In 1999, Steve Powers stopped writing graffiti and tending bar, and dedicated himself to being a full-time artist. Later, in 2007, Powers used his Fulbright Scholarship to paint in the streets in Dublin and Belfast, inspired by the area’s political murals. He told The New York Times that he was “taking the form of the murals, which are powerful for all the wrong reasons, and trying to retain some of the power and use it in a really good way.” His ongoing work A Love Letter for You discusses the complexities and rewards of relationships and is based on his work in Ireland. Powers’s 50- plus murals painted along Market Street in West Philadelphia were sponsored by a grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and produced with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. Powers is also the author of The Art of Getting Over (1999), on graffiti history, and the graphic collection of short stories First & Fifteenth: Pop Art Short Stories (2005). His work has been shown at the Venice and Liverpool Biennials and in numerous exhibitions at Deitch Projects.
Why we love Steve Powers:
• We always smile every time we see his Love Letter to Brooklyn on an old Macy’s parking garage which he called “one of the ugliest pieces of architecture I’ve ever had the privilege of decorating”
• In 2005 he worked with Creative Time as an indispensable collaborator on the The Dreamland Artists Club, an exhibition that revitalized the rich visual culture of Coney Island via the contemporary reinvention of the tradition of colorful hand-painted signs and advertisements dating back more than a century.
• He compiled over 13 years as a graffiti artist into his book The Art of Getting Over, laying out the history and complex meanings of grafitti