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Stephen Powers

Stephen Powers. Image courtesy of the artist.

Stephen Powers

American, born 1968

Stephen Powers was born and raised in Philadelphia where he began graffiti writing in 1984 under the name ESPO (alternatively cited as "Exterior Surface Painting Outreach," or as an auditory acronym for Steve POwers). By 2000, Powers gave up graffiti to become a full-time studio artist. His work has been shown at the prestigious Venice and Liverpool Biennials, as well as numerous shows at New York's Deitch Gallery. In 2005 he organized The Dreamland Artists Club, a project in which professional artists helped Coney Island merchants by repainting their signs. In 2007, Powers organized his first solo museum exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The show, which included many sign and guidepost artworks, attracted attention in New York and Philadelphia. In December of that year, ESPO appeared on the cover of the art magazine Juxtapoz. “In 10 years time,” they wrote, “Stephen 'ESPO' Powers's name will reside next to Crumb, Robert Williams, Basquiat, McGee, and Warhol as those who truly changed the way art is defined and displayed.”

Last updated 2019
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