Alta Live: Phil Ross, the Mushroom Man

As an artist and as an entrepreneur, Phil Ross has chosen one medium: mushrooms.

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As an artist and as an entrepreneur, Phil Ross has chosen one medium: mushrooms. His company, MycoWorks, has become a prominent voice in the world of fungal technology, contributing its myco-leather to a new handbag from the iconic fashion house Hermès. (That’s right: there’s an Hermès bag made out of mushrooms.) Ross and Alta Journal contributing editor Adam Fisher join Alta Live to talk about fungi’s remarkable possibilities, invention and art, and what’s next for the mushroom man.

About the guests:

Phil Ross is a San Francisco–based artist and the chief technology officer and cofounder of MycoWorks, a company that grows mycelium into art, furniture, and durable fabrics. Ross worked as a chef and a hospice caregiver before pivoting to cultivating mushrooms. He launched MycoWorks in 2013 with Sophia Wang, his business partner.

Adam Fisher is the author of Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley (As Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom), named a top book for 2018 by both Bloomberg Businessweek and the BBC. He lives near San Francisco and writes for Wired, MIT Technology Review, and the New York Times Magazine. His book with Yves Béhar will be released in August 2021.•

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