‘Army of One’ Anti-War Artist and Firefighter Jef Campion Dies at 52

Posted on: January 21st, 2014 at 6:03 am by
Credit: Jef Campion

Credit: Jef Campion

Somber news to report in the street art world. Jef Campion, known in graf circles as Army of One/jc2, died on Friday. He was 52.

The city firefighter, children’s charity advocate, and anti-war artist reportedly hanged himself in his Yonkers home on Friday, dying at St. Joesph’s Medical Center a short time later.

Campion served as a city fireman since the mid-1980s, and was a first responder on 9/11, spending forty consecutive days at Ground Zero. The experiences forged during this trying time became the inspiration behind his Diane Arbus-inspired Army of One alter-ego. He told us in July 2012 that “nothing made sense to me anymore as a firefighter, let alone as an artist. Trying to return to life as I knew it, I realized the world lost its innocence, and children were being put in harm’s way through erroneous wars, poverty and disease.”

army-of-one-bowery

Army of One on the Bowery, June 2012

But the time at Ground Zero also took its toll on Campion’s health, both mentally and physically. According to Lohud, he hadn’t been able to work for the last six months due to said 9/11-related issues.

We’ll miss seeing the blood-stained “Grenade Boy” around the Lower East Side…

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