Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Graffiti Writer & Fulbright Scholar

Mr. Steve Powers aka ESPO recently returned to the States after 6 months in Ireland.

About ESPO:

After moving to New York from Philadelphia in 1994, Mr. Powers became infamous for painting his signature boxy letters in daylight over the metal grates of shuttered storefronts. His work led to his apartment being raided by the transit police’s vandals squad in 1999, as well as six felony charges in Manhattan and Brooklyn for criminal mischief; he eventually accepted a plea deal in which he did five days of community service.

During an interview in March in his studio, Mr. Powers explained his decision to stop painting illegally: “I wanted to find a way to grow out of it while succeeding at being creative.”

About his acceptance as a Fulbright scholar:

“I was shocked,” Mr. Powers said in a phone interview from Ireland. “I didn’t think I would get it but I felt a few feet taller when I did.” Although a Fulbright scholar typically must have a doctorate, Mr. Powers, an art school dropout, was granted an exception because of his achievement in the arts.

“The Fulbright program invests in talented people,” said Thomas A. Farrell, deputy assistant secretary for academic programs at the United States Department of State, which manages the program. “The body of work is what counts.”

For more, please see today's NY Times article with great ESPO visuals from a slide show here.