking said about the coffee shop/gallery in Fishtown. “Today, I’m trying to trade this painting for a used refrigerator at the appliance store.”

The renegade lifestyle of Ohlerking also makes him the only white member of the St. John Memorial Baptist Church in Fishtown.

His most famous painting appeared on the cover of Rural Alberta Advantage’s album “Hometowns,” which was released by Saddlecreek Records.

Be sure to check out Ohlerking’s next show at the Fonthill Castle in Doylestown in May or visit his website at

Believe it of not, this is actually Ohlerking's trunk.

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