Tag Archives: sign making

ESPO on Sign Making

Throughout the length of  Steve Powers’ current show at White Walls, several gallery visitors have asked if he is a professional sign painter. This excerpt from Steve’s A Love Letter for You blog breaks down his shift from graffiti to sign painting, with a tinge of his usual humor.

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After I stopped writing my name on stuff, I made a lateral move into sign painting. The materials were essentially the same, (enamel on metal), the colors were similar, (bold and garish are best) but the effect was totally different. When you paint graffiti, you are an outsider that is broadcasting your signal to the center of the community. When you paint a sign, you are broadcasting from the center of the community to the periphery. Graffiti is a youth testing out a microphone, Signs speak into the mike eloquently and with authority. Even as a teenager I could see a huge difference in how my work was perceived versus the painted signs that commanded respect.

There is an amazing painted sign tradition that permeates the landscape of West Philadelphia. I’ll be adding many more pictures in time, but look at these and see the direction we’re going to take this project. We’ll be reviving the dead arts of  sign painting and wall-writing; The bricks were painted 40-80 years ago and they remind us that West Philly was a powerful place of mercantile style and industrial might, and could be again. The rents are certainly right, the community is certainly ready. -ESPO, A Love Letter for You

This Saturday, December 5th  is your last chance to catch ESPO’s current show hanging at White Walls Gallery. Trust us, the smell of Steve’s tire pyramid makes for a multi-sensory experience that can’t be missed.

Press Release: ESPO

mother by Espo

White Walls Gallery is proud to present new works by Steve Powers on Saturday, November 14th 2009. Steve Powers (also known as ESPO) isolates moments, images and phrases of daily life to create an emotional revelation within the viewer. Please join us for the opening reception at White Walls Gallery from 7-11pm.

Dedication to making the world a better place may seem overzealous for an artist but ESPO is the exception to the rule. He has been an influential contributor to bettering the lives of teenagers from troubled housing projects by teaching art in Ireland, fighting for human rights in Guantanamo Bay, and spreading the love with his most recent Love Letter Street Mural Exhibit. ESPO, meaning Exterior Surface Painting Outreach, is revered for his graffiti, signage on the street as well as huge art installations in galleries such as Dietch Projects, Collette and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Aside from his successful career as a professional gallery artist, he is also a Fullbright scholar, a participant in the 49th Venice Biennale, and author of two artist books.

Maintaining his graffiti and signage aesthetic, ESPO’s new collections of shadow boxes are made with enamel and aluminum. They are backlit: shining in honesty, complexity and truth. This exhibit brings attention to matters of love, life and all the complicated situations in between. Notorious for his dark humor combined with eloquence ESPO’s paintings create a dynamic synthesis of words and images. His strategic composition of solid colors combined with graceful, bold lines is succinct yet conceptually engaging.

Please join us for the opening reception of new works by Steve Powers on Saturday, November 14th 2009, from 7-11pm. This show will be on exhibit from November 14th through December 5th, 2009 and is open to the public.