PDA

View Full Version : Graffiti Interviews



EVAK_GBCKrew
10-18-2004, 03:55 AM
Interview from 50mmlosangeles.com but I thought I'd share it...

Writer Spotlight: COLT 45 TKO LOD OTR

Posted 2004-08-26 by Unit

Unit: Seriously, WHY do you write? What motivates you to write? Dig deep...

Colt45: Really, I motivate myself because I constantly doubt myself. Everyone thinks Im a major egomaniac, and I am arrogant at times, always on purpose of course. But actually I continually doubt myself and I am never satisfied with what Ive accomplished in any area of my multi-layered life. So for graffiti, I just always come down hard on myself. Every spot anyone has, I slap myself for sleeping on it. Every night I dont go out and paint I hate myself for being a lazy fuck. Every time I go to a club instead of painting I feel like Im falling off. Every night I stay home with my lady, when I have one that is, I feel like a pussy. All because I could have been out crushing shit but I wasnt. Im real hard on myself with the shit I paint too. It could have been bigger or proportioned better. I could have incorporated more colors or my can control wasnt perfect on one letters highlight. I always need more sketches because I do the same ones over and over and over and over. So in every aspect of graffiti and my life, Im always hating myself for not doing better. Which is pretty ridiculous because Ive accomplished more in my short life than most people could ever dream of. But still, in every area of my life I always feel like I could go further no matter how far Ive gone already.

My policy is if your grandma cant read my piece then Im doing something wrong. -Colt 45


Unit: Graffiti involves so many variables but the two prominent values seem to be artistic originality and fame... Do you consider yourself an artist or a marketer?

Colt45: I am definitely on the marketer side of that dichotomy if you want to create one. I dont really feel there is a dichotomy between art and advertising, advertising is just using art for a purpose. For them its to sell shit, for me its to increase my reputation. But my graffiti is definitely designed to advertise myself in such a way that any and everybody knows who I am and can easily read and recognize my work when they see it. A lot of people want to push the limits of style and rock the most original shit. I am not one of them. I dont need to come out with some new style or gimmick every time I paint to make people notice my work. I do the same thing so many other writers have done before me. I just do it bigger, better and more. I do the same things repeatedly like an advertising campaign so people will recognize my name when they see it and therefore increase my reputation in their eyes. My policy is if your grandma cant read my piece then Im doing something wrong.


Unit: Talk about your goals for graffiti art and for yourself as a person in society.

Colt45: The obvious goal is to increase my reputation so that I get more love, hate and respect than anyone else. But on a deeper level I think what were doing as writers is representing our culture. Graffiti is a very important part of our culture and its entirely ours. Theres no radio station deciding whos successful and whos not. No MTV deciding who runs primetime and who doesnt. If you got the balls, the skill and the steel to do it and back it up, then you can do whatever you want, go as far as you want to go, and have only yourself to slow you down. I really think graffiti is important as a cultural representation of ourselves. I think every writer needs to push themselves to paint as much and as well as they possibly can so our culture is as strong as it can be and never dies out. I figure even if I die or go to jail forever, Ive inspired thousands of other kids to go out and write graffiti. And of those thousands, maybe a few will be as good as I was when Im gone. And as long as we can inspire enough kids to keep our culture alive, we will all live forever through them. I dont see graffiti as a negative thing the way the police and the media often make it out to be. I see it as a positive thing in our lives that we share with the generations that follow us. Im not on some ignorant lets cause as much damage as possible shit. In a society where young people lack any way of proving themselves to their peers other than sports, rapping, and gangbanging, graffiti gives young people an opportunity to do something productive with their lives while earning the respect that many people want as a part of growing up. Not everyone can be or wants to be a pro athlete or millionaire rapper or die hard gangster. But anyone can learn to paint quality graffiti and earn recognition by getting up.


Unit: It seems like our everyday lives have become completely immersed in advertising messages. Talk about your first memories of advertising... Billboards etc.. Do you think there is a correlation between advertising and American style fame graffiti?

Colt45: Well I smoke a lot of weed so asking me for memories is hopeless. Im so bad I look in the mirror sometimes and see a stranger. But as far as advertising I think graffiti is a form of advertising. They advertise their product or service, we advertise ourselves. And frankly, some of us do a better job advertising ourselves than any million-dollar advertising budget could ever do. Sometimes I wonder why advertising firms dont try to hire me to work for them. I understand propaganda a hell of a lot better than a lot of the people who make some of these stupid advertisements. Some of the shit I see on billboards or on TV makes me wonder what the fuck theyre selling anyways. Its like looking at a piece and not knowing what it says. Im like ok, another million dollar advertising budget down the drain. I think a lot of these advertisers are better at pitching an idea to a client than at pitching a product to the public. If these turkeys had half a brain theyd have me on salary as a consultant to make sure their shit is going to get the message across. Hey, everyone knows who I am and my budget consists of gas, food, paint and chocolate blunts. Lucky for them I already have a career so Im not about to start my own advertising firm and put them out of business. But I would consider doing some consulting if I was approached and the money was right. I could use some extra vacation money, not to mention it just kills me when I see advertisements that missed the boat. I could probably start a new career in advertising correcting their mistakes.





Unit: Talk about graffiti in terms of now. What does it mean to be a graffiti artist. Why do you think kids get into it?

Colt45: The correct nomenclature is, graffiti writer. To be a graffiti writer in my humble opinion is to write graffiti. Our kind of graffiti. Not some art fag picture shit or whatever. If you go out and do other types of art, stencils, posters, pictures, paintings, whatever yo, all the power to you. But you aint no graffiti writer. Im a graffiti writer. Now theres a few exceptions to any rule, a few people do a character for their shit. But if you think youre one of the exceptions, youre not, until further notice. Youre an artist, not a graffiti writer. Now as far as why kids get into graffiti I think has a lot to do with how modern society fails to offer many feasible options for young people to earn respect and prove themselves among their peers and in their community, especially for boys and young men. Everyone wants to be popular and get respect and attract the opposite sexs attention, except for gays of course on the last one. So for a lot of young people, graffiti is a way to prove themselves, and make friends, and earn their peers respect, and attract females, and just to be somebody.

I think theres only two things that can make me stop writing, love and death. -Colt 45


Unit: If graffiti is considered to be a form of art how do you feel about other more accepted art forms like sculpting oil painting multi-media etc.? Do you consider graffiti to be art?

Colt45: Yes, despite my spite for art graffiti is a form of art obviously. Now I can understand why people in the art-for-sale world dont want to acknowledge it, because its free. That fucks up their whole trying to make money agenda. We dont do graffiti to pay the bills, we do it because we love to do it. We do it because it is a part of our culture. We do it because we are respected by our peers for the graffiti we do. As far as other art forms I like some shit and dont like others. It depends on the artist and the piece. But I do go to gallery openings as a part of my social agenda and I do look closely at the art on an aesthetic level and also on a practical level of materials used, technique, difficulty, etc. I can definitely appreciate anything if its well done. But if you come at me with some phony ass shit Ill pull your card quick.



Unit: Do you ever feel that your graffiti art was/is motivated by political convictions? If so, how did you express those motivations?

Colt45: A few pieces in particular I have done had a political message contained in them. Everyone and their mother knows the billboard on the 101 I did. I did the theme for the first time I believe when we were about to go to war in Iraq because I was so pissed off that it was really going to happen. I have a lot of friends and family in the armed services and I sure as hell dont want anyone I care about getting hurt or dying so these bloodsuckers can pillage that country and make off like bandits. Their money aint worth our blood. So I did the billboard to express a political opinion and also to reap the fame of my name being done with that anti-war theme.

Unit: Some people say graffiti by definition is illegal and therefore should exclude permission artists from being defined as graffiti artists... What is YOUR definition of graffiti and WHO should be considered legitimate graffiti artists.

Colt45: I dont think graffiti has to be illegal. And likewise I dont think if you do some art illegally, that it can be considered graffiti. Defining modern graffiti is difficult if not impossible to accomplish. I would suggest that graffiti is letter-based, name-driven, individual-focused, primarily aerosol, art. Now there are exceptions to all of those features in graffiti though. Some writers do characters without letters or around other peoples letters, but these writers also have a name and do write it or do letters for it at least once in a while. Its just their characters are their point of recognition. Some of writers also do their crews letters rather than their own name some or most of the time, but most writers do their own individual name most of the time, unlike gangs, whose graffiti tends to emphasize the name of the gang before the names of individual members. Also a lot of writers use other materials to write graffiti; bucket paint, markers, inks, scribing tools, etc., but most graffiti is done with aerosol paint. So its hard to define what it is we do, but somehow I can always see something and tell if its graffiti or not.


Unit: Talk about bombing murals...

Colt45: Yeah Ive hit a lot of murals and it might seem like that would be malicious but really, its not. What happened is they stopped buffing the murals cause the mural people wanted to refurbish them, but they never had the money to paint over graffiti when new tags or whatever popped up on them. So they kinda just went to shit and we started hitting them because they already looked horrible and the murals were already destroyed so we figured fuck it, if they dont care why should we. But I definitely think if they have restored a mural you shouldnt hit it. If a mural is clean then writers should let it ride just out of respect for other people. I dont want them painting over my art anymore than they want me painting over theirs. Damaging something that is undamaged hasnt really gave me kicks since I was about 16. Im a hell of a lot older than that now. But all respect aside, these muralists got paid five figures to paint these murals in the first place so Im like, yo you got your money, what the fuck do you care. And the art in those murals on the freeways is really really pathetic. Theres a whole lot of graffiti writers I can think of who are infinitely better than any of the muralists who were paid five figures to paint that bullshit. And all of the writers I know of would have done it for free just to get the recognition from their peers for the art they produce. But you want to arrest us and charge us with felonies and fuck up the rest of our lives because we painted on your shitty murals that were already fucked up in the first place. Sorry, but you get no love from me.

I hear my boy on the radio advertising little shitty cars and Im like, man whats this world coming to. -Colt 45



Unit: What do you think about corporate interests using graffiti style art to promote their products? Is it a good thing that graffiti artists get paid by advertisers to promote a product or event?

Colt45: To tell you the truth I think its way weird. I feel like Im in the twilight zone sometimes. I hear my boy on the radio advertising little shitty cars and Im like, man whats this world coming to. I mean a fool gotta pay the rent, I can feel that, but I cant help but feel negative towards it. And Im sure the people who are getting paid think its weird too. But they cant talk shit like I can cause theyre getting paid and Im not. I can understand that kids like graffiti style art and putting what kids like on your product makes them want to buy it. But having an art gallery/ hip-hop show/ cultural event to promote a little dingy car, I dont know about that one. If they want to sell cars, maybe they should put the money into the engineering and concept department because those cars suck.


Unit: Lastly, when will you stop bombing? Realistically, what would it take to make you stop forever.

Colt45: I think theres only two things that can make me stop writing, love and death. I think if I like got married to some dope ass fairy tale female I loved and who loved me and settled down and had kids and all that, Id have something in my life to lose and I wouldnt be out putting my ass on the line acting a fool. But at this point in my life I dont really have shit that I care about to lose so fuck it. I dont really care. The other thing that can stop me is death. But dont get your hopes up. Im hard to kill.



































All content 1996-2004 50mm Los Angeles reproduction in any form is stricly prohibited. [ site policies ] [ submit flicks ] [ contact 50mm ]

halo
10-18-2004, 04:15 AM
Nice find

Lazer
10-18-2004, 04:22 AM
good read

sure_1
10-18-2004, 04:29 AM
he seems like a pretty down to earth guy...easy read.

Flow
10-18-2004, 04:46 AM
"Interviews and articles"?

