Fredericton — The New Brunswick art scene took a major blow this morning after a beloved wall mural created by Fredericton-born street artist known publicly as Rat-Jeezus was discovered to have been vandalized by graffiti.
“It’s really devastating to see how little kids today disrespect real art,” said middle school art instructor Marcie Fulton. “Rat-Jeezus had to work incredibly hard to get where is is today. He had to fight and break rules to get his work seen publicly. It’s heartbreaking that these kids would go out and desecrate his mural.”
The original mural by Rat-Jeezus was the product of several weeks of sneaking around at night and gradually working away on the side of Lombardo & Sons Bakery until the painting was completed.
“I hated the thing at first,” said bakery owner Bob Lombardo. “I didn’t ask him to paint all over my building. But then I found out from the folks at the Beaverbrook Gallery that it was art! In that case, I thought, it must be okay.”
Although his true identity is unknown to protect him from legal prosecution, Rat-Jeezus’s artworks have inspired and enthralled the people of New Brunswick for almost 2 decades.
“I’ve always approached art as an attack,” Rat-Jeezus alliterated in an email response. “The artistic community had at one time turned their nose up at street art because it’s illegal, youth-driven and does not subscribe to the conventional ideas of what is beautiful.”
According Rat-Jeezus, his career has been an uphill battle against critics, his parents as well as local authorities. “I wasn’t just handed an artistic grant from some university,” he said in an interview over the phone, his voice obscured by a McDonald’s Muppets in Space voice-filter. “I had to go out on my own and make a name for myself.”
A fact which, he says, makes it all the more disappointing that potentially talented artists are going down this road of vandalism, rather than focusing their talents on making real street art.
“If these kids want to consider themselves real artists,” he told Manatee reporters while wearing skin-tight polka-dotted leotards and a Nixon mask, “they ought to put their work on an empty wall where it belongs.”