Stretched across city walls and along rooftops, Stephen Powers's colorful large-scale murals sneak up on you. "Open your eyes / I see the sunrise," "If you were here I'd be home," "Forever begins when you say yes." What at first looks like nothing as much as an advertisement suddenly becomes something grander and more mysterious—a hand-painted love letter at billboard size. Combining community activism and public art, Powers and his team of sign mechanics collaborate with a neighborhood's residents to create visual jingles— sincere and often poignant affirmations and confessions that reflect the collective hopes and dreams of the host community. A Love Letter to the City gathers the artist's powerful public art project for the first time, including murals on the walls and rooftops of Brooklyn and Syracuse, New York; Philadelphia; Dublin and Belfast, Ireland; São Paolo, Brazil, and Johannesburg, South Africa.
About the Author
Stephen Powers was born and raised in Philadelphia, where in 1984, as an overgrown sixteen-year-old, he started writing the name ESPO around his neighborhood and eventually around the world. Powers stopped writing graffiti and tending bar in 1999 to dedicate himself to art full time. He was a Fulbright scholar in 2007, using the grant to paint in the streets of Dublin and Belfast. His work has been shown at the Venice and Liverpool Biennials and appears continuously in solo and group exhibitions in the United States and internationally. He lives and works in New York City and makes art and hand-painted signs out of his Philadelphia and Brooklyn ICY Signs shops, where "perfection is standard, mistakes cost extra."