REdRum
10-18-2004, 03:39 PM
good interview....at least he keeps it real

killah-EF
10-18-2004, 06:20 PM
I LOVE COLT45'S, ITS LIKE MY FAVORITE BEER NO DOUBT, SIIPIN IT WITH PAPER BAGS WALKING DOWN THE STREETS IN THE WINTER WEHN ITS SNOWWING, GETTHIGN DRUNK WITH MY GSM ATM BROES, ALWAYS SIPPING A COLT, I GOT A COLT45 T-SHIRT, I GOT EVERYTHING OF IT IM A BIG FAN WORD UP, JE PREFERE UNE COLT45 QUNE HEINEKEN, IM ALL ABOUT THE GETTHO

halo
10-18-2004, 06:38 PM
lmao.....thats not the kind of colt45..............******

cyras1
10-18-2004, 07:03 PM
If he would have read the interview he would have know'n. :lol:

Avos
10-18-2004, 10:05 PM
Originally posted by killah-EF@Oct 18 2004, 05:20 PM
I LOVE COLT45'S, ITS LIKE MY FAVORITE BEER NO DOUBT, SIIPIN IT WITH PAPER BAGS WALKING DOWN THE STREETS IN THE WINTER WEHN ITS SNOWWING, GETTHIGN DRUNK WITH MY GSM ATM BROES, ALWAYS SIPPING A COLT, I GOT A COLT45 T-SHIRT, I GOT EVERYTHING OF IT IM A BIG FAN WORD UP, JE PREFERE UNE COLT45 QUNE HEINEKEN, IM ALL ABOUT THE GETTHO
are you serious...hahaha wow man. Props Evak nice read

PyroManiak
11-01-2004, 10:51 PM
Originally posted by killah-EF@Oct 18 2004, 05:20 PM
I LOVE COLT45'S, ITS LIKE MY FAVORITE BEER NO DOUBT, SIIPIN IT WITH PAPER BAGS WALKING DOWN THE STREETS IN THE WINTER WEHN ITS SNOWWING, GETTHIGN DRUNK WITH MY GSM ATM BROES, ALWAYS SIPPING A COLT, I GOT A COLT45 T-SHIRT, I GOT EVERYTHING OF IT IM A BIG FAN WORD UP, JE PREFERE UNE COLT45 QUNE HEINEKEN, IM ALL ABOUT THE GETTHO
Much respect to this man man right here....gotta luve my colt 45

whOaHT
11-01-2004, 10:59 PM
when ya see efeckts, ya see a bottle of colt45 with em, no doubt!

Nice read, i love Colt45's work
and yes he does seem to be a pretty cool guy

Adamo
11-01-2004, 11:20 PM
word the fuck up for colt 45's. :D
http://www.40ozmaltliquor.com/colt45sign02.jpg

square
11-02-2004, 01:26 PM
still...id love for a big graffitti writer to have a better explanation for his/her lifestyle than "i do it to crush shit" or "i do it for the reputation"

such as...why exactly it is they feel the need to impress other people doing the same sort of thing, or piss of everyone that isnt?

although i guess when your art isnt making money, just about th eonly thing it IS good for is self-gratification.

EVAK_GBCKrew
11-02-2004, 01:31 PM
Actually, colt 45 is dope as hell, and he COULD make money if he did canvases. :) OH and square, some people don't have an explanation for why they do it, they just write because it makes them happy. Meanwhile, you're over here contributing NOTHING. :)

Alio
02-20-2005, 05:57 AM
enjoyable reading...!!

MitNGEK
03-23-2005, 11:20 PM
thats was a good interview

element503
03-24-2005, 12:37 AM
i remember reading almost the exact same article in my beautiful decay mag... 50mm stole it? or am i just dillusional and cant tell the difference?

Alchohlics_Anonymous
03-24-2005, 03:49 PM
^no....your just retarded....good read non the less.

tkS`
03-28-2005, 03:00 PM
severly retarded..

gun runner
12-23-2005, 01:07 AM
if you don't know this guy, look his shit up...





jeloe, US, SRT, CF, VX interview


anomie1: What do you write, how long have you, and what, if any crews do you put up?
jeloe: I write Jeloe. I started writing graffiti half assed about 16 years ago. It wasn’t until about 9 or 10 years ago that I started getting serious about it, and its been the last 6 years that I have "dropped out" of the real world and dedicated my life solely to graffiti. I haven’t really ever been a crew guy for most of my career until recently. I have recently been pushing US and SRT here in San Francisco. US has a real history and I’m honored to continue its legacy. SRT is a dope crew that consists of friends only. It’s a tight knit crew and hopefully it will stay that way. I write for CF and VX crews that are also tight knit crews in Paris.

anomie1: Speaking of Paris I have seen quite a few clean trains you have done in Europe, how did you get into that scene?

jeloe: Well, I came up paying attention to the tail end of the NYC subway graff era. I also saw how that translated to SF bushoppers focusing on the bus system here in SF. I can’t exactly say why it is but there has always been an attraction to anything transit, especially passenger trains. It just seems to fit, its “the? natural environment for graffiti to exist in.

anomie1: Would you say its easier or harder, in general, to do passenger trains in Europe compared to the US?



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

interview continued below
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

jeloe: You know, I would love to be able to answer that question with some authority, but most of my experience with transit has been in other countries. The stakes are high for transit here in the US as far as the consequences go. I’m not really ever worried about getting caught in the act of doing one, but I am always worried about the investigations that occur afterwards as they always try their best to do the homework needed to bag you. I’m trying to make my career as a writer outlive theirs as detectives. So for me it seems better to take the "smash and grab" approach while traveling and then leave the kitchen when the heat gets too hot.

anomie1: You have come up in the bay right? Who have been some of your biggest influences and teachers?

jeloe: There have been so many here. I’d say my earliest teacher was a guy who wrote Cener in the suburb I grew up in. After that I'd say another big influence/teacher in my career has been Grey PVC. He taught me a lot about the fundamentals of making a style work as well as seeing graffiti as a lifestyle rather than just as a hobby. As far as influences go there were/are so many. Since you asked about the bay ill keep it local.. Amaze, Twist, THR, Dug, Orfn, Byped, Tie, Grey, KR, Benet, Log, Rem etc etc.. More recently it has been my crews that keeps me motivated to get better and to keep going out. I thank them, and everyone for that matter, for the influences and help over the years.

anomie1: What, in the last few years, to you, have been some of the most negative aspects of graffiti in general and in the bay?

jeloe: This is an easy one. Its the lack of respect amongst writers that is fuckin it up for everyone. I mean there have always been bullies and thugs in graff and I love that there still is. However, in the past there was still a sense of unity, or "honor amongst thieves" that unified writers as a whole. That respect has seemed to erode away and now we are left with the traditionalists like myself which seem to be few and then a lot of the newer kids that think the quick way to fame is to go over people if only to get a rep. Lame. If you have legit beef then handle it. If not then leave shit alone. You don’t get respect in this game unless you earn it. Plain and simple.

anomie1: ok lets get away from graff talk, what are your top 5 albums right now?

jeloe: Well, in no particular order it would have to be: 1. Cut Copy - Bright Like Neon 2. Belle & Sebastian - The Boy With The Arab Strap 3. The Modern Lovers - The Original Modern Lovers 4. Dre Dog - New Jim Jones 5. Spoonie G - Love Rap

anomie1: Do you have any future projects or shows that you are going to have or are working on?

jeloe: I have plans to work on a book soon based on my last trip to Europe. I had a lot of crazy shit happen to me on that trip and I somehow was able to document it all from getting arrested and charged as a terrorist in Amsterdam to being locked to a bench in a jail cell while the police kicked the shit out of a guy and beat him with his own shoe while in Paris. Want to know the rest? Get the book.. Hah.

anomie1: What do you think of graffiti and the internet?

jeloe: I think it’s a double edge sword. On one side there are the pros of using the internet wherein it helps develop careers and most importantly how it allows for contacts to be made worldwide. I know first hand how convenient it can be for that. I have traveled and painted in over 20 countries as well as numerous US cities and states using the internet as my means to gain contacts and to keep in touch. It also helps spread your shit world wide and gives you access to audiences you wouldn't otherwise have which is really fresh, as long as you DON’T rely on that alone to build a career on. On the other hand though I think the internet is slowly killing graff. I don’t like how accessible it has made graffiti as a lifestyle. It almost provides a blue print to becoming a writer. Its like all you have to do is to log-on and observe. To me, that’s the wrong way to do it. The best way is to take a hands on approach. Go out and paint your ass off while making your way. Another negative thing is that it has also created this whole means whereby people can talk shit while remaining nameless and faceless. That shit is whack. If you have a problem with someone than handle it in the real world as a virtual ass whooping never taught anyone a lesson. Most of it is founded on jealousy anyways which makes it twice as retarded. Whatever.

anomie1: Have you seen those Sony ads popping up? What do you think of those?



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

interview continued below
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You know a lot of people are super pissed about these. I see it as one more way graffiti has become commodifiable. It is inevitable really and actually ties back to the internet question. While becoming a graffiti writer continually becomes more accessible to the average kid they want to see it more integrated into their lives, which to them, reinforces their place in the graff world as they see it. I assure you this is all being observed by those in the marketplace who are responsible for marketing products aimed at the youth. As a result you get companies acting "edgy" taking chances to up their street credit so you'll use your card credit to get the products. I have seen it happen over and over again in the last 16 years I have been into graff. It is cyclical. Graffiti is hot right now. However, soon it will lose its appeal to those who are in it for the wrong reasons or those who get scared off the first time their houses get raided.

anomie1: What is the scariest or craziest graff related story you have?

