This large piece painted on the front of the building in Shoreditch London is called “Lets Adore And Endure Each Other”. Created by New York legend Steve “ESPO” Powers, it has presided over this creative complex (there are studios and offices in the building and the train carriages) since 2010, unusual for urban graffiti. And I wondered why?
Over time, other artists have added their work in the four panels below ESPO’s message. Each time offering a personal corollary to the main statement. An ongoing dialogue between artists – one that I think has allowed the piece to endure.
Powers is unusual in that he writes about emotions and relationships – not often the content of graffiti. His piece reminded me of American Poet Charles Wright, a master in the deliberate use of ambiguous language: “Most of my poems start with me looking out the window or sitting in the backyard as dusk comes down, and what that sort of translates into — into my thinking at the moment. … that’s what poetry has always been for me. It’s been a way of sustaining my questions about life and mortality and all those things that we don’t like to talk about, but they’re always there, you know, knocking on the window.”
What if Wright was in one of those trains, how would he respond to Power’s work? Perhaps something like this:
“I used to think the power of words was inexhaustible,
That how we said the world
was how it was, and how it would be.
I used to imagine that word-sway and word-thunder
Would silence the Silence and all that,
That words were the Word,
That language could lead us inexplicably to grace,
As though it were geographical.
I used to think these things when I was young.
I still do.”
(all images found in the public domain. Charles Wright, poet and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the National Book Award, and the Griffin Poetry Prize, grew up in Kingsport, Tennessee, and teaches at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. )