It is appropriate that we were on our way to eat after checking out Beyond The Streets, when we passed right by this Warby Parker eyewear store, the exterior of which just happens to be completely covered with the distinctive artwork of Stephen Powers (aka ESPO), whose work we had seen in the exhibit!
The attention-grabbing two-story mural by the graffiti and sign-painting legend (which covers all four sides of the building) makes the store very easy to spot from a distance! We didn’t go in, but I understand that Powers contributed to the store’s interior decor as well.
Check your Instagram feed now for shots of your friends posed in front of this wall.
Warby Parker By ESPO is Located at 124 North 6th Street (Corner of Berry Street) in Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY.
All Photos By Gail (Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail)
Brooklyn-based Artist Stephen Powers sure has been making the art scene a whole lot brighter since we first saw his hilarious and thought-provoking signage on display in Chelsea Art Galleries. Last summer, Powers teamed up with New York’s Department of Transportation for a temporary public art signage project, and he also increased his global profile as one of the many collaborator’s whose works appeared as part of Banksy’s Theme Park Art Installation, Dismaland . That must have been fun.
Now through August 21st, 2016, Stephen Powers responds to the visual vernacular of Coney Island in his very fun exhibit Coney Island is Still Dreamland (To a Seagull) at the Brooklyn Museum.
Coney Island is Still Dreamland is a site-specific installation of signs and paintings from ICY SIGNS — a traveling sign shop and an ongoing collaboration between Powers and other sign writers. At a time when computers dominate the industry of sign production, the project revives the art of hand-painted signs. The signs look commercial, but the combination of everyday images and pithy phrases offers only emotional goods.
Here’s a video I shot at the Museum last Sunday, which will give you an idea of the scope of the project that still photos cannot really capture. There are four, floor-to-ceiling boards full of colorful signs that you can pour over for hours! All signs are hand painted by Stephen and the ICY SIGNS crew, and you can even watch a video of the installation going up, which is fascinating.
ICY SIGNS was initially conceived with the advent of the Dreamland Artist Club – a public art project in which Powers and more that 40 other artists created custom signs for the games and rides of Coney Island. “Everyone [involved in ICY SIGNS] has an emotional investment in Coney Island,” Powers explains. “We value that by making work [that’s] as fried, greasy, sweet, cheap, fun and flashy as any other experience you can have there!”
Stephen Powers interest in hand-painted signs grew out of his early work as a graffiti writer under the pseudonym ESPO, and was furthered by inspiration gleaned from the seaside community. This is the latest of nine iterations of ICY SIGNS, which has been exhibited in numerous storefronts, museums, and galleries in both the US and abroad.
You can visit permanent locations of ICY SIGNS in Brooklyn, and in Powers’ hometown of Philadelphia.
Enamored with the unique style of painting that was born in and defines Coney Island, Powers uses the style to depict his own life and times. These paintings capture what he calls “The eternal now of New York City.”
In addition to new pieces by Powers, the installation includes works by Justin Green, Matt Wright, Mike Levy, Dan Murphy, Mike Langley, Mimi Gross, Alexis Ross, Sean Barton, Eric David and Tim Curtis.
Be sure to watch the Video where Stephen talks about the relationship between ICY SIGNS and Coney Island. You’ll get to see a lot of the art being created and it’s very interesting to watch it all come together. Plus, Stephen Powers seems like a cool guy. Near the end of the video, he says something like “As long as you can see the ocean, and get a hot dog, it’s still Paradise.” I like it.
This installation was originally scheduled to close on March 13th, but has been extended into August, so you have plenty of time to check it out!
Part two of Saturday night’s opening receptions at Jonathan LeVine Gallery (because there are always two) was a fun little exhibit called Search Party by Philadelphia-based artist Jim Houser. Search Party, the artist’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery, includes a series of eight new works and a site-specific installation. Some of Houser’s work reminded me very much of the collages I saw at How & Nosm’sLate Confessions pop up exhibit back in February.
Collage with Detail, Below
Through Houser’s signature style of visual poetry and personal iconography, the artist extends his practice of self-examination to include the topic of art making itself. Works in this exhibition serve to consider Houser’s relationship to the artwork he creates, the compulsion to create it and how his lifestyle has, consequently, been formed.
Collage Painting with Two Detail Shots Below. As you can see, there is a lot of humor and childlike whimsy in the art.
The way he mixes words with pictures reminds me also of the work of Stephen Powers.
The artist’s collages become visual poems through which he cathartically communicates his most private thoughts and emotions with surprising candor. By cataloging his experiences and feelings through a unique pictorial language, the artist creates his own brand of curative iconography. His aesthetic often mixes stylized figures, hand-drawn typography and geometric shapes, creating quilt-like collages in a cohesive color palette.
Painting with Detail Below
Jim Houser layers acrylic on wood, fabric and found objects, blurring the lines between collage and sculpture. Once combined, it becomes clear that all of his works are associative and directly related. This deceptively dimensional quality is further highlighted when the pieces are assembled into one of the artist’s elaborate installations, adding to the complexity of each individual piece by emphasizing a greater inter-connectivity to the body of work as a whole.
If you’ll be heading over to LeVine to check out Shag’s Thursday’s Girl exhibit anyway, don’t forget to spend some time looking over Jim Houser’s Search Party to see what you might discover!
Search Party By Jim Houser will be on Exhibit through May 4th, 2013 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
One of our favorite Galleries in the Chelsea Arts District, Joshua Liner, has just moved from an upper floor at 540 West 28th Street to a 2,600-square-foot street level exhibition space that completely transforms the environmental aesthetic of the gallery. To celebrate the move, Joshua Liner is currently presenting Direct Address, an inaugural group exhibition featuring works in diverse media by longtime gallery figures as well as new additions to the program. Participants include the following artists:
Oh, what a night! Thursday, September 6th, 2012 not only marked the party-filled kick off of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week here in NYC, but the evening also launched the reopening of many of our favorite Chelsea art Galleries after a too-long summer of dormancy. Well into the balmy evening (summer ain’t over yet!), the streets of Chelsea were as teaming with excited art fans as Times Square is with tourists at midday! The Art is back!
Funny Because It’s True By Stephen Powers
We started off our evening’s crawl on 28th Street with a much-anticipated visit to the Joshua Liner Gallery – where we try to never miss an opening reception! Currently, Liner is hosting Stephen Powers’ A Word is Worth a Thousand Pictures, which is just fantastic fun!
Pour Trait of The Artist
In this new exhibition series, Powers presents a panoramic assemblage of enamel on aluminum paintings that occupy both gallery rooms. These colorful and engaging works – which reminded me a bit of the complex Rebus Puzzles of the Concentration Game Show — range from 10-by 8-inches to 8 by 16-feet.
Adore (2 of a Series of 3)
Stephen Powers is perhaps best known for public artworks that fuse sign painting, graffiti, words and images, and he creates a new form of public art that is collaborative and personal. I enjoyed finding clever messages hidden in the larger works and isolating various details which emphasize the paintings’ wry humor. If you are a fan of Mad Magazine or The National Lampoon, Powers’ work will certainly resonate with you. See some of those details below.
Easy Street Closed for Repairs: Detail From Funny Because It’s True
All My Eggs Fit in One (Basket): Detail from Day Seizer
Undo My Life: Detail from Larger Work
Stephen Powers’ A Word is Worth A Thousand Pictures will be on exhibit through September 29, 2012 at the Joshua Liner Gallery, Located at 548 West 28th Street, 3rd Floor, New York City. Gallery Hours are Tuesday — Saturday 11:00 AM — 6:00 PM.