Steve “ESPO” Powers is a rare icon in the contemporary art world. Graffiti, sign painting, museum installations, books, major public art projects, gallery shows, international recognition, Art In the Streets, Beyond the Streets, Street Market, The Art of Getting Over… I started listing all these things because, to me, ESPO has been a pivotal figure in my understanding of art, and especially, the art that I felt belonged to me the most. He added wit, humour and wry observations to the art genres that I loved, and before there was ever meme culture or Instagram, ESPO was creating these perfectly poetic fine art sign paintings that almost seemed to predict what the future of communication would be.
At the end of July 2019, Juxtapoz went on the RVCA World Tour to Tokyo, where one of the highlights was the re-imagining of Beautiful Losers, the seminal art exhibition and movement that ESPO was part of and has grown from. On episode 019 of the Radio Juxtapoz Podcast, we caught up with the 3x Juxtapoz cover artist in a phone booth in the basement of the Cerulean Tower in Shibuya at the end of the trip and with a bit of a reflection on the “reunion” vibe of the RVCA World Tour and Beautiful Losers show. We talked about ESPO’s unique relationship with Tokyo, his history with the Beautiful Losers artists, the family vibe of RVCA, how he has been able to apply his unique aesthetic to a fine art medium and the lessons he has learned navigating contemporary art.
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Follow Stephen “ESPO” Powers at @steveespopowers