Meet ESPO (aka Steve Powers)

ESPO. Exterior Surface Painting Outreach. This is the X graffiti artist joining us in White Walls for November 2009 (press release here), bringing with him all the supplies he needs to create the show from within our gallery walls. This could be a show in the most theatrical sense of the word, or ESPO could silently mount the exhibition in the blink of an eye (as he does in the streets). How can one speculate such things? All we can do is look to the past for an overview of where he’s been and what he’s done.

Deitch Projects in NYC

Starting old school, here is an exhibition he did at Deitch Projects with Barry McGee in 2000 (photos via Deitch).

ESPO

ESPO

“Covering the walls were signs announcing, for example, ‘Buck Fiddy’s 50 cent store,’ ‘Super Savior Just for You’ and ‘Run Yo Shit, Brought to you by No Fair 1’s Productions.’ This zesty signage reflects the artists’ enthusiastic embrace of the American advertising esthetic, as well as their fondness for the lively grammar of slang. For imaginary products in the fabricated stores, Powers designed Pop-inspired labels, mini art works that demonstrate both his good graphic sense and his ability to manipulate the idioms of consumer culture. There were, for example, cans of ‘Stret Cred,’ ‘Dignity,’ ‘Class’ and ‘Belief’; ‘Promise’ is a roll of toilet paper.” -By Sarah Valdez, Art in America (October 2000)

ESPO

ESPO

Fullbright Scholarship in Ireland

ESPO received a Fullbright Scholarship to paint the streets of Dublin, Ireland from 2007-2008.  He was allotted $30k to live in Ireland for 6 months and paint the streets. By renting a one bedroom apartment 30 minutes outside of Dublin, he was able to connect with the local culture in this art exchange. A few flicks from Irish Street Art:

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“As Mr. Powers was preparing to return home, he reflected on the contrast that had emerged in his life: He started his artistic career as essentially an outlaw, and was now painting in Ireland under the auspices of an elite, ivory-tower organization. “It’s interesting to revisit my original medium and do it differently,” he said. “The only reason I got into graffiti in the first place was I wanted some stories to tell.” –NY Times

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A Love Letter for You in Philadelphia

ESPO’s most recent endeavor has been a full blown mural project in Philadelphia called A Love Letter for You. In three works, ESPO worked with 40 artists to complete 50 rooftop murals.

ESPO 3

ESPO

“The murals, which are best viewed from the Market-Frankford elevated transit line, collectively express a love letter from a guy to a girl, from an artist to his hometown, and from local residents to their West Philadelphia neighborhood.” –Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. Some photos via A Love Letter for You:

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ESPO 4

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White Walls in San Francisco

Alas, the artist is now in our very own gallery. Come by this Saturday, November 14th from 7-11pm to see ESPO’s newest works. We now leave you with Juxtapoz Magazine’s 20 Questions with Steve Powers, it’s good for a laugh.

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One response to “Meet ESPO (aka Steve Powers)

  1. It says “X graffiti artist” in the beginning. Hmmm. sounds like a crock full of shit to me.

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