NY artist brings self-love campaign to Atlanta, Georgia State campus

New York based-artist UncuttArt extended their ‘Protect Yo Heart’ campaign to Atlanta, with vibrant tags spray painted on sidewalks across the city.

UncuttArt developed the idea for ‘Protect Yo Heart’ in 2009, and first introduced the campaign about three years ago. The artist said ‘Protect Yo Heart’ is more than a quote—the campaign promotes a lifestyle of self-love and care the artist hopes viewers adopt.

“It means to protect what’s dear to you, starting with the heart. It’s the dearest, and I want people to put it first because that’s the only thing we all have in common,” he said.

The national campaign has spread through social media posts, endorsed by celebrities, and has expanded to include political messages like “Protect Yo Earth.”

The spotted stenciled pieces depict a barbed heart under the words ‘Protect Yo Heart,’ the art in heart distinguished by colored font. Besides tags near the Fox Theater, Krog Street Market, and the BeltLine, a red, blue, and black tag on Georgia State’s campus is located on John Wesley Dobbs Ave. NE across from One12 Courtland Apartments.

The artist conceals his identity because his work is often illegal, and he prefers that others focus on his message and comprehend his work. According to the artist, the pseudonym UncuttArt originated from the raw nature of his work.

Each tag is branded with the numbers four, two, and three, vertically stacked to reference Proverbs 4:23, according to UncuttArt. The New International Version translates the verse as, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

UncuttArt said that despite issues of legality, the artist’s mission remains to help others know and love themselves.

“It’s worth the trouble as long as we can inspire the future to be better. I’m all for change for the better by any means necessary,” the artist said.

UncuttArt self-funds his projects, and said he has been waiting for the opportunity to come to Atlanta. In any city, the artist said the locations of each piece are spontaneous.

“I don’t choose spots, spots choose me. It’s more going with the flow, and the right people will find it at the right time,” the artist said.

UncuttArt added that the tag on Georgia State’s campus was deliberate. The artist wants younger generations to understand the message of the artwork “before it’s too late,” the artist said.

The ‘Protect Yo Heart’ campaign has gained national attention through social media. Celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Paris Hilton, and Miranda Lambert have posed with the artwork. In 2015, Lambert posted a photo to Instagram lying beside UncuttArt’s work with the caption, “I don’t normally lay on the sidewalk in NYC. Words move me.”

UncuttArt advised students and other artists at Georgia State University to use their gift to inspire others.

“Please know that you are the future. You are the souls who create the images people see every day—images that can help people see a better future,” he said.