Revs & unusual graffiti: 200+ diary pages painted in NYC subway tunnels

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Revs - Autobiography in NY subway tunnel - Page 25, by satanslaundromat, 2004

Revs – Page 25 of many, Subway tunnel, New York, USA, photo: CC BY-NC 2.0 by satanslaundromat
PAGE 25 OF MANY 1/16/98 LUCKY ME, TOOK ALL MY DOE THAT I SAVED UP FOR 3 YEARS ABOUT 6 GRAND THAT WAS 2 JOBS — SODA CAN CHANGE + THE SELLIN OF SOME SHIT — MY LIFE SAVINGS — WENT DOWN TO ATLANTIC CITY WITH HOPE, J. YOUNG AND BLITZ — PUT IT ALL ON RED!!! AND CAME BACK TO BKLYN WITH 12 GEES! GEE. MAN IT FELT GOOD — IT WAS ABOUT TIME!! THANKX – REVZ

Published: March 29, 2017

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Revs in the late 1980s and early 1990s

Those who grew up or lived in New York during the late 1980s and early 1990s must have seen the famous four letters that would be seen on walls all over the place; Revs. Everywhere you looked, on trash cans, telephone booths and poles the distinct graffiti had dominated the city. Revs was at the time the most outstanding graffiti writer in the streets of New York and whether you liked it or not, his tags would be seen from the edge of the eyes, making it visible subconsciously.

In 1993 Revs started his diary project

At first, his graffiti bore messages of humor that told stories to anybody who cared to stand long enough to read and piece the sections together. However, starting from the year 1993, Revs would start to write his autobiography on walls of the subway tunnels. He would go down to the tunnels at night armed with a ladder, spray cans and paint roller. He began with the first painting a swath measuring 5 by 12ft which would act as the page on which he would write. His idea of creating a public diary of his life is a great channel of self-expression, especially when you want the whole world to know who you are.

Details of the diary

Revs wanted the world to know that he was born at 3 pm on April 17, 1967, at the Victory Memorial Hospital. A C-section baby, this validates all others like him and encourages mothers who have gone through the same. It might not be possible for someone riding on the train to capture all this information but just one piece is enough to humanize Revs. His focus was to remain in the minds of people long after he died. Leaving traces in places that are not easily accessible meant that his art could potentially be preserved for years, even to the point of outliving him. Revs left a mark both overground and below and to date, a total of 235 pages of his autobiography have been counted.

Revs about how he started with graffiti

2 min 38 sec

Revs arrested

An important element of his personality was how he managed to stay clear of the radar, and this was after the police in New York went on hot pursuit of graffiti artists to bring them to justice. For years, they were unsuccessful until 5 years after the task force was formed that they caught him red-handed. Of amusement to the cops was that the regular guy behind the wall art was no different from either of them.

Revs’ subway tunnel stories from ‘This American Life’

2 min 29 sec

 

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