In the 1950s, the American government touted Abstract Expressionist painters like Jackson Pollock as the ultimate American artists. Their individualistic attitude and pioneering painting techniques made them easy to market as the opposite of the collective-oriented, socialist mindset the U.S. was combatting during the Cold War. Could street artists become today’s personification of American individualism? As the art form transitions from illegal to institutionalized, this possibility is not too far off.
Steve “ESPO” Powers, (an internationally-respected artist who, it is important to note, started out as a graffiti kid) was recently invited to paint the exterior wall of the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen. A gesture of friendship, according to the embassy, the mural is based on the tale of Hans Christian Andersen, “The Red Shoes,” a story about vanity and redemption (something Powers said he intended to be a commentary on today’s culture). Powers completed the mural earlier this week. Check out contributing photographer Henrik Haven’s photos of the new piece below.