Photo: Classic ESPO Gates from the Writers Forum
Before Stephen Powers became a household name, he painted his moniker ESPO on gates all over the city. Under the guise of graffiti removal, ESPO painted over bombed storefront gates, often in the middle of daytime and always documented them with before and after photographs. And god forbid he got stopped by the police, he would tell them the letters on the gate stood for “Exterior Surface Painting Outreach.” And if there were any questions the cops should get in touch with the head of the organization, Mark Surface.
ESPO’s website used to have his mission statement with a series of before and after shots of some of the gates he painted, clearly in communities he’s improved. We found a couple of these before and after shots posted in the New York City thread of the Writers Forum by freewit3eez.