jeloe: There are so many crazy experiences and close and not so close calls I have had over the years. There is one that happened recently that I still think was the most crazy thus far. The stakes were very high in this mission and if we got caught we were fucked. Like, really fucked. It was on a mission to do a subway. I was with a few kids who really knew the transit system inside and out. One of the kids was really schooled on the tunnels there and spent a lot of his free time just wandering through them looking for shit to get into. He had every key to every door and knew the deal inside and out. It was dumping snow outside and he told me and 2 other kids to wait on the street for him out in front of a business. Next to this business was a door facing the street disguised to blend into the landscape with no signs or anything else to indicate what was behind it. Anyway he told us to stand there for 20 minutes and he would be back. We waited the 20 minutes and there was no sign of him. We decided to wait another 10 minutes. Sure enough about 5 minutes later we heard a knock on the other side of the door to which we knocked back. The door opened and it was this kid covered in tunnel grime. He hurried us inside and slammed the door. It was fuckin crazy inside there. We had walked into a gigantic warehouse used to hold some of the massive power generators used to power the whole system. It was totally lit up and had cameras watching every inch of the place. We put on ski masks and started to walk towards a dark hallway. On the way there was a security door left open by the last guard on duty. The kids I was with went inside and started raiding the file cabinets getting maps to the tunnels and layups along with schematics to all the trains in use. I was shitting my pants cause this shit was straight up criminal. I could see myself on the security monitor wearing a ski mask. I thought to myself "when the fuck did graff get so serious?" Either way it was dope and I was down to finish what we came to do. They all loaded their finds up into their bags and we bounced back towards the hallway. As we got further down the walls became cave-like and much smaller to the point where we had to hunch down as the lights got dimmer and dimmer. After walking for about 5 minutes we came to a large metal staircase that was behind a metal gate that looked like traditional jail cell doors. I was wondering how we were going to get to it when the one kid pulled out a key ring he jacked from a driver one day as the driver came out of an office in a station. I thought that was so fresh. So we start down the staircase and after about 10 steps we heard a door slam shut and footsteps start. We hauled ass back up the steps trying to be quiet as every noise echoed and we didn’t want whoever it was to know we were there. Soon the footsteps below turned into a whole group of people with flashlights and they were speaking loudly in a language I didn't understand. I thought for sure we were fucked. The guys I was with motioned for me to come into a dark room we came across earlier. We all hid our bags full of paint inside of an old storage locker that was in the room and then hid ourselves in the dark of the room. The guys coming were workers who were working in some part of the tunnel. I figured out that there were tunnels behind the tunnels for people to walk along while doing maintenance on the system. Luckily they walked past us and just kept going. They were only like 15 feet away from us as they passed and I was shitting bricks. After they passed I was ready to break the fuck out but the guys I had come with said we were still going to do it. Honestly I wanted to go but I just shut up and followed them. We got up, got our bags and went back down the stairs. Once down like 5 flights we got to another crazy room that was filled with wires all over the walls with power grids and control panels complete with emergency stop switches and alarms with lights everywhere. We could hear voices down the hall and decided to push forward anyway just trying to be as quiet as possible. We came up on a door that was cracked about half an inch and when we peeked into it the train tunnels were on the other side. The voices we heard were the transit guards complete with guns, batons and attack-trained German Shepherds. We very quietly made our way past the door and down about another 50 feet. At this point there was a dead end in our tunnel with another door to the left. The door had it’s handle broken out. I was told that the handle was the reason we had to wait on the street for a half an hour earlier. The kid who left us earlier went into the tunnels from the station with a set of tools and broke the handle off of the door before the security shift started so we could come out into the tunnel later undetected. These dudes had their shit down. On the other side of the door there was about 5 strings of trains sitting in the tunnel in an underground lay-up. We sat there in dead silence for over an hour just watching the guards 50-60 feet away on the platform. They sat there on their cell phones blabbing away to whoever was on the other end in a language I didn't understand. The guard on our side began to pace with his mini automatic gun slung over his shoulder with its strap and his attack dog that was on a leash. As he turned his back the kid who broke the door opened it slightly and motioned for us all to quickly and quietly exit into the tunnel and hide in-between the strings of trains. We all did with me going last as reluctant as could be. The guard walked the length of the platform and posted on the far side of it from where we were. We quietly picked a panel each and I was told to paint my piece in no more than 10 minutes. I was done in about 7 and then sat waiting while they finished. I was hoping the guard or his dog wouldn't see us. The dog was trained not to jump on the tracks because of the 3rd rail so I thought at least we had that working for us. We all finished and bounced out undetected. We made our way out of the tunnel and back into the maze of tunnels that led to the door on the sidewalk. We booked through there and made our way out back to the street. We then had about 2 hours before the trains started back up again so we could get flicks of it running in the station. I went straight for the nearest liquor store and got some brand of whiskey I had never heard of and chugged the whole half pint in two big gulps. I was so on edge. I needed it. Then we walked about 2 miles to kill time and to get as far away as possible. We came to another station on the same line and decided to go into this one to get pics. The one kid used his keys to get into the station as it was still opening up for the first run. Once we were in the station we just laid on the benches and tried to blend into the bums who spent the night there away from the cold. After about 30 minutes we heard the first train coming, which was ours. We got our cameras ready and when it pulled into the station we flicked it as many times as possible before the driver shut the doors and pulled it out of the station. I remember her glaring at me as if to say "fuck you, you fuckin punks. I KNOW it was you guys!" As soon as the next train came we got onto it and rode it into the next station where there were several special police there with machine guns wearing fatigues looking dead fuckin serious. I was told by the guys I was with they were there to investigate the graff to figure out how it was done. I think they were more interested to figure out how we got in so they could seal it off for terrorist reasons. I was freaking the fuck out. Anyway, to finally end this story we got our pics and nothing happened to us. Even though we got away with it, it was still the craziest graff related experience I have ever been a part of.

anomie1: Thank You for your time. You have any shouts or fuck yous?

jeloe: Shouts? First I would like to thank DM for being there and for putting up with me. SRT and US crews here in the bay, VX and CF crews in Paris, DPM and TPG crews in London. Samo, Grey, Acne, Cecs, Vyels, Necs... Shit man there are too many. So really thanks to everyone who has been there and helped me along the way and who didn't turn their backs on me when I sucked. Thanks. As far as any "fuck yous" I am really not too bitter towards anyone. There's a few of you who have been fucked up towards me over the years but really I aint trippin. I am happy where I am. Oh and thank you for the interview.

ghostbusta5
12-23-2005, 01:27 AM
haha thats story is nuts :lol:

jape-the-nape
12-23-2005, 01:48 AM
would be cool if he filmes that whoel story lol,or atleast have the flix:P

Kingz514
12-23-2005, 02:40 AM
thats fuckin crazy

CaM-ONER
12-23-2005, 06:45 AM
all i read was up to the part where he talked about getting up on the trains in europe that shit is to long to read

vegimite on toast
12-23-2005, 07:16 AM
You're an illiterate fool, it was a good read.

alive
12-23-2005, 10:00 AM
a great read!
i wish i cuold see the pics

`~SNEK~'
12-23-2005, 11:16 AM
i sure hope i dont step on da 3rd rail :(

screw_loose
12-23-2005, 11:19 AM
wasn't there a whole thread dedicated to the third rail and not to step on it?

fuckin villan
12-23-2005, 11:20 AM
shit thats a crazy storey, did it say waht city he was in? :blink:

gun runner
12-23-2005, 12:29 PM
none of these beauties are my flicks, all off myspace and anomie1.com
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/8298/90846836l1ci.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/5021/90846973l8qb.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/6711/90884174l2tk.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/443/jeloe17gg.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/9254/jeloe87vl.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/4988/213062901l7lj.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/5413/jeloe49hk.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/60/jeloe65wt.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/9831/jeloe78yi.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/3978/jeloe103yt.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/5851/jeloe118ww.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/3507/jeloe121oi.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/1766/jeloe139jc.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/332/jeloe141az.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

chas
12-23-2005, 01:19 PM
wow

nano
12-23-2005, 01:30 PM
damn thats nuts. i def. wanna see the flix. thats like professional shit right there. like something you would see in a movie.

J.A.B.
12-23-2005, 01:43 PM
ahah jeloe hit a sweet spot i was going to hit....right across from a busy street in sf...

Welsh_Graffer
12-23-2005, 02:35 PM
Whats the 3rd rail???

`~SNEK~'
12-23-2005, 02:44 PM
if you dont know, dont go painting trains...

Welsh_Graffer
12-23-2005, 02:49 PM
Originally posted by `~SNEK~'@Dec 23 2005, 02:44 PM
if you dont know, dont go painting trains...
Lmao , Please tell me , I was hoping to go paint some trains in 2006. do they have a 3rd rail in the UK???

Havoc411
12-23-2005, 03:07 PM
that actually was a nice read

Alchohlics_Anonymous
12-23-2005, 03:22 PM
great read.

Ume
12-23-2005, 03:23 PM
fo shizzle my nizzle bizzle hizzle dizzle. (good read)

Kayone707
12-23-2005, 04:15 PM
Originally posted by Welsh_Graffer+Dec 23 2005, 11:49 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Welsh_Graffer @ Dec 23 2005, 11:49 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-`~SNEK~&#39;@Dec 23 2005, 02:44 PM
if you dont know, dont go painting trains...
Lmao , Please tell me , I was hoping to go paint some trains in 2006. do they have a 3rd rail in the UK??? [/b][/quote]
actually no.. the third rail is all fun an games.. when u paint a transit system your Supposed to step on Every single rail because theres sensors on the ground.
http://www.nationmaster.com/wikimir/images/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/6/6e/ThirdRail,Metro,Washington,DC.jpg/300px-ThirdRail,Metro,Washington,DC.jpg
^see that one back there? step on that one as soon as you can to avoid the sensors going off.. now go ...GO&#33;

tripp
12-23-2005, 04:15 PM
i was to lazy to read past the first line ha ha

Kayone707
12-23-2005, 04:17 PM
Originally posted by tripp@Dec 23 2005, 01:15 PM
i was to lazy to read past the first line ha ha
too lazy to read.. yet enough energy to tell us how far you got?

ares
12-23-2005, 04:17 PM
Originally posted by CaM&#045;ONER@Dec 23 2005, 06:45 AM
all i read was up to the part where he talked about getting up on the trains in europe that shit is to long to read
Your a faggot. If you can&#39;t take 5 minutes out of your life to read a well written interview, what the fuck are you doing posting about it. Do you think anyone here gives a fuck that some wack 14 year old is too lazy to read? Nope.

Really good read.

sika_2002
12-23-2005, 04:51 PM
thats a pretty good read, iv tried exploring for tunnels near me but i can find any. i dont even know if there are any

MegamanX
12-23-2005, 05:03 PM
Im gonna go out and explore our downtown, cause thats where all our tunnels are, under the skywalks in between buildings. Iowa sucks. That was a great interview tho, dude sounds nuts.

Noir
12-23-2005, 06:30 PM
The story was fuckin&#39; insane.

tortured artist
12-23-2005, 06:49 PM
Gun Runner try to get them flix man... that story was pretty damn intense

tortured artist
12-23-2005, 06:52 PM
Originally posted by Kayone707+Dec 23 2005, 04:15 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Kayone707 @ Dec 23 2005, 04:15 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
Originally posted by Welsh_Graffer@Dec 23 2005, 11:49 AM
<!--QuoteBegin-`~SNEK~&#39;@Dec 23 2005, 02:44 PM
if you dont know, dont go painting trains...
Lmao , Please tell me , I was hoping to go paint some trains in 2006. do they have a 3rd rail in the UK???
actually no.. the third rail is all fun an games.. when u paint a transit system your Supposed to step on Every single rail because theres sensors on the ground.
http://www.nationmaster.com/wikimir/images/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/6/6e/ThirdRail,Metro,Washington,DC.jpg/300px-ThirdRail,Metro,Washington,DC.jpg
^see that one back there? step on that one as soon as you can to avoid the sensors going off.. now go ...GO&#33; [/b][/quote]
HA kay&#39;s gonna get Welsh Graffer killed&#33;&#33;&#33;&#33; :lol:

-AbSrD
12-23-2005, 07:06 PM
fuckin nuts&#33;

repo302
12-23-2005, 07:10 PM
and we bitch about not hittin transit in nyc thats what they gotta go through to hit a train in europe lol

repo302
12-23-2005, 07:11 PM
and we bitch about not hittin transit in nyc thats what they gotta go through to hit a train in europe lol

repo302
12-23-2005, 07:11 PM
and we bitch about not hittin transit in nyc thats what they gotta go through to hit a train in europe lol

bla
12-23-2005, 07:51 PM
Post up your graffiti interviews.

Ill start.
L&#39; ALTLAS (Paris)

My name is l’Atlas, I live in Paris since my childhood, my roots stay in the south west of France as I was born near Toulouse (no coincidence if I represent for South painters&#33;). I started tagging in 1991, in the corridors of Lycee Voltaire (75011) with classmates like Elger, Stor, Dj feadz… At the time I used to write “Socle? (Pedestal in English), already with my ideas of underground layers.

Then in 1995 I went for Atlas so that the whole world could hear my name, no matter the language.

At the beginning of 1996 with Elger and Coers, we created VAO which would bring together all the buddies coming from graffiti, that had another idea of its representation.

On your website, we can see several videos of your work. On the “From Spray to Screen? DVD, there is also a short film you made about SO6. Do you have other video projects?

I film a lot the people around me; I try to be the living memory of the people I love. I am putting together a new version of Palimpseste; 52 minutes documenting two years of action on the panels of the “place sans nom? (nameless square);
You will be able to see Tom Tom, Jean Faucheur, Vast, Nomade, Elger, Tanc, Sunset, Babou, Zevs, Siche, Alexone...G... enjoying themselves.

At the same time, I am also still working on a video about the “toiles errantes? (wandering canvases).



At first, you’ve mostly been known for your tags. Your work has then evolved, but you have continued writing in the streets, unlike most of people with a similar background. Is it something you can’t live without? Do you consider it as the continuity of your work or is it something totally separate?


