Wednesday, August 26, 2009
ESPO IS BACK AND IM LOVING IT
Graffiti artist Steven Powers aka Espo in conjunction with the city of brotherly love Philadelphia, has launched a series of new works part of the artist series love letter street mural exhibit.
Stephen J. Powers is a New York City artist who at one time wrote graffiti in Philadelphia and New York under the name ESPO ("Exterior Surface Painting Outreach").He was most well known during the late 1990s for his conceptual pieces as well as his role as the editor and publisher of On the Go Magazine. ESPO's work often blurred the lines between illegal and legal. Pieces like "Greetings from ESPOLand" utilized the style of the Asbury Park Billboards and appeared to be a legitimate billboard. On January 4, 1997 ESPO began his most ambitious non-commissioned art.He painted on storefront grates in Fort Greene, Bedford-Stuyvesant, TriBeCa and the South Bronx, covering the entire grate with white or silver paint and writing his name over it.Powers painted in daylight, wearing street clothes; he told the New York Times in 1999 that when passerby asked what he was doing he would tell them, "I'm with Exterior Surface Painting Outreach, and I'm cleaning up this gate"; the official-sounding name was enough to ward most people off.Powers targeted shops that appeared to be out of business and grates that were already heavily vandalized, describing his graffiti as a public service. In 1999 he said that he had painted around 70 grates.Powers is from Philadelphia's Overbrook neighborhood; he graduated from Robert E. Lamberton High School in 1987 and took classes at the University of the Arts. He moved to New York in 1995.