Posts Tagged ‘letter art’

Artist of the moment…..Stephen Powers….

Stephen Powers was born in 1968 in New York. He grew up in Philadelphia. Powers started off as a graffiti artist and went by the name of ESPO. Short for Exterior Surface Painting Outreach.  He tagged in New York city as well as Philadelphia.

He took drawing and painting courses at the University of the Arts and the Art Institute of Philadelphia.

Was CEO of  a magazine called ON THE GO magazine.

Stephen Powers talking about his Flights of Genius project.

In this clip the artist talks about his childhood and growing up in a single parent household. He also talks about tagging. Powers also talks about having the support of the local community behind his artwork.

Stephen Powers is a well known for his style of art which examines the use of letterform and calligraphy, in particular its use in commercial advertising.

Price range info:  Lithographs can be found for a few hundred to a one thousand dollars. Very large original works done with enamel on aluminum start around $10,000 with sides roughly 50 inches by 50 inches.

He got his start doing street art by using his graffiti skills to cover up buildings that were no longer used and in most cases deeply vandalized. By the time 1999 came around Powers had figured he had done around 70 grate paintings.

The artist was arrested in regards to an incident where he was on opposite sides with the Mayor of New York at the time, Rudolph Guiliani. The Mayor was trying to shut down a show. Powers wanted the show to go on. Eventually Powers was arrested at his home and eventually took a plea bargain and ended up with some days of community service.

In the year 2000 Powers decided to try and become a full time studio artist working from home.

Stephen Powers has been on the cover of Juxtapose magazine.

For his use of letters the artist reminds me to another great graphic artist who paints facades of old board games, the artist Tim Liddy. Liddy paints the tops of old board game boxes, some are real and some are entirely made from the artist’s imagination. I found his lettering to be quite similar to Powers, kind of a 1960s type of feeling. Below is an example of a Tim Liddy painting.



This artist is very inspiring for many reasons. He came from the streets! Like Richard Hambleton or Swoon, Stephen Powers honed his skills on the streets. Now he is featured in gallery shows and sometimes gets paid by the community who would rather have his awesome graffiti rather than an old dingy brownstone to look at.  The fact that communities pay him to put his graffiti on their buildings shows how powerful art can be!