Every year we produce the Seattle Interactive Conference in Oct/Nov time period and we have been reaching out to some of our favorite artists, designers and musicians to participate. We were fortunate enough to have Steve “ESPO” Powers deliver a keynote at the event and paint a mural on the Vain Salon building in downtown Seattle, WA at 2018 1st Avenue, Seattle, WA.
Steve Powers at Seattle Interactive Conference, 2014
Fish eye view of the Vain Wall, courtesy of Nate Berends.
I have been a personal fan of Steve’s work for quite sometime now and if you haven’t had a chance to check out one of his latest installation projects at the Brooklyn Museum titled Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To a Seagull). The exhibit runs Nov 20, 2015–Mar 13, 2016 in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery, 5th Floor.
The installation also includes works by Justin Green, Matt Wright, Mike Levy, Dan Murphy, Mike Langley, Mimi Gross, Alexis Ross, Sean Barton, Eric Davis, and Tim Curtis. I met Sean Barton who happens to live and paint signs and murals here in Seattle in the Ballard ship yard. If you don’t already, follow him on Instagram. His work and letter styles are amazing and he is a super nice guy.
I first got exposed to ESPO from my buddy Retro from the infamous TITS Crew that ran Phantom Magazine, a graffiti magazine out of Bill’s Wheels in Santa Cruz, CA. I later purchased The Art of Getting Over which he was the author of. He is the ultimate storyteller through his medium and a graffiti artist turned sign painter. If you haven’t seen his Love Letter to the City works yet check out the videos and images in Google Image search. You can also cop the “A Love Letter to the City” book on Amazon which makes for a nice coffee table book.
Here is one of my favorite works from that project:
The initial idea for his Seattle visit was to try to secure walls that he could paint on and we contacted the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture department. They were super helpful in making introductions to building owners and other groups working on mural projects in the city. We called a dozen of leads and building owners. In the end my partner Gloria Connors reached out to Victoria who owns the VAIN Salon. She reached out to the building owner (dude has to be cool as shit) who has let her manage the art on the wall for years with another good friend and legendary Seattle graffiti artist Sam “SNEKE”. His piece is the 3rd one from left to right in the fish eye photo above. Nate that works with Connors & Co and with us on Seattle Interactive filmed the time lapse video above with a waterproof GoPro camera that he was able to mount on top of the building next door. I really enjoyed my time hanging out with Steve and his crew that week and look forward to having him back to Seattle to beautify some more walls.
If you are ever out in Brooklyn, NY you should stop by ICY Signs on 72 Fourth Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217. Open most days 12-6.
Follow him and shop online at:
http://fifteenthandfirst.tumblr.com/ – ICY SIGNS
http://firstandfifteenth.bigcartel.com/ – ICY SIGNS Shop