I watched the documentary Beautiful Losers last night, a film about "street artists" (ranging from filmmaker Harmony Korine to illustrator Shepard Fairey) and was pretty inspired by the artists onscreen. Being a designer, I find myself in a weird limbo between art and business and though I went to art school, am unsure whether to really call myself an artist. Luckily, I could relate to a few people in the film so maybe this designer vs. artist dilemma of mine isn't that significant. One artist from the movie whose work I've really admired for a while is Steve Powers.
I've really never been crazy about typical graffiti art. I've always guiltily admitted this to people who have either insisted I haven't seen the right stuff or kind of rolled their eyes at my opinion. Oops! Steve Powers though, is a whooole different story. He's an artist from Philly who moved to New York in the early '90s and immediately called it his home. He spent the rest of the decade tagging every borough of New York under the pseudonym ESPO (an acronym for Exterior Surface Painting Outreach) and stopped in 2000 to spend his time on art-making. This endeavor includes the recent project "A Love Letter for You", a series of murals of romantic phrases in beautiful and colorful lettering throughout Philadelphia. These murals are what initially drew me to Powers' stuff: intimate love notes in public spaces.