While Banksy may seem secretive, he's actually pretty open when compared to Revs, the illustrious graffiti artist and metal sculptor who has been tagging NYC walls for decades. In what seems like his first new (publicly accessible) work since 2005, he's back, tagging various places with paint and marker.
carnagenyc and faustnewyork have taken pictures and Native New Yorker and Gothamist's resident graffiti expert Jake Dobkin said of the tag, "It just looks like calligraphy to me, and when he works in paint, he often works in the very skinny caps, which is unusual—most graffiti artists prefer the wider caps because they cover more wall."
In a rare 2005 NY Times interview, Revs demanded to remain anonymous and not give his age—he and his mural-painting partner Cost were the target of the police and the NYPD arrested Cost in 1994. Revs went to Alaska to lay low and then, the Times reporters, "when he returned, his work went mostly underground, too - into the subway, where he painted long, feverish diary entries worthy of a Dostoyevsky character on dozens of walls hidden deep inside the tunnels. (He called this a personal mission and said he did not care if anybody else saw them.)"
[U]nlike many former graffiti artists who have turned their street credibility into successful careers as graphic designers or youth-market branding gurus, Revs has continued to shun, angrily, the worlds of conventional art and commerce. He makes his living about as far from the art world as possible, as a union ironworker, surrounded by co-workers who mostly have no idea of his reputation as a near-mythical deity of the graffiti world. His only gallery show, in Philadelphia in 2000, was to raise money so he could pay a lawyer after he was arrested for the subway graffiti. Otherwise, he has refused to sell his work or take commissions for it.
Revs explained, "To me. Once money changes hands for art, it becomes a fraudulent activity."
The 2005 Times piece accompanied/explained the numerous steel Revs pieces (like robots) that popped up at the time in DUMBO, Gowanus, East Village and Meatpacking District. Of course times have changed: One of the big REVS/COST murals have been pretty much wiped off in the shiny Meatpacking District.
Cost has been putting up a lot of new work in the past year—see his Instagram—perhaps that's what inspired Revs (Cost did a big piece with Space Invader in Bushwick). Maybe Cost was playfully baiting Revs with this adorable puppy photo, "This is ENX, COST, & REVS - ENX on the top left having sweet dreams...COST is the monkey in the middle...and REVS on the end belly up, zonked out, and to lazy to make a comeback!!":
Dobkin explained his love for Revs' work, "He's the greatest living graffiti artist. You know how some people feel about Springsteen or Bob Dylan? That's who Revs is for New York graffiti enthusiasts."