Photos by G. Art by Army of One.
Details are still hazy as to what has happened, but many street artists have reported the passing of Jef Campion who went by the name Army of One on the streets. This news has left me extremely sad and devastated. Jef Campion and I became friendly over the years bonding over our love of art, music, spreading the good word, our same name (though we spell it differently) and it also helped that we lived about 10 blocks away from each other. I was always running into Jef on the streets be it he himself, or his art which is literally everywhere in both Manhattan and Los Angeles.
Jef’s message on the streets was not one of self-promotion like so many street artists tend to do, but instead Jef Campion became a champion to build an army not to fight wars, but to end them. He pasted Diane Arbus’ iconic “Grenade Boy” image all over the streets to give people pause about why we are fighting wars and when you’d see the boy’s innocent face, you instantly became a member of Jef’s army.
Jef wasn’t just a street artist. He was also a fire fighter and he worked in Manhattan on September 11, 2001, an experience that obviously changed his life. In addition to spreading positive messages on the streets, he was a huge activist and champion for the Ronald McDonald House, which helps kids that are terminally ill. We hung out many times and I found Jef to be such a nice guy. Always up beat, always trying to help others and always generously donating his time for these causes he believed in to his core.
He’d give you the shirt off his back if you asked and one particular night, during a blizzard and after many drinks, he invited me to go on a late night mission while he did some tagging. I loved the fact that he was doing street art dressed in a pin stripe suit!
Jef, my friend, I am wishing my deepest condolences to your family and friends during this horrible time and I will really miss seeing you around. You were loved deeply on both coasts and your message of love will never die. Happy trails my friend and fellow Jef. Rest easy.
If you have any details of what happened or any memorial info, please let us know in the comments section.