Phil Mortillaro

Being a locksmith means that you literally have the keys to the city. There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that kind of access, which is why it takes a very specific kind of person to be a successful locksmith.

Trying to shoot in Phil’s shop was no easy task. At 125 square feet, it’s the smallest free-standing building in Manhattan, and as if that wasn’t unique enough, the entire facade is adorned with sculptures that Phil created by welding keys together. He’s been involved in the New York art scene since the gritty, underground scene of the 60′s and 70′s (Max’s Kansas City, Andy Warhol times) through the gentrification and rebirth that turned lower Manhattan into what it is now. If you’re in the mood for conversation, ask Phil about “the edge” (no, not the guitarist). Guaranteed he’ll have a lot to say about the evolution of arts in Manhattan…