“Graffiti Artist Go To Heaven” Q&A W/ Jesus SavesArt, Culture — By Logoism on June 27, 2011 at 12:19 am
If we told you that Jesus was a New Yorker would you believe us? Why wouldn’t you , we wouldn’t lie to you guys. Jesus is a New Yorker indeed, the legendary graffiti artist Jesus Saves has been a major player in NY’s graffiti/street art scene since 1995. Since ’95 Jesus Saves has been delivering the message of God through graffiti , he might be doing it the illegal way but he only has positive intentions and that’s to help people in the street find God. A NY graffiti artist dream is to go “All City” which means to have your tags up in all five boroughs, Jesus Saves has done that so many times easily and has even gone to different countries to spread the word. When your name is up a lot you attract the attention of the Vandal Squad who’s always in pursue of famous graffiti artist , unfortunately Jesus Saves was arrested 13 times in and out the U.S and has had informants against him and the whole nine yards. But that was then, he is now doing gospel hip hop and he now travels to many parts of the world to do Jesus Saves murals. Graffiti artists have some of the most amazing stories , we caught up with Jesus Saves to hear how he went all city, his arrests, how he got his name and what he’s doing now. Enjoy!
Words By Logan Jean
JGM: How long have you been writing “Jesus Saves” and what made you go by that tag name?
JS: I been writing since 1995.. I attended a pentecostal church, started off preaching and getting really into the word and giving out tracks and flyers til one day I saw a “Jesus Saves” sign on the upper part of the pulpit platform where preachers and pastors would preach. I said to myself “hmmm Jesus Saves…” , and boom! Graffiti came into mind and from there I took on writing it everywhere I could possibly go.
JGM: How do you feel about the attention graffiti and street art is getting?
JS: It’s a good thing cause they’re realizing that graffiti and urban underground art is beautiful, especially when it comes to piecing and stuff. Anything you put on the wall gets attention, as long as your using the same letters or the same drawing to put up everywhere for the public to see.
JGM: Have you ever went “All City” and have you ever had any graff beef even though your sending out a positive message?
JS: I went all city so many times! There’s four weeks in a month, every Sunday night which was the best night to go bombing i would hit a borough. First week Manhattan, next week Brooklyn, the following week Queens, and the final week Bronx. Sometimes before on a Sunday not to mess up the routine, I would go to long island and stay out there for like three days and kill the streets out there. As for beef I’ve always held my own and I’ve thrown down back in the late 90′s just to get my respect. As for now there’s a dude who writes “Noxer” who I’m not even gonna waste my time on. Right now I’m on another level and in a higher place where I no longer need to prove to him I can go over him or hit the streets like that.
JGM: Who said this famous line? “Graffiti is art and if art is a crime then forgive me lord” How do those words affect you?
JS: My man Show who got me involved with graffiti may he rest in peace. I once put that up, “If graffiti is a sin then forgive me lord” -Show. I totally agree with that to the fullest, but nowhere in the bible did it ever say that graffiti is a sin, and if it is that’s for God to decide and to judge me for. All I know is that many have been touched through my message.
JGM: How do “Holy” people feel about your graffiti which is positive but illegal?
JS: Most of them say it’s wrong and it’s a sin, especially being raised in a pentecostal church that I attended til 2007. The people there were all about being holy which is a must, I agree but to over exaggerate is something I didn’t agree with. I had the youth come to my apartment one time to do a little service in my house. No one knew I was the Jesus Saves dude til they all decided they wanted to see my room. They were like “you have anything to hide?” I was like nah but okay. So I opened up my door to the room and they all saw a Jesus Saves tag I had and then they all were like “wow look Jesus Saves, do you know him?”. I said “yeah that’s me” and they all were laughing as if I was joking til I wrote it and after that they all said that it had to stop, that it’s wrong and illegal. Little do they know that a lot of lost people out in the streets felt hope and appreciated it and applied it to their hearts cause it was told before. So it’s how God uses others, not about just living in sanity or preaching jumping up and down in the pulpit church, or screaming”Jesus Jesus Jesus”. It’s much more about reaching out to the lost and cold world where many are affected and wounded emotionally.
JGM: What was it like going to Jail for delivering the message of God through art?
JS: It was crazy I felt like giving up everything but I created a foundation. I just did time for an old graffiti charge I did three years ago and I got bagged because of a couple of dudes I met up with, one of them called police before I got there cause police was looking for me for at least three years straight and they finally got me. When I did the 60 days in jail I took it like a man and when I got to Rikers Island, I still thank the lord and give God his praise, I took more time to read the bible and attended the service. It is what it is and I’m not gonna fold.
JGM: Can you recall your craziest experience in your graff career that you will never forget?
JS: Being locked up in Germany for catching mad tags. I caught a big tag in front of to punks dressed up like punks. I saw one of them picking up a phone and the other was smoking a cigarette, i felt like something was up. So instead of running from them I just went up to them and asked them in German for a ciggarette even though I don’t smoke. I said “du haba ciggarette bitte kann ich haba cigarrette bitte” which means do you have a cigarette please or do you have a cigarette please? They pulled out their badges and said “polize” which means police, then they took me to the precinct and took all of my euros, 300 euros and on every single bill I had a Jesus Saves tag behind it with a sharpie marker so they could travel all through Europe. They asked me if I had 3,000 euros to pay I said hells no I don’t (laughs) they said I can stay here in jail, I said you know what break my passport if you have to and I’m willing to stay here in the streets if I have to. I told them believe me I can get by and survive out here, yet they let me go 3 hours later (laughs).