One of the landmarks of Shoreditch is the street art scene on the corner of Great Eastern Street and Shoreditch High Street.
It consists of a large painted wall mural saying “Let’s Adore and Endure Each Other” with two train carriages perched above it, with faces painted on them, and four art panels beneath it. How did it all get there?
The ‘Adore and Endure’ wall mural has been a permanent fixture since it was painted in 2010 by the American artist Steve Powers. It is part of his project “A Love Letter to You” which consists of phrases from a love letter painted on exterior walls across London, Philadelphia and New York.
Steve started his art career aged 16 in 1980s Philadelphia, painting graffiti. His tag was ESPO, standing for Exterior Surface Painting Outreach. He used this tag because unlike night-time graffiti artists, he liked painting graffiti during the day, so when challenged, his reply would be: “I’m from ESPO, I’m just cleaning up this wall.”
Steve is now a renowned artist and illustrator based in New York, but he is still called “Steve ESPO” or just “ESPO”.
When painting ‘Adore and Endure’ Steve said: “I love working in public and I love painting brick walls. London has some of the finest brick walls in the world.”
Steve says that well conceived wall murals are an efficient way of reaching people when they are out and about between work and home. Their guard is down, and graffiti can be a good way to receive a message, provided it’s transmitted in a generous way. Steve says that through his art he is trying to demonstrate an unparalleled level of generosity.
On the message of ‘Adore and Endure,’ Steve explained: “People can identify with this message. It has power… it speaks to people… I am making visual love songs, just trying to communicate emotion as poetically and directly as possible.”
The Steve Powers ‘Adore and Endure’ wall mural is on the Great Eastern Street side of Village Underground. This is an arts community formed in 2006 in a Victorian warehouse, augmented with shipping containers for additional space on the warehouse roof.
Although ‘Adore and Endure’ will stay, the four art panels beneath it change every few months, painted by graffiti and mural artists through agreement with Village Underground.
The train carriages in the sky used to run on the Jubilee Line across the city, but now, with great views across London’s rooftops, they sit proudly on top of shipping containers. The train carriages and shipping containers have been converted to studios with a shared meeting room and kitchen, and are rented out to local creative people like film makers, artists and designers.
Steve “ESPO” Powers
Studio space to rent enquiries:
The warehouse is available for exhibitions, concerts, club nights and other events: