Graffiti Legend Steve Powers Lines NYC Streets with Irony

The urban artist brings 'ICY SIGNS' a collection of fake, painted street signs, to the Big City.

by Sami Emory
05 August 2015, 3:10pm

All images courtesy of Steve Powers

Thirty signs with illustrated bulletins of urban frustration, irony, and wit cropped up in Manhattan last weekend. Behind the signs stood Steve Powers, affixing each to dark green light posts, balanced on a bright orange ladder, clad in an equally bright traffic vest. Powers, an urban artist revered from the concrete of Brooklyn to the factories of Philadelphia and a veteran of VICE's Art Talks, installed the pieces for New York's annual Summer Streets celebration. For the whole month of August, Powers' ICY SIGNS will hang above the city streets, "directing everyone to navigate not only the city streets, but our interior alleys and avenues." 

The pop art aura of the signs stems from the unlikely muse of NYC's Department of Transportation (DOT) and "the clarity and directness of DOT signage," Powers explains to The Creators Project. For the messages themselves, the artist took cues from the daily grind and gripes of the city's people. For example, "I hung the sign that says 'How The Day Began' and 'DAY' is in the trash," he says. "I meant the sign as a shout out to trash men, and it was coincidental or fated that we hung it next to a sign that said 'AVENUE OF THE STRONGEST,' who is the DSNY." 

Overall, Powers concludes, "I'm just trying to make sense of life, and the signs are documenting the making of that sense. I think of the signs as epiphanies, even when they are obvious or obviously wrong or worse, plainly opaque." Check out some of Steve Powers' ICY SIGNS below:

For more awesome urban art, check out Steve Powers' website


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New York
public art
steve powers
Summer Streets
ICY Signs
sign art