It is continuity. I consider the tag as a layer in the history of writing. The tag remains the imprint of the unique gesture, inherited form calligraphy.
Also after 3 or 4 beers, a good fat cap is the lushest thing ever, isn’t it?

You multiply the techniques and medium: spraying, pasting, sticky tape, canvas, video… are you always looking for innovations?

No matter the medium, I aspire to remain with time and go through the net of this system of eradication of memory in which we evolve.


You went to study calligraphy in the Moroccan Atlas with a classical master, then in Egypt with a modern master. How did you meet these “masters?? Are they used to teach Europeans? Tell us about this initiation.


The first master is called Smail Bour Quaiba, he is one of the last Moroccan calligraphist. I met him in Toulouse during my studies of History of Art and Archaeology, as I was working freelance for “Horizons Maghrebins “, a book about artistic relationships between the East and the West. I was in charge of the hanging of his exhibition… and we got on well with each other. He invited me in the Atlas, where I stayed for three months, doing 5 hours of classical calligraphy a day.
After that I never went back to university where just one man talks for five hundred.

In Cairo I accidentally met Munir Al Shaarani, a Syrian political refugee chased by the Iraqi government for communism.
He was much more “modern?, had followed a classical calligraphy training, but had also been working in a design and architecture school. He mixes the three forms of Art, and is for me the greatest calligraphist on earth. He taught me Geometry … I owe him everything. He uses colour.


With your curiosity for calligraphy techniques, would you be interested in other alphabets (Hebrew, Cyrillic, Chinese…)?

I have also studied Hebrew calligraphy at the same time as Arabic. They are both Semitic and tricosonnatic languages, two sisters. I have studied Russian for 6 years in school, and have taken part in numerous Chinese calligraphy workshops.

I am currently working with ancient Greek, doing a series of canvas with the Heraclites Fragments: “The Universe expresses itself through examples?.

I am trying to transpose this whole of knowledge, although the Arabic touch still dominates in my paintings; to develop this nameless writing between writing and representation, alphabet and ideograms.



Your photos, like your work, are generally in black and white. Do you believe, like Jacques Tati, that “the colour distracts the viewer??


First of all the use of black and white in my posters is for me a form of resistance, when town planners (and artists&#33;) are loosing it; I will only take as example the beautiful green of the Mairie de Paris. The Black and the white then become a hyphen, a binding line, a breath, between the people and the city.

Then the choice of black and white, for the photos themselves, is meant to make the city readable, in the same way a text is readable; (both my grandfathers were editors…) the artifice of colour disappears to let the reading free.

Finally the black and white tells the presence of something that has disappeared.



A book is about to come out. Was it your idea or did and editor contact you? What will it present? Your most recent works, or is it retrospective?


The editor is Didier Levallois, from Criteres Urbanites, who I met through Daniel Cresson.
It is deliberate that there is no graffiti in this book. I want to show that people with this background also have a personal one, a curiosity for other cultural influences as important as the heritage of New York graffiti. I bring back the memory of Arabic writing in the heart of occidental culture, so that we do not forget the part that the East has had in the erecting of the West, before it was drowned in it.
More than a third of the words we use come from Arabic, mixed with Greek and Latin.

The book is named l’Art du sens (the Art of sense). It is organised in 4 cardinal points;
- the compass
- the posters
- the exhibitions
- the collaborations in the streets with the buddies, always the same ones: Pablow, Elger, Teurk, Sunset, G, Tanc, Aleteïa...
This last section about other people could have been replaced by photos of the “toiles errantes?, but for me the failure of contemporary artists is to always work alone. Ideas come from discussion with others. “The other is the deliverer?

You are part of the “Acrylonumerik? project. I understand this is a happening mixing projected videos, pasting, and live painting. Can you describe the project and who else is part of it?

Actually this project couldn’t exist without a collaboration; Jaïmito and Gilbert (12 12 collective) are the initiators of the project.

The concept is to mix real painting and digital painting through graphic artists using beamers during a performance based on a scenario. The best thing to do is to have a look at the website www.akrylonumerik.com.



I think you are preparing an exhibition with Pablow, Sun7 and Tanc, in Brussels. Can you tell us about it?


This exhibition will be called UNDER CONTROL.
It will develop the idea that we are being controlled, using a mise-en-scene of characters from Pablow, linked with wires to a central Spirit that gives instructions.
A simple metaphor of our contemporary life.


Through the decoration of shops, the edition of tee-shirts… Agnes B. often works together with you. Can you tell us in what way this fashion woman is interested by the art world?


I have met Agnes B. in 1998 while I was destroying one of her delivery trucks at lunchtime on the Canal St Martin, a nice fat cap how I know. Agnes likes people who like to display themselves. She shot several films of my tags in Paris, and wanted to make tee-shirts with them. It wasn’t really going anywhere; I was going my own way. I was coming back from Cairo when she offered me to take part in an exhibition about graffiti in 2001 at Gallerie du Jour. I showed a video; in parallel Sam Bern painting the Parisian sidewalks, and a classical calligraphy, the first sentence of the Koran written with chalk on a blackboard. One again, I am trying to show that beyond cultural and social considerations, exists a universal energy that drives men to leave an imprint of their gesture through time.

Meanwhile, the twin towers collapsed.

Then a lot of things followed others. I got busted, I met Jean Faucheur, I made my first canvases, I started with posters, I vectorized all my logos, Agnes printed it all on a black and white tee-shirt series, she gave me entire freedom, I decorated her shops B sport with black tape, the Japanese invited me to do the same in Tokyo… there I shot videos of Japanese calligraphists…


Just as electro musicians often give credit to their rock influences, graffiti artists evolving with post-graffiti like to mention their non-graffiti-scene influences. Who are the people who have had an influence on your evolution? Are there some who you would like to collaborate with?


As I said earlier, my encounter with Munir al Shaarani was a turning point. Of course I copied for a long time the works of Hassan Massoudy, I have also been his pupil. I am currently doing a few canvases with Jean Faucheur, and I dream of mixing my work with the one of a Japanese calligraphist whose name I forgot.


According to you, who is the next person I should interview on ekosystem?

A girl &#33;&#33;&#33;




ABOVE (England & California)
Most of us discovered you during your residence in Paris. What did you do before ?
Before moving to paris in 2001 I was a freight bomber in California. I tagged the Name Above, Freights. I was and still am a huge fan of American trains. The fact that ones artwork is moving all over the country is a good feeling. Everyone must yeild to the Iron Horse.

You are now back in California. Urbanism is pretty different than Paris streets. Does it change your way of working ?
For sure...The city I&#39;m painting in the Blueprint for my Arrow attacks. whether its wood, paint, stencils, or stickers The city landscape is very important in Placemant and posibilities. Paris is a beautiful city that is stacked and very dense, opposed to most American cities that are flat and wide spread. For example, In Paris we have the "rain gutters" on every street that run down the side of the building. An extremely effective object to tag, or to put up a sticker...where in the states one is not so fortunate.


To be an American in Paris, does it make tradespeople easier to convince to paint on their store ?
No its actually much harder&#33; Most French that I&#39;ve encountered are "against" many Americans. What I mean is that there is this grudge or un-easyness for americans in foreign lands. The times that I would ask permission to paint a store, the owner would ask me where I was from? I would tell them California, and very often after I said that they just turned their backs and walked off.


Or anyway you didn&#39;t ask any authorisation to paint them all....?
I would say it was split 50% legal, 50% illegal. When I would paint a store often times the cops would be called...I would show them fake signatures, and address&#39;. They would look it over for about a few seconds then leave. Its funny The cops would say " oh so your the guy who I see everywhere." Once I had a cop ask me if I could paint his truck. I would paint in the daytime with no fear of being caught. The cops knew who I was and didn&#39;t see me as a vandal. I could always work the "Dumb American" angle and explain that I had permission but lost the papers, or there was a mis understanding between me and the owner...In any case I got away with a lot of nice illegal piece&#39;s.


We have seen tons of wooden arrows, in Paris. How many arrows have you put up ? Are there long to cut and made?
First of all thank you for keeping your head up^ I really had the most fun putting my arrows up in Paris. I did a total of exactly 451 in all 20 Arrondissement&#39;s. I am very organized in how I spread my art around any given city. I like to be "all City" with pieces of me in every corner of a city. with Paris it was easy to do this because there are actual arrondissement lines. The first edition of Wooden Arrows that I placed in the city was 235. I did anywhere from 10-12 Arrows in Every arrondissement. I would work within the arrondissement so precisly that when I found a spot to put up an arrow I would look at the street sign to check the arrondissement number and see if it corresponded with the one I was in? If that arrondissment was not the same number I would not put my arrow there. I did not want to cross over the Arrondissement numberlines, and go out of bounds. I did this until after all 235 were succesfully placed in Paris. I then doubled down on the "better half" of Paris. 10 Arrondissemnets that had a high amount of people passing bye, and constant action. This time I had an army of 216 arrows that I pierced Paris with. The grand total placed in Paris was 451. The hardest thing about making my arrows was working with high powered electrical tools. Throught trail and error I finally got to match my marked line with my cut line. I almost made 10 fingers dissapear into only 8 fingers. That was a close one. I would of never thought that tagging on Freight Trains in California would of led me to cutting wood in France. Its Strange the evolution of style.


Do you have any connection with french or US writers ?
YES I have a connection with all Writers. We all share the love of painting. The risk factor, and the creativity of one&#39;s style.


What was the first thing in your life that you remember being really passionate and excited about?
Drawing. I remember just loving to draw.


Who has inspired you, and who&#39;s work are you into now ? Not necessary in the graffiti world.
My Family. My Father is an amazing Painter, and ceramasist. His work ethic and style&#39;s are very inspiring to me. I would say in addition to him the whole Graffiti Culture as a whole is very inspiring. I love to walk down the steet and see someone risk their life, for getting Ups. Just people finding the power with in themselves and to channel that energy to street art is Powerful&#33;


You wrote on a few stickers : "My mother is an artist". Can you tell us more ?
My mother is an artist. She along with my whole family are artists. We were all raised to find out our creative outlets at a young age. My parents would tell us That "the only way wrong to paint was to not paint at all."


Is she supportive of you doing art stuff?
My family backs me up 110%


What telephone number do you dial the most ?
867-5309 Jenny I got your number&#33;


What is the hottest thing in California right now - except you - ?
The return of the Califonia Women. Just like the French Women, the California Women are Sexy, and fun to paint on.


What are your plans for the future?
I&#39;ll be back in Europe in about a year...I just need to finish some school here in California, until then I&#39;ll be attacking the US of A. with some bigger more advanced wooden Arrows, and freight bombing. KEEP YOUR HEAD UP^

GeSuS_KRiST
12-23-2005, 07:55 PM
anymore?

SpLiTbomber
12-23-2005, 07:55 PM
this mite turn out to actually be a decent thread

CaM-ONER
12-23-2005, 07:56 PM
woow that shit was long



























i skiipped

kongo
12-23-2005, 07:58 PM
bla, please go on...

bla
12-23-2005, 08:06 PM
all right, im glad you guys liked the idea. I got alot more, but i have to go out for dinner with my family <_< . Ill post maybe 1 more and when i come back ill post like an other 5.


Interview with G in Paris

You took part of the french graffiti magazine Graff-it. I think you left them now. Do you consider you work as graffiti ?

[Jerome] I&#39;ve got the luck to work among Graff&#39;it redactionnal on 4 issues. But even i&#39;m in love with all aerosol way of art, i don&#39;t think that sticking some posters in the street could be called "graffiti". It&#39;s not the same spirit and the same freedom in creation...there&#39;s no limit with graffiti &#39;cause it doesn&#39;t matter about format, size or choose the best support but a poster must do....


What made you start taking photos ?
[Jerome] When i understand that my brain won&#39;t be able to record all what i see everyday. I started with "only one use" easy cam, and took some holidays, friends and family pics. I lost most of my early pics....i&#39;m not in love with organisation...

What does putting up your large photos in the streets bring to you ?
[Jerome] Since 3 years i lived in Paris, i&#39;ve met some people like Jean Faucheur who show me the real art of sticking large posters in the street. Last year, Halieutik has an idea to create an happening "Art Is Stick" (it&#39;s now the name of our collective) around sticking some A3 in the street. We finally stick them near Eiffet Tower and this action was a terrible revelation for me. I want to show my photographic work to public and this alternative media is for me the best way to exhibite my pics.


Would you like to show them in galleries too ?
[Jerome] Of course yes, but i don&#39;t think i would exhibite the same things than i do in the streets. Every space (a town or a closed room) needs a special artistic reflexion about the best integration of the showed work and the supported space.

Just like djs are stuck to vinyls you seem to only use film and not digital cameras. Have you tried digital cameras ?
[Jerome] It&#39;s strange because i&#39;m working everyday with a numeric and it&#39;s a really good stuff. But it&#39;s my own purpose thah i follow when i only want to work with argentic materials. With numeric u can shoot hundred pics and even check while shooting if it&#39;s good or not....traditional cameras doesn&#39;t work like that and i prefer to play with this substance of fate (u can see result only after a few days) and as i&#39;m limited in the number of pics on a roll film (12, 24 or 36) i only shoot what it seem to be a really unmissable action.... since a few months i&#39;ve worked with an old appareil, it&#39;s a Rolleiflex who takes some 6x6 pics. It&#39;s amazing to get back to this old way of photography, it&#39;s giving me very good lessons about shooting tips without any technology help.

Do you print for yourself ?
[Jerome] No. I don&#39;t have the materials to do that. At this time, i prefer to work with a guy called Claude Perrain who&#39;s got a small photo shop and who gave to me good advices. It&#39;s such a good collaboration since 2 years that he put each month a poster of my work in his window.


You made a series of car photos with each time a name on it. What does it mean ?
[Jerome] For me cars are the perfect illustration of our old economic organisation. At beginning XXe, car&#39;s production (Henry Ford) was a real revolution in building goods. But now cars are a sort of disease for the planet while its pollution (CO emission), with oil exploitation and with the strange behavior when human is a driver. I wanted to make people think about it so I began to stick a series of car&#39;s faces on the wall with their original number plate. But I was arrested while sticking and Police notified to me that showing number plates is more illegal than stick posters in the street. So as a number plate is finally somebody i change it into a fake firstname. Today, i&#39;ve got almost 500 differents models of cars.

Do you plan what you&#39;re going to shoot, or do you go out and find good things ?
[Jerome] Since i was fed up to miss some unbelievable scenes of life, i always had a camera with me. So i&#39;ve never plan anything, i only follow my feeling with what i&#39;m watching. By walk or with my scooter, i shoot each time my heart reacts from something. I can&#39;t explain very well because it&#39;s only about sensations.


What is a good photo ?
[Jerome] 50% of hasard and 50% of love. I don&#39;t want to shoot nude femal walking in forest, it&#39;s not my aim. I prefer to report normal life events and if you love enough life, humans and earth i think you&#39;ll be able to find a magical side everywhere, sometimes happy or sad but that&#39;s life. Ying&Yang. There&#39;s no Good if there&#39;s no Bad.

Who are your favorite photographers ?
[Jerome] It&#39;s not a palmares, but names like Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Pierre-Henri Lartigue, James Natchway or Spencer Tunick for their visions of life. And Henry Chalfant for his vision of graffiti art.


Making graffiti is also having a particular relationship with urban cities... What does the city of Paris mean to you ?
[Jerome] I&#39;m always a tourist in this town. I still don&#39;t know all the corners or the underground sides of the most visited city in the world. But Paris still remain for me a kind of culture and art center..even it&#39;s a not the real interpretation of its reputation. Paris has a too loud history to look future with new eyes. It became a sort of supermarket of regular and classic culture with musuems, etc....

Are there cities you would like to go ?
[Jerome] Cities i don&#39;t know like Berlin, Tokyo, New-York, Johannesburg but i dream about travelling to Iceland. But the most exciting will be to travel in space. Actually it "only" cost 5 millions dollars..maybe in 20 years it&#39;ll be cheaper....


Any upcoming projects, you would like to share with us ?
[Jerome] I&#39;m working with Halieutik and Alexone on an exhibition in an old movie theatre in Paris XIIIe. I think it will be crazy cause we&#39;re going to "design" all the spaces of this place. It&#39;ll take place during the last weeks of september. You&#39;ll know more in a few weeks.... Also, i&#39;m trying to update my online portfolio each months and i&#39;m still looking for places or galleries to show my work


Any last word ?
[Jerome] " L&#39;homme est naturellement bon, c&#39;est la société qui le pervertit." Jean-Jacques Rousseau




3 silly questions :

hALTERophile or ALTERmondialiste (Alternative globalisation) ?
[Jerome] Altermondialist directly &#33; Only watch to Transnationale.org to see real faces of all WorldWide Firms...


Nike or Naked ?
[Jerome] Naked with the same above comment. Imagine a world where everybody were nude....amazing &#33;&#33;


Pierre la Police or Fuck the Police ?
[Jerome] I love the work of the first. And "Fuck the Police" is not very clever. We can&#39;t live in our societies without a minimum of control. But today, it&#39;s really out of control....

Can you choose 2 flix extracted from ekosystem and tell us why you chose them ?
[Jerome] first one : i&#39;d like to thank the artist named LE_COVER... i don&#39;t know him, is he italian ?...(in fact it&#39;s an italian crew)but i choose his Panda Crashed Tanker Graffiti... why ? because it&#39;s not common to see a modern and so huge graffiti without any sentence or slogan but that has got a powerfull political message....with a very clever recuperation of WWF logo... :) In this shit new millenium, i think that we must keep a social, ecological or political side of our piece of art... it&#39;s not enough to draw a small character on paper and to stick it in the street...this kind of alternative media is already a non-underground and a hype-as-God goal...Don&#39;t hide your ideas. Express them &#33;

second one : it&#39;s both a choice and a big up &#33; i choose Alexone and his "commerçant de proximité"... it&#39;s one of his first large character sticking in streets... and i think that it&#39;s one of the best cause it&#39;s fun, the integration is perfect (only see the lamp and the cashier&#33;) and it keeps a social side among its simplicity. It&#39;s just intelligent &#33;

Can you choose 2 photos from you and tell us why you chose them ?
[Jerome] first one : i took this pic last summer unless thinking i&#39;ll get a result like this. The thema of this shoot is very clear, it&#39;s a good illustration of human evolution by foot wear. Nude, simple beach shoes and sneakers.... maybe in a few years with all our modernism, we won&#39;t be able to walk.... have a look to Segway.com it&#39;s amazing...&#33;&#33;

SCRAPS
12-23-2005, 08:12 PM
To long to long

v e n s r.
12-23-2005, 08:13 PM
where you get those

bla
12-23-2005, 08:15 PM
Interview with
&#036;UPAKITCH

_1__You&#39;re back from the Sonar festival in Barcelona. Have you discovered good music or artists there ?

[supakitch] Puppetmastaz, a group of puppets very funky which were rapping on HIP-HOP/Electro sounds. I was really surprised... and I adore that. The idea is very good, they really are innovative, they bring something to hip Hop.

They are so many interresting people at the Sonar, which is also very visual. The video live of “Moment Factory? on Bjork music was a good mix.

During the sonar, I met some graffiti artists like PEZ,Chanoir, Birdie, El xupet, Ritmo.. we paint all together and it was great. Thank you ekosystem.
http://www.ekosystem.org/0_ITW/supakitch/01.jpg
_2__And did you enjoy the city ?


[supakitch] Right &#33; I love this town, I feel free, you can paint outside in the center in a really good ambiance &#33; Also, If like me, you simply like to hang out in the streets, to observe, to chill, in barcelone, it’s so like that. It’s the city of the logo, any little shop has its logo. This city is full of charm, by his colors, his size, his geographic position, his culture, his weather... Spanish people are well known to be friendly and jovial fellow . there is always something to do, I think it’s a town where i’d love to live.
http://www.ekosystem.org/0_ITW/supakitch/02.jpg
3__We know you mainly for your characters, but you also do that printed circuits. Can you tell us more about them ?


[supakitch] I’ve always loved the support of printed circuit. I find it beautiful, for his matte rand for everything you can do with. This object is omnipresent in our lives, often hidden, it makes things for our better living, work .
Nowadays, my printed circuits look like “telecran?, and it’s under that pseudo that I live through them. You can bring your telecran everywhere and draw with it. It really matches with the image i wanted to give to my circuits. A toy to use on my favourite playground, the streets and capacity to begin a propaganda counters media handling (like the advertizing for example) by putting in scene a robot, symbol of the toys and social "sheep". Because you are toys&#33;
At present I make really the distinction between my identity of Supakitch with my painting and my identity of Telecran with this support. Perhaps that a day these two styles will speak each other...
http://www.ekosystem.org/0_ITW/supakitch/03.jpg
_4__Where did the name Supakitch comme from ?


[supakitch] Everything started in 1842, in a little street in Manhattan, it was around 3.56 PM when a huge octopus walk towards me. Coming up from a sewer, she had a ghettoblaster under her tentacle, a big spicy hotdog in the other, a pink ball of wool, in an another one and 3 pairs of nike air jordan on the other tentacles. She walked me with ... with a funny way, bah.. an octopus way and asked me if I’d seen a fox with a fridge on hisback ?&#33;?
I already felt that she wanted to bother me, so I smoked a big one on my blunt, picked up my supakrylon ... and Kitch in the eye &#33;&#33;
http://www.ekosystem.org/0_ITW/supakitch/04.jpg

_5__About your characters, they look like a little bit like the one Bando. Did a long time ago. I particularly think about 1tox magazine cover. Is it an influence to you ?


[supakitch] Of course Bando is important in my graffiti culture, and I think that it’s a flattering comparison. At the time of this cover, I was quite young and so interrested by graffiti. To answer your question Eko, no I didn’t inspire from this. This little monster is born from my collection of toys and from hours in front of my TV, watching Dragon Ball and Hayaho Miyazaki’s movies from Ghibli Studios
http://www.ekosystem.org/0_ITW/supakitch/05.jpg
_6__Who were some of your earliest influences ?
[supakitch] I think that my first influences come from the street. When I was younger, i used to draw punks I saw in the street, and also my toys or characters from cartoons... then I discovered graffiti and I became really fond of Typography, I then came to graphism and illustrations.

_7__Whose work do you like at present ?
[supakitch]In fact, I really appreciate many people’s work Koralie, Prayer, Gum, TT crew, Pez, Ekopez, La guibole, WK, Kaws, Obey Giant,
East Erik, Zeus, Space invader, Sixe, La mano, 9e concept/109, Le cover, Above, 1980 crew..... I stop here but the list is long. But I’m sensitive to images in general. I appreciate many graphists/illustrators work
(Designers Republic, Nando costa, Pictoplasma, 123 clan, Buro destruct, Lodown...), toy designers (Michael Lau, Eric So, Toy2R...), photographers (Lachapelle, Spencer Tunick, Natacha Meritt, Hazy...), tatoo artists (Chiken...), architects (Gaudi, Renzo Piano...), movie makers (Terry Gillian, Andrew Blake...)

8__Do you do any illustration or graphic design work ?
[supakitch] Yes, I’ve been painting on urban advertising supports support since 2 years.I made a few exhibitions, and for the moment, the money I raised like that that helps me to pay the main elements to build my telecrans. After painting, there is graphism and disc covers. I love to work on sounds and meet people to express this way. Not long ago, I met Dj VINCIL from Toulouse, and ONLY A TASTE (an electro compilation from Montpellier).




_9__I think it&#39;s not a secret that you live with Koralie who also paints. Do you often paint together ?
[supakitch] Of course&#33; As often as possible, I really like his little geisha and to paint with her. It’s so cool to share that with my girlfriend, it’s funny to make our characters live together. It’s another exercise i like.
http://www.ekosystem.org/0_ITW/supakitch/07.jpg
_10__What is the hottest thing in Montpellier right now - except you ?

[supakitch] The sun


_11__Every year there&#39;s a festival in Montpellier called "Attitude". Many graffiti artists were invited (André, La mano, Sixe, Zeus...) Is it something you wait every summer ?

[supakitch] Yes, I think it’s good, for some reasons : you can see in the work in gallery of well known artists, to meet some, it’s makes things move in Montpellier. This year, I could see graffiti artists like Seak, Daim and Loomit , I really appreciated Seak’s work.
http://www.ekosystem.org/0_ITW/supakitch/10.jpg
12__What was the first thing in your life that you remember being really passionate about ?
[supakitch] To draw and my telecran &#33;&#33; I’ve always drew, it’s a passion for me that i’ll never lose. I’m born with, I’ll die with.When somebody offered me a telecran (I was a dwarf), I discovered an another way of drawing, more graphic. And it’s a toy quite perfect for me, i could bring everywhere, it has the size of a book, you can hide it in your school bag. It’s the ancestor of vector drawing, my first computer with illustrator.

_13__What are you goals in graffiti ?
Having fun, feeling free, my pleasure, to surprise people in the street, being surprised myself, to move, meet interresting people, share walls, ideas, to share, to chill in the streets, to observe, to act, to go over my limits, to create, to leave something, to discover new cities... graffiti is for me a way of life, when I walk in the streets, I cant help watching anyplace which is beautiful, where there would be a little tag behind a rain pipe or any place where I could put something, a telecran...I love that. Thats all. I like to satisfy my vices.
http://www.ekosystem.org/0_ITW/supakitch/09.jpg
_14__Do you have a new projects comming up soon that you can tell us about ?

I work with Koralie on an art book since a few month, it’s an interresting project. I will talk a little more about that later, It’s still too early...


_15__Any final comments ?

" Toys are in the city. Let&#39;s play to graffiti &#33;"

bla
12-23-2005, 08:20 PM
My name is Stak. I painted my 1st piece with Colorz in the late eighties in Paris suburbs.

Till 1995, i’ve painted with the P2B & VAD.

In 1995 i’ve completely stopped making classic graffiti. In that time i’ve started painting my 1st logos, it is also when i’ve painted for the 1st time a « block text ». A bit later i’ve kept on developping various work in urban space. More logo based work with a pictogram as a name.
Today, i use writing again in my work. It is texts or words that i link to various elements in order to have several reading levels

From your 1st letters with « spikes », you made an identifiable black shape with some of the characteristics of your spiky letters. Then you made that slogan serie « I’m a pleb baby &#33;", "Most loved, Most hated", "Hardder dan Hâkkuh"... Do you know what will you do next ? Something new, or go deeply into the slogans ?

Wow, you took a quick short-cut, i think &#33;&#33; From 1988 to 1995, i’ve painted in a « classic » way. In 1995 i’ve begun something different, i was fed up painting in a « traditional » way : it took me a lot of time, and i had no fun anymore. In that time, that’s right my letters were quite original. I was in a band (the P2B that was, not very into New York style. We were not interested into Hip-hop and all that things. We had a punk spirit, not hip-hop, and it could be seen in our graffiti. In that time it was pretty funny to do graffiti in a different way, something against the trend. I loved that time when everybody were pissing on our style (some people pretty famous have even said, that we « killed graffiti in Paris »… &#33;&#33;&#33;)
When all those guys started doing the same things as us, it was time to do something new. It was around 1995 that i developed my 1st logos, based on my letters. I went in abandoned places, and i painted there, not to destroy but with the aim to beautify. I worked with the space and about the space. It’s a bit later that i made my 1st block text « Working With ». Then from 1996 to 1998, i’ve only done pieces based on that logo i had created. I only made that, because it was the only thing that interested me.
In 1998 when we started to make pieces in the street , there were the 1st operations against graffiti (massive buff) in Paris with Hnt & So.6. Consequently we had a very strong impact with all the graffiti buffed and with our super identifiable logos. Bit by bit i realised i was a bit a prisoner with this logo, i wanted to express things that i couldn’t. To only make logos didn’t bring me anything interesting. So i decided to bring back to text and to write slogans who deal with what i was living, about what i wanted to express. All my texts have a story. At this moment all my pieces deal with the « working-class », and « I’m a pleb baby » is a kind of reference-text. You know all my work is about a kind of rehabilitation of city discredited elements. Actually, what interest me today, is to take popular connoted icons and to bring them in a different context to change their image. To achieve that, i use all means necessary : video, neon tube, photography and of course text and language. About what will be my work next orientation , i’m quite interested in making motif. They allow me to develop my work in a different way…and for the future... who knows ?
http://www.ekosystem.org/0_ITW/stak/stak2.jpg
Do you have a conscious influence for your slogans : advertissement, other artists ? Is the choice of the "impact" font a matter of chance or is it deliberate?

Yes indeed, i&#39;m under influences, and i know where they are from. I like artists who work with language, the artists of the minimal art or conceptual artists. I like also those who are capable of using very few components in their work. I don&#39;t like decoration. At the same time, other worlds improve my work : publicity or fashion for instance... As for the "impact" font, it is a complete deliberate choice. "Impact" is the anti-decorative typo "par excellence", it is heavy, neutral, and i must confess that i like its "boorish" aspect. This is exactly what i want to express in my work and i like when the whole work is pure, without fuss nor ornaments.


From september,19th, to october,15th, you&#39;ll exhibit in Bagnolet (Gallery (...) ) . Can you give us a foretaste of what we&#39;ll see there? Does the fact of being in a gallery mean that you have to sell pieces and that the wall, your usual medium, is now unsuitable?

As i have always done, i will directly work upon the walls of both rooms. I&#39;ll show news pieces and olders ones. I don&#39;t want to give you more details, but, in addition to the customary "block texts", there also will be some "pattern", which is quite new for me. Moreover i will show two videos, from which one was especially realized for this exhhibition... In my opinion, the fact of working in a gallery is not necessarily synonymous with selling. That simply allows me to win a different audience and, at last, perhaps to be taken for serious. I have no work from studio, the only pieces that could make me earn money would be pieces made for me ( like the neon lightings for instance) or the drawings i make before my interventions. I don&#39;t necessarily consider the gallery as a place of business ( maybe this detail makes me differ from the majority of the street artists ) : i&#39;m not ready to do anything for dough. The gallery space simply allows me to develop a work which takes place in the contemporary art freely and to present it to an experimented population. I want my generation to be recognized, and this could obviously realize through the gallery. I&#39;m not against the fact of earning money provided to one&#39;s art, but i&#39;m against the fact of making dough at any price. My stand is very simple : for me, to customize a pair of Nike shoes is not art, it is only an eye-catching business. I don&#39;t want that.
http://www.ekosystem.org/0_ITW/stak/Brilliant.jpg
You were the creator and editor in chief of WorldSigns. Five noticed issues were released . And then the venture reached its end. Was it because of differences concerning the editorial content or because of economical difficulties?

WorldSigns was my artistic space, it was my gallery. It was a kind of platform which was allowing me to feature artists I wanted to support. This was a great experience. But at a certain point I felt bored of being only considered as a journalist ( a « maecenas ») or even as a public relations expert. Yeah, lots of events gave me the feeling it was time to stop. But above all, I wanted to focus on my own work. Take care of myself, this is what I am doing right now.


While you are exposing, a book about your work is about to be released. What will be found inside ? Your last works, or older graffiti things?

Olivier Stak, Selected Works, is a 64 pages selection of the most important stuff that I realized from 1988 to 2004 and that represent the most relevant as far as my work is concerned.

Buy it, it will allow me to pay for new shoes at Vuitton&#39;s ...
http://www.ekosystem.org/0_ITW/stak/stak.jpg
I feel it&#39;s important for you to be considered as a "real artist" , and not as a writer or even worse a graphic designer. Am I wrong?

I don&#39;t bother being considered as a "real artist", I just want to be taken seriously. I am an artist working in areas linked with graffiti. Why calling me a "writerr" while I just paint walls twice a month, or "graphic-designer" while I am not working for any brand and i am my own boss.
The word "artist" sounds better to me. It&#39;s also my full time job : I only do this and I am only willing to doing this.


Are you still interested in graffiti ? (as a participant and as a spectator)

Yes and no. Classic graffiti bores me, as much as street art does. There are a few people I am enjoying though, but hey I&#39;m not spending days in yards & graffiti spots.


You’ve been the Artistic Director. of Nusign 2.4. An exhibition in Paris gathering more than 40 « post-graffiti » artists. The exhibition shows many artists for the very first time in Paris, and has been appreciated. But it also has been pretty controversial. What’s the balance sheet look like ?

I was not actually an « Artistic Director » of NuSign, i was just a simple consultant. My balance sheet ? It doesn’t change anything in my life. For some other, coming from nowhere but with a business plan in the head, it allowed them to meet people and get more opportunities. Anybody takes what he has to take… and the more you are hungry the more you get &#33;


Some people think you are always bitching about commerce in relation to urban art and put yourself in interviews as a very moral person in relation to your art. How do you get your money. and if you get money
thru your art, does it never brings you in conflict. how do you deal with that?

Thanks for asking this question, i never had an opportunity to talk about this. First of all, i don’t want to be seen as a moralististic person. I don&#39;t want to be the one who give lessons, and i don’t claim to know the Truth. As said before my point of view is quite simple. I’m not against making money with your passion, your art, but we can’t do anything. I think that today, street-art is sadly being eaten by the « hype » and the business. I don’t agree with all this new hungry generation, who is ready to do for anything for « fame ». Honestly, i don’t see any interest in a customised sneaker exhibition. The only goal of this is to advertise for a company who doesn’t care about art. When the fashion will be over, there won’t be there anymore. What annoys me the most, is to be used by those big companies which claim they support artists. But it’s bullshit, they use the artists for business reasons. Artists don’t create in an artistic goal, but obey to their employee wishes. I’m not totally against working with companies, but i try to think about the impact it has on my own artistic work, and what does it really bring me. I don’t want money to interfere with my art. There was a time i have more or less do anything i had been offered. Now i regret some things i have done. Money and magazine articles are very attractive, but i wasn’t doing Art, i was just decorating products. Today i want to stay focused on my art and on what i want to express and not thinking about how to sell it. Nevertheless, i sometimes work with some companies, but i don’t want my work to be turned into a gimmick. I want that the pieces are related to my artistic work (that it is not a « gadget »).

With Hnt and a few friends, you seem to be a small community sharing same esthetic tastes, very far away from hip-hop : with some particular clothing brands, a fascination for eastern-europe, for the abandonned and hard to access places…

Absolutely, i’m more into Rotterdam Terror Corps than Wu-Tang, i prefer Fred Perry than Karl Kani, i like more Adidas than Nike, I love Champagne more than cheap wine. I have more fun in « Colette » parties than in « Nouveau Casino ». I prefer when it shines than when it stinks… though i also like a bit when it stinks &#33;


Liza n&#39;Elias, Manu le Malin , les Spiral Tribe or… Flamenco ?

Tough question…any of this name coincides with a time in my life. But if i had to choose one, i would say Liza n’Elias for her crazy dj-sets and a bygone age.


According to you who should i interview next for ekosystem ?

You should interview someone with balls who is on the fringe of our scene, someone who doesn’t give a fuck about political correctness… Someone able to say what he loves and what he doesn’t in post-graffiti without thinking about opportunities he may lost for hurling abuse at some street-artists…

It should be pretty fun.


Any last word ?

NO HAPPY SHIT &#33;

kongo
12-23-2005, 08:26 PM
Originally posted by kongo@Dec 23 2005, 07:58 PM
bla, please go on...
yes, i was being sarcastic&#33;

jekl>AN
12-23-2005, 08:45 PM
yo that story is maDD dope but yea whats 3rd rail???

jekl>AN
12-23-2005, 08:49 PM
Those are sweet sttories and interviews but whered you get them?

bla
12-23-2005, 09:41 PM
can tell you that lucas :lol:

disposable_hero
12-23-2005, 11:33 PM
antiks interviews rony hsa and then some pics of ronys work.
http://img380.imageshack.us/img380/453/ronyspotlightweb7lu.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img398.imageshack.us/img398/8974/2ronywall3web7yr.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img398.imageshack.us/img398/1082/rony2nd4165lv.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img398.imageshack.us/img398/75/ronycausrbth0iv.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img398.imageshack.us/img398/3453/torony0051qy.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img398.imageshack.us/img398/5947/ronyrdtrnweb6nb.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img398.imageshack.us/img398/2103/zeonreckaronyhope5jx.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

disposable_hero
12-23-2005, 11:45 PM
and skam hsa
http://img379.imageshack.us/img379/7613/skamspotlightweb0kv.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img379.imageshack.us/img379/3928/1baconskamwall1web6ql.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img379.imageshack.us/img379/8549/1skamwall1web6pr.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img379.imageshack.us/img379/1246/teckskamthrowsweb8cr.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img379.imageshack.us/img379/218/skamtrck9an.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img379.imageshack.us/img379/2149/skamrenzephyrweb7vs.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img379.imageshack.us/img379/9739/gemsthrowweb4as.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img379.imageshack.us/img379/9870/2skamwall2web8jm.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

disposable_hero
12-23-2005, 11:53 PM
those are 2 of my favorite artists..

Kayone707
12-24-2005, 04:05 AM
Originally posted by tortured artist+Dec 23 2005, 03:52 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (tortured artist @ Dec 23 2005, 03:52 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
Originally posted by Kayone707@Dec 23 2005, 04:15 PM

Originally posted by Welsh_Graffer@Dec 23 2005, 11:49 AM
<!--QuoteBegin-`~SNEK~&#39;@Dec 23 2005, 02:44 PM
if you dont know, dont go painting trains...
Lmao , Please tell me , I was hoping to go paint some trains in 2006. do they have a 3rd rail in the UK???
actually no.. the third rail is all fun an games.. when u paint a transit system your Supposed to step on Every single rail because theres sensors on the ground.
http://www.nationmaster.com/wikimir/images/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/6/6e/ThirdRail,Metro,Washington,DC.jpg/300px-ThirdRail,Metro,Washington,DC.jpg
^see that one back there? step on that one as soon as you can to avoid the sensors going off.. now go ...GO&#33;
HA kay&#39;s gonna get Welsh Graffer killed&#33;&#33;&#33;&#33; :lol: [/b][/quote]
jus doin my job :rolleyes: :lol:

Tony
12-24-2005, 04:25 AM
you&#39;re not being very responsable kay&#33; misguideing kids like that...geez




you&#39;re suposed to bite the 3rd rail

AXIS
12-24-2005, 06:43 AM
Good thread, hopefully you can keep updating it on a regular basis.

gun runner
12-24-2005, 12:04 PM
i put up jeloe flicks on the first page, couldnt get one of the train though

bla
12-24-2005, 02:24 PM
Thanks for that interview DIsposable hero. Skam is one of my favorite writers too along with seen and cope2. Im gonna try to get some of their interviews.

bla
12-24-2005, 02:25 PM
Thanks for that interview DIsposable hero. Skam is one of my favorite writers too along with seen and cope2. Im gonna try to get some of their interviews.

bla
12-24-2005, 02:31 PM
Seen is an icon in the graffiti world, he epitomizes the NY old school graf scene whilst still painting to this day. His latest exhibition illustrates with ease that he is not prepared to sit back on his considerable laurels and is still creating groundbreaking works.

Non-graf heads just can’t understand the fondness verging on adoration graf-heads feel for Seen, he is featured heavily in both Subway Art and Stylewars: the 2 most referenced texts of graffiti history. I wasn’t surprised to see several London writers I knew before and after the interview, popping in to pay their respects, get their copies of Subway Art signed, just see the man himself on his first visit to the U.K. Damn it, I seriously felt honoured to be doing this interview… and I ain’t too proud to admit I brought my 15 year old copy of Subway Art to be signed too&#33;

LC: How long have you been painting?
LC: What first inspired you to start painting graffiti, were you always an artist, were you always into art, even before graffiti?

SEEN: I was always into drawing and into art, ever since I was Gods knows how small, I always had a pen, a pencil, markers or crayons in my hands, I was always drawing, water-paints, whatever my parents gave me to pacify me when I was a kid, I used.

LC: It might be an impossible question, What’s your favourite piece you’ve ever painted?

SEEN: Somebody else asked me that question, and it was kind of a tough question, but you know what it is? I have to say, probably my first piece I first painted on a subway car, it’s the most important one. If I had to giveaway my whole collection like I could only keep one, it would be that one; As messy and as sloppy as it might have been, it’s still my favorite, it’d be that one.

LC: What line was it on?

SEEN: It was on the 6 line, the Pelham line, they also call it the Lexington Avenue.

LC: Do you still enjoy painting as much now, or do you feel jaded at all, do you still have the enthusiasm?

SEEN: I’m still creating works, but the works have changed, this is like considered the ‘End of the Era’ this show, more or less, because this’ll be the last of the works like you see upstairs. The graf is still there but it’s more in the background, worked in the background, you have to read into the work to see it, it has moved a little bit on
http://www.ukhh.com/elements/graffiti/seen/seen01.jpg
LC: Do you like seeing your work in a gallery environment or do you prefer seeing it in a street setting?

SEEN: It’s 2 different ways there, more, it’s created a little bit different than on the streets now but still has the street influence involved in the work. But as far as the mindset, I always did I’ve always liked the streets because it was created for the streets - now it can kind of flip flop either way, on the street or inside, But I like to see it on the streets, more people get to see it, that’s important.

LC: What do you find inspiring now, like when you’re painting something, what are you thinking, referencing in your head?

SEEN: I like to see a lot of old and deteriorated things, like I’ll be walking down the street and I’ll see some rotted piece of metal and I’ll drag it all the way home. I think the brightness of things, the boldness, I did it so many years I just needed a flip and a change. Like those paintings over 15 blocks over there, you can see the deterioration of what they’ve become, I’m moving to the dark side now.
http://www.ukhh.com/elements/graffiti/seen/seen03.jpg


Seen is an icon in the graffiti world, he epitomizes the NY old school graf scene whilst still painting to this day. His latest exhibition illustrates with ease that he is not prepared to sit back on his considerable laurels and is still creating groundbreaking works.

Non-graf heads just can’t understand the fondness verging on adoration graf-heads feel for Seen, he is featured heavily in both Subway Art and Stylewars: the 2 most referenced texts of graffiti history. I wasn’t surprised to see several London writers I knew before and after the interview, popping in to pay their respects, get their copies of Subway Art signed, just see the man himself on his first visit to the U.K. Damn it, I seriously felt honoured to be doing this interview… and I ain’t too proud to admit I brought my 15 year old copy of Subway Art to be signed too&#33;

LC: How long have you been painting?

SEEN: Graffiti wise, 32 years, since 1973.

LC: What first inspired you to start painting graffiti, were you always an artist, were you always into art, even before graffiti?

SEEN: I was always into drawing and into art, ever since I was Gods knows how small, I always had a pen, a pencil, markers or crayons in my hands, I was always drawing, water-paints, whatever my parents gave me to pacify me when I was a kid, I used.

LC: It might be an impossible question, What’s your favourite piece you’ve ever painted?

SEEN: Somebody else asked me that question, and it was kind of a tough question, but you know what it is? I have to say, probably my first piece I first painted on a subway car, it’s the most important one. If I had to giveaway my whole collection like I could only keep one, it would be that one; As messy and as sloppy as it might have been, it’s still my favorite, it’d be that one.

LC: What line was it on?

SEEN: It was on the 6 line, the Pelham line, they also call it the Lexington Avenue.

LC: Do you still enjoy painting as much now, or do you feel jaded at all, do you still have the enthusiasm?

SEEN: I’m still creating works, but the works have changed, this is like considered the ‘End of the Era’ this show, more or less, because this’ll be the last of the works like you see upstairs. The graf is still there but it’s more in the background, worked in the background, you have to read into the work to see it, it has moved a little bit on.



LC: Do you like seeing your work in a gallery environment or do you prefer seeing it in a street setting?

SEEN: It’s 2 different ways there, more, it’s created a little bit different than on the streets now but still has the street influence involved in the work. But as far as the mindset, I always did I’ve always liked the streets because it was created for the streets - now it can kind of flip flop either way, on the street or inside, But I like to see it on the streets, more people get to see it, that’s important.

LC: What do you find inspiring now, like when you’re painting something, what are you thinking, referencing in your head?

SEEN: I like to see a lot of old and deteriorated things, like I’ll be walking down the street and I’ll see some rotted piece of metal and I’ll drag it all the way home. I think the brightness of things, the boldness, I did it so many years I just needed a flip and a change. Like those paintings over 15 blocks over there, you can see the deterioration of what they’ve become, I’m moving to the dark side now.



LC: Do you go to exhibitions yourself, of non-graffiti art?

SEEN: Yes, I do. I go to all different walks of life, whether living or dead people, I like to see, at one time I never used to look at anything, just the idea that things puts an idea in your head so you could do something that had been done before but now I think itsa good thing to look out there. There’s all sorts of different styles out there and I never really realised that. I’ve got all sorts of art books, ones I’ve never opened, I go to Barnes & Noble all the time and buy all sorts of books.

LC: Are there any artists out there at the moment whose work you like?
SEEN: Today I like a lot of these up and coming people that are out there that I like to see, a lot of U.S. people that you probably don’t even heard of these people. there’s a Jeff (?) It’s a beautifully amazing stuff, It’s all oils, I wish I could even describe it, it’s street related but he’s not a street artist. Old Masters, like Picasso, I love to see their works, I like to see the changes they made over the years like when they first started they may have been painting people like in a normal fashion then (gestures) to the other side. That type of stuff I really really like, and that’s what I’m trying to do, not the old over and over.
http://www.ukhh.com/elements/graffiti/seen/seen04.jpg
LC: What do you think of the new generations of artists that use stencils and stickers instead of spraycans?

SEEN: I think that’s just another form of getting your name or your subject up where people get to see it. Graffiti, as we know from the spray can days, is basically about getting your name up and people getting to see it. Like they scratch the windows now, it’s just another form of, way of doing it, the cave men had hammers and chisels, rocks and chisels, like engraving. It’s good because it shows different directions, different paths down the road, it shows their not just trying to do the same thing as the spraycan days, but it is the same.
http://www.ukhh.com/elements/graffiti/seen/seen05.jpg
LC: What do you think of U.K graf?
SEEN: I see magazines like all around the world, photos of what did exist, over the course of time. This trip, it’s very minimalized, As far as I’ve seen in photographs in the past, New York is the same way now too it’s very limited.

LC: Whose lettering style have you really liked, whose was memorable?

SEEN: It’s a legible lettering style, with a little twist of wildstyle, but still legible. I was influenced by Fade (??) 167, whose idea was much like mine was, to do a readable wildstyle and that’s what he was doing back in the days.

LC: Now, I’m sorry because you must have been asked this so many times, but why SEEN:?

SEEN: It was just a time where people would pick names, whether they were graffiti artists or just people who wanted to scribble their names. So I just picked a name and it kind of worked for me in the end because it’s all about being seen, to be seen, it was just a fluke it worked out; And believe me having 2 E’s next to each other. Really wasn’t that easy to work with. But it’s the name that I chose.

LC: Now my last question is, what is your favourite colour, ever?

SEEN: Green, to get deeper: it’s a Rustoleum colour called Cascade Green, a kind of 1950’s green, kind of pastel, it’s hard to find that colour.
http://www.ukhh.com/elements/graffiti/seen/seen8.jpg
http://www.ukhh.com/elements/graffiti/seen/seen9.jpg

bla
12-24-2005, 02:40 PM
This is not an interview but its the biography of cope2. (thats all i could find)


Cope 2 True Legend

Bio..

The beginning…

I was born in the South Bronx. The home, the motherland, the Mecca of hip hop. I started writing graffiti back in 78-79. Influenced by my cousin Chris. He tagged Chico. He wasn’t a huge writer, just a local. I remember him always having a huge marker called a Pilot. He always had it in his draw. At times I would take it when he wasn’t home, go under the stairs or the rooftop of my grandmothers building and just tag my nickname (Nano). Then in 79-80 my cousin took me on the subways. The 4 train was in my neighborhood. I remember taking the back car from Mosholou Parkway to the last stop (Woodlawn Rd). As soon as the doors would close he would make sure the last car was empty and just start tagging all over the train. On the ceilings, the doors even the subway maps. I remember seeing other tags on the insides. Writers like Ban2, 2Rape, Ojab, Die, Lie, Duro, Dondi, Duel, Base2, Zephyr, Fuzz one, just to name a few. My mother and I traveled quite a bit on the subways and I was always looking at the outsides, seeing huge names really blew my head. The writers I remember were Fritos, Mark198, Dr. Pepper, Killer56, Comet, Blade, Popeye, Tracy168, Deli167 (who was Ban2), Lee, Seen, Pjay,

P-nut2, Medisco92 and my idol Mitch77. That’s what really inspired me to get deeper into graffiti.

I lived on Dekalb ave. and the kids on my block were all writing. There was Kop, 2Bang, Sofe, Piz, 2Sweet, 2Go & Rop. Then you had TSR (The Squad Rockers) down the block, Soe, 3D, Al, Duel, Harm187 & Coe. I always had drama with these punks. They always tried to jump me. Until I beat down Duel and Coe. You also had The MG Boys, Jem, Jay, Mark198, Dee3, Russ75, Mite, Rust, Cuda & Kit17. These guys always had huge pieces in all the school yard walls. One piece I loved was this fat P-nut2 in JHS 80.

P-nut2 had fame on the Welcome Back Kotter show, so that inspired me but Mitch77’s Tue burners and straight letters on the 4 line really inspired me. Man his style was ill. The best at the time. The first time I went to the writers bench at 149st Grand Concourse, I met Bear167, Gman, Smiley149, Ban2, Tye, Lane, Post, Or2, Rex167, Lie and many other writers. It was crazy seeing all these whole cars roll by. With burners by Dez, Shy147, Skeme, Kel1st, Cos207, Case2 & Tkid. I mean whole car burners after whole car burners. That was also deeply inspirational. I’m thank GOD for blessing me. To live it believe me it was a blessing.

While going to the 4 yard I met a lot of writers. I met Trap and Rip7. Later Rip7 taught me how to break dance and Trap and I became pretty tight. By then I was also writing Cope2. It was a name that my best friend gave me. He used to write Kope and The 2 I got from Ban2, cause he was the king of the insides.

I remember several writers writing “King?. I wondered why, so I asked Trap why so many writers wrote “King?. Trap told me that it meant that you claimed this line like a King. That meant you had the most tags on the insides or throw-ups, burners and blockbusters on the outsides. So I said Hmmm, that’s a challenge.

I early 82 I started my own crew KD (Kids Destroy). The crew was Kope who later became AM1, Spel, Reo, Milt, Skeet R.I.P., Kie R.I.P. (GOD bless their souls and thanx you both for the memories, good and bad, they will be cherished till my last breathe, see you at the crossroads) and Ston3.

We started to rock the 4 line. My man AM1 quit after getting busted on the Kingsbridge lay-ups one afternoon, Sofe and I got away. Kie and Ston3, kinda got into chilling and smoking blunts. Me, Spel and Reo started rocking a lot of silver whole cars and burners on the 2’s and 5’s. Ston3 and I kinged the insides of the D’s in 82, then moved on to the 1’s.

At one point we killed all city rack spots, hardware stores & Martin Paint stores in Yonkers & White Plains. It was paradise. I loved it. But Spel and Reo kinda died out and I moved on to destroy the lines. During that time, I had a couple of partners… Trace2 & Keep, then I met Cone, Ley, Race5, Melo (TNF crew The Nations Freshest). Cone, Ley and I did a couple of cars, but by late 82’ early 83’, I was King of the 4 line. I mean I destroyed it. Writers like Mitch77, Ban2, and Blade also killed it. I remember Blade living on my block. I always saw him cleaning his car, coolin with Maze and Dolores. Man
Blade put the smack down on the 4 line, with blockbusters.

Spin TFS also King’d the 4 line. I loved his simple styles with the white highlights.

But Delta2 and Sharp murdered the 4 line. They made me step up my game. The insides were getting killed by Sash, Des & Pate and that was after Rex167, Cep and Trap Kinged the insides. You also had Duel, Warring with Ban2. It was ill. I then went on to other lines.

As I moved on to the 2’s and the 5’s, which were getting painted white at the time. It began a new era for me. Cone TNF & I started to destroy the line. Cone worked in a Bodega up near the Bronx Park East station. Cap MPC and the MPC crew would go into the bodega to buy 12 packs of beer. When Cap met Cone, he asked Cone if he could meet me. It was an honor to know that Cap wanted to meet me. I had heard many stories about Cap… How he chased my boy Swan3 with a machete and that Cap would go to the yards with a pump shot gun and just seeing how he destroyed the subways going over everybody. It was kinda ill. I told Cone, "cool I’ll meet him. " As I met Cap, I also met Rook, Caban, Pove, Dose, Flint, Rock161 and Doc. It was phat meeting these guys.

Cap and I kinda clicked. He would talk about some of the bombs he did. It was just ill coolin with Cap. Then one day he gave me a throw-up outline and I just rocked it. (This is the throw-up I use today) Watching him have wars with writers like Quik, Sach, Duro, Dondi and Min RTW was ill. (I loved Min RTW’s NE throw-ups. That kid is the real “True legend?)

I then got down with MPC, that’s when things shit got crazy for me. As soon as I started hooking up MPC, I got dogged by Duro, Plus, Min, Roni, Second, Kilo and a bunch of other writers. This was going on as I was having a war with Neo, Nog, Rec127, Ghost and the RIS crew. I was loving it, till that day I was bombing the 4 line lay-ups and I ran into Swan3, Booze, Rac7 and Tkid. Tkid pulled out a bat and swung that shit at my head. Quick and Tkid told me to stay out of the Ghost yard with that MPC shit. They also said to tell Cap the same. So I did…

Then there was a showdown at Fashion Moda in the Bronx. Cap stepped to Tkid on the Ghost yard issue. Then shit got crazy. Cap and Tkid got into a big fight. Some people say Cap won, some say Tkid won. Who knows and who cares. Tkid gets props for being the only writer to fight Cap.

I kept bombing, but I was getting a lot of my shit dissed because of MPC. So I stopped repping the crew. It was nothing personal toward Cap, I just had to look out for myself. I guess Cap took it the wrong way and got pissed, cause before you knew it the whole MPC crew was going over me. By that time Cone and the TNF crew had quit. So Pove and I started killing shit. He didn’t get involved with all the drama, cause he was down with MPC. Plus he was busy repping his crew GU (Graffiti Unlimited). Pove was a cool cat. He had the 2’s and the 5’s locked down. Seen and Blade were also killing the white trains. They were the first to smack them with huge flat black, fat cap tags on all the panels. This was in late 82’ early 83’.

Towards late 84’ early 85’ writers like Dero, Wane, Sento, Key, MK, Wips, Wen, Cav, Jase & Poem were killing the lines with silver and colored whole cars, while I was killing it with throw-ups. You also had TAT’s cru. They had been rockin whole cars out there since 83’. Tkid, Bio, Mack, Cem2, Kenn, Raz, Shame125 & Brim were pulling off some of the fattest whole cars at the time. Right around that time I met a dude that wrote Quick. Not the original RTW Quik, but a guy I met through Pove & Sept. Quick and I became tight and became partners. People were buggin how I was writing with this other Quick. But he was a real ***** and that’s all the matters to me. We also both had drama with Med and Fayde. He was bombing highways, so I got into bombing highways. Then I showed him how to hit the subways and we rocked the 2’s and the 5’s, they were good times I had with Quick.

You know come to think of it I had drama with everyone back then. I remember these two crazy mother fuckers from Hunt’s Point called 3Cee & Drift TSU. Them *****s hated me. I also had all the new MPC writers Elf, Ed, Echo, Not & Mazz going over me.

It was wild but I was still on top.

I remember Trim KD. That was a wild *****, crazy and he was hilarious. I had new *****s down with KD at the time. Saze, Alroc, Part5, Vine R.I.P., Rea, Just (the real Just) and 100’s of other writers.

All this looking back reminds me of my ***** Nic NST R.I.P., we used to puff blunts till our heads popped. We did acid, dust, cocaine. I did it all boyee. 81’-85’ were the golden years. The Fun House & Roxy’s it was banging.

Then in 1985 Pjay was released from prison. He and SeenUA went on a rampage, smacking the 6 line, then the 2’s and the 5’s, they even smashed the 1 line. They were just going over all my shit. So that started some real shit. I had always respected those guys. Then they started a crazy war. It was fun. The only thing was by that time the train era was dieing. Sho, Dome and DC3 TDC crew were rocking the 2’s and the 5’s towards the end. The silver bullets were coming in and all the old trains were on the way out. The CC’s, J’s and M’s were the last trains left. Saze, Even, Med KBK and I started to smash what was left. At the time the real Kez, Raze, and Seze were killing it while having a war with JA. And other writers like the Dole, Suey Rab and Den CAC crew, Chino BYI, Ghost, Trim TNC and Tekay were hitting the last of the graffiti trains. By 88’ the subway graffiti era was dead and 100’s of writers that had been writing since day 1 kinda quit and just disappeared. Some got into positive things, some got into drug selling and some got into using drugs, some went to prison and some passed away… I went through my own dramas in life, but I always kept on writing.

Then writers like Lilman, Moster, Arise, Crises, Bio & Lase were smacking gates. But it was Eaze, Joz & Josh5 who really took it to another level. These guys hit every single gate through out the city. Joz and Eazy were the original street bombing kings. So I got into bombing the streets. I then became tight with writers like Pjay, Med, Rob and many, many more…

I have bombed and had war with the best… Cap, Pjay, Seen, Joz, Bom5, Easy, Delta2, Trap, Ja, Json, Pove, Dero, Ghost, Ivory, Flite and many more.

In the late 80’s and early 90’s I got into painting permission walls. A lot of writers were getting into permission walls. Getting into productions was kinda cool, you know getting older and maintaining a family, doing legal walls was a lot less stressful. But I still did illegal shit here and there. I mean subways are in my blood, I was hitting them from time to time.

In 1993 Per FX and I went all city with throw-ups. I had been rocking the city with tags. Then I started rocking pieces on walls with my man Jez.

Threw the 90’s I painted some of the best productions in New York, with the best crews… TATs, UW, COD & FC which has been around since 82 and which I am honored to represent today. Some of the FC members like West, Psycho & Dash are the realest