In what seems to be turning into a tradition for us, we took a long-ass walk through Brooklyn on Christmas morning, exploring with relatively few other people around. Our destination was Love Letter to Brooklyn by Stephen Powers a.k.a. ESPO, which went up a few months ago on the Macy’s parking garage in downtown Brooklyn.
I had seen photos of it on the always amazing Vernacular Typography and just had to check it out for myself. Wow! The block lettering is chunky and utilitarian, its aesthetic wholly appropriate for its drab concrete surface. At first glance, it may appear to be advertising, but the language is based on conversations with area residents. It’s such a massive piece that it’s difficult to photograph more than a brief phrase at a time.
Just down the street is ICY Signs, a storefront that was the staging area during painting and also a temporary gallery named Livingston Street Market, showing selected works by Stephen Powers [ESPO] and Todd James [REAS]. Unfortunately, it’s only open by appointment:
Apparently, this exhibit contains work from Art in the Streets, which was at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles last year. The exhibit was scheduled to travel to the Brooklyn Museum, but that was cancelled. Check out more about all this at Arrested Motion.
Just a few blocks away on Fulton Mall is another Powers project. According to WNYC Culture, he hopes to obtain permission to paint more pieces like this in the neighborhood:
In case you’re not familiar, Powers is a former graffiti artist whose work has “grown up” over the years largely in the public sphere, becoming more informed by commercial lettering and conceptually more sophisticated. He is the author of the classic The Art of Getting Over: Graffiti at the Millennium. In recent years, he has spent time in Ireland as a Fulbright scholar and shown work in group and solo exhibits including the Venice Biennale. In other words, the man has street cred and art world cred.