Love letter to the city

Brooklyn car park hosts Steve Power’s concrete love letter to the city


Published on Tuesday, 1 November, 2011 | 10:00 am | by Eye Blog

Steve Powers (also known as ESPO) is fast gaining a reputation for urban regeneration, writes Alexander Ecob. His Love Letter to Philadelphia saw old and abandoned buildings along Philadelphia’s Market-Frankford Elevated line acting as canvases for his bright artwork and ebullient wordplay and led to similar work adorning the bridges of Syracuse and the interior of Ogilvy & Mather’s offices.

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His latest commission has given him the reign of thousands of square feet of a Brooklyn car park belonging to department store Macy’s. Powers claims that the people and stories of Brooklyn are direct inspirations for the work – while it was being painted (a process which took two weeks of rollers and house paint) he encouraged passers-by to shout up suggestions which he and his team could try to incorporate into the work.

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Powers says ‘A neighbourhood in decline has always been an ideal place to work. Generally, you are only improving the situation with a little bit of paint, and the work tends to last longer than in the pricey precincts of the city.’

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‘the work […] heralds the forthcoming development, but also testifies to the cherished aspects of the neighbourhoods we worked in, aspects that may be lost as the neighbourhoods change.’

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See also: Review of Supergraphics in Eye 78, Beaker Street mystery public letterers,The word on the street and
Paint the city clean on the Eye blog and our Reputations interview with Paula Scher in Eye 77.

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop.


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