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9.11 Remembered: Portraits of Motivation
September 9, 2002
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9.11 Remembered: Portraits of Motivation

David Greg Harth: Spending A Message

My name is David Greg Harth. I am an artist here in New York City. My studio is just twenty blocks north of Ground Zero.

On September 11, 2001, I watched from my rooftop as the twin towers went down in smoke. Immediately, I knew the world was changing before my eyes and that I was a witness to war.

I felt angry and helpless. I had to do something. I went from hospital to hospital looking to donate blood. I spent the rest of the week trying to volunteer at various locations throughout the city, but found few opportunities because so many New Yorkers had already come forward to lend a hand.

As I roamed the streets that week, I kept a journal and photographed my journey. I remember telling myself repeatedly, "I am not terrorized" and "I am not afraid."

It didn't take long to realize that the best way I could make a meaningful impact was through artistic expression. Communicating through art became my way of trying to help other Americans heal.

My previous work has employed various mediums including photography, performance, film, and painting, but I also do a lot of conceptual work, employing less conventional outlets for expression.

The terrorists struck lower Manhattan, the financial capital of the world, so I chose actual U.S. currency as my medium to attack back. I began stamping dollar bills in heavy red or black ink with the phrases "I am not terrorized" and "I am not afraid."

To send the bills out into the world, I just spend them. Each time I do, it sends a message. To broaden their circulation, I also trade the dollars with friends and people from all across the world who contact me through my website.

So far, there are over 200,000 stamped bills in circulation in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Washington D.C., London and Berlin. Clearly, the message is getting out there.

I'm David Greg Harth: artist, American, New Yorker, human. And I will never be afraid and I will never be terrorized.