Thursday, October 30, 2008

Inspiration: REVS

The first REVS joint I ever ran into, was this joint right here. I went to school in SoHo - my first real eye-opener for the city, because I didn't really see much of NYC outside of midtown and uptown.

When you come from Harlem, most of the time Harlem is all you know. When I returned to NYC from TX, I was rushed into an alternative school that my cousin attended (Unity High School) located near Spring St (though I wouldn't learn this until months later). Instead, I would take the A to Canal St and walk about 4 blocks over and just marvel at the amount of graffiti that littered SoHo. This is when I first ran into REVS.

REVS is one of the main reasons I still do graffiti. REVS didn't write for fame or to be respected by other writers, he wrote to DESTROY shit. To let the world know - I'M HERE - I EXISTED - I LIVED. REVS's work was different too - which is why I guess I was so drawn to it. I questioned how these huge, blockbuster rollies (graffiti done by paint rollers) could've even been acomplished - like, who DIDN'T see this man rolling his name on the side of a building? The beauty of it all is that it's something so simple that makes the normal side of a building so abstract.

All I knew of REVS were rollies at first and then as my obsession with graffiti grew, I learned that he was places I didn't even realize. Around me constantly, and I didn't even know. One day, I decided to take the A train back uptown from school, yet this time I decided to go to the front of the car so I could peer into the tunnels. Who's work did I see all over the tunnels? None other then the tunnel king (aside from JA) King REVS.

Analogy: REVS:Graffiti / EMINEM:Rap
Now you get it.

Not only was I surprised to see is rollies underground, but I also was shocked to learn that not only was he using the tunnels as his artistic playground - he was using it as his diary was well. As the train came to a slow speed between 50th and 59th st, I saw a huge white space high over the pillars separating the downtown and uptown side. In that white space were these sloppy scrawls of REVS's past, a little clue to the mystery of who REVS was. Before I could finish reading the first sentence, the train sped off - and I wondered to myself, "How in the hell did he find the time to do that?" To my amazement, I would later learn that before REVS was apprehended by the MTA as well as the NYPD Vandal Squad, he had accomplished painting 225 of the 270 subway tunnels in NYC.

What a feat. REVS is now a retired graffiti artist (something I hope to be soon) who is a full-time wielder and mechanic. He often referrs to his graffiti past as the good 'ole days where he an COST used to run the city. I remember seeing the COST/REVS bills posted thoughout the city, long before I knew what they were. It's THAT reason why he's such an inspiration to me. Graffiti isn't supposed to be something that is an EYESORE. It's supposed to awaken your third-eye so this way you can appreciate all of the little things around you. This city is full of garbage, why not brighten that garbage up a bit with a twist?

Thank you, REVS. Your work has not only changed the lives of graffiti artists, but New Yorkers all over.


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