Steve ‘ESPO’ Powers’ love for hand painted signage is made apparent through the thousands of messages he has penned to communities the world over. He explains his creative progression like this: “ESPO was a name that I wrote when I wrote graffiti. ICY Signs represents the next level from that, which for us was sign painting. We fell in love with the craft of sign painting and it’s something we pursue, while we pursue making art.”
Besides finding Joburg to be a really interesting place with a tremendous amount of style, ESPO related to it mostly because “there’s more hand painted signage here than I’ve seen anywhere else, and it’s just phenomenal.”
Living by the belief that “Art’s got to serve the community if it’s going to be in the community,” ESPO sought inspiration from Maboneng local Bheki after an inner-city walk. ESPO asked him for advice on the message he should write on his second wall, to which Bheki responded, “Yo, ‘Stay Up Stay Rising’ you know, because it’s like a positive thing.” When asked what his views on the I ART JOBURG project were, ESPO responded: “I ART JOBURG represents the idea that if you put art in the places that you care about, and you do it with care, great things are going to come out of that.”
As a person who speaks so strongly about community and community involvement, he practices what he preaches and even had one of the top local signage guys in Joburg to make him a sign to signify him being open for business in South Africa, because as his saying goes: “A business without a sign is a sign of no business.”

Video Credits: Makhulu

Photo by: Martha Cooper

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One Comment

  1. Very cool way to make art while also making a living! Thanks for doing what you do. Hand painted signage is the best.

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