Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To a Seagull)
Stephen Powers aka ESPO, world-renowned artist, visionary and the man behind the Purps logo has been tagging walls, streets and buildings up and down the East Coast since the early 90’s. If you have never seen his work then you have been missing out. His clean, bright hand-painted signage pays homage to the “traditional Americana” of the 1950’s and single handedly injects new life to the fading craft. In an instant his clever play-on-word phrases will hit you with an emotional punch, evoking thought and confirming his creative genius well beyond the eye-popping aesthetic.
In early 2000, Steve’s admiration for classical sign painting inspired him to shift gears from street art to studio life and establish his new creative outlet, ICY Signs. Along with fellow East Coast (and West Coast) graffiti writers, the ICY Signs collective has amazed the art world and revitalized storefront signage that resonates the artistic appeal akin to the dreamland of the Coney Island boardwalk. In fact, Steve is involved in just about anything and everything to do with art in his Brooklyn backyard on Coney Island.
Recently, the Brooklyn Museum asked Steve to present a show that pays tribute to his past and present work. Along with the work of Justin Green, Matt Wright, Mike Levy, Dan Murphy, Mike Langley, Mimi Gross, Alexis Ross, Sean Barton, Eric Davis, and Tim Curtis, Steve captures the essence and appeal of the art that makes Coney Island. “Coney Island Is Still A Dreamland (To A Seagull)” is the groups 9th installment of their well-known traveling pop up shop, which has been taking place on Coney Island since 2003. Longtime friend, Purps and RVCA founder PM Tenore sponsored the show.
“This site-specific installation by artist Stephen Powers recalls the birth of new public art in Coney Island, and the emergence of a uniquely American and wholly ‘Coney Island’ style of painting. Powers transforms our Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery into an immersive environment filled with paintings and signs created in the visual vernacular of the iconic seaside community.” – Brooklyn Museum
We are honored Steve is part of the Purps family. Check out the highlights from his show below. Can you spot the origin of the Purps legs in any of his work?