American Express Is Giving Emerging Artists Billboard Space to Help Launch Their Careers

Artwork will appear in New York, London and Los Angeles

American Express is giving up precious billboard space to help emerging artists. American Express
Headshot of Katie Richards

If you live in New York, Los Angeles or London, you might soon notice a series of beautiful, hand-painted billboards pop up in your neighborhood. From a distance they might seem simply like colorful works of art (because they are) but upon closer inspection you’ll notice they are actually ads for American Express.

This month, the brand is launching a series of out-of-home work, created by emerging artists including Tiffany Alfonseca, Hisham, Dave Singley, Sylvia Ji, Josie Portillo and Leah Tinari. The new work follows up on American Express’ most recent marketing effort and brand platform, “Powerful Backing: Don’t Do Business / Don’t Live Life Without It,” which launched in April. The campaign and brand platform (done in partnership with Mcgarrybowen) were created to target people who are increasingly merging their business lives with their personal lives.

The outdoor work is meant to showcase a new set of artists and give them a canvas that is big enough to hopefully take their careers to the next level.

The first billboard from this global artist project has already gone up in East London. Artist Jo Hicks created that piece. Now artist Hans Walor is just finishing up work on his masterpiece. His style, according to American Express, “invites viewers to move beyond their ordinary reality.” Check out a few behind-the-scenes clips of Walor’s project, below.

“Our goal is to give artists—who might not otherwise have the opportunity—the chance to showcase their work at a large scale to a broader audience. We hope these beautiful art installations inspire people, as well as help the artists in their careers, while showing the world what the ‘Powerful Backing’ of American Express really means,” Bess Spaeth, vp, global brand content and communications, American Express, said.

“We have a long history of supporting music, arts and culture as these are major areas of interest for our customers and this program is a natural extension of our commitment,” Spaeth said.

For example, American Express recently invested $1 million in support of the Australian music industry, as part of the brand’s American Express Music Backers Program. Within the next year, companies in the music business space, as well as artists and fans, will be able to access financial support and mentorship thanks to American Express.

@ktjrichards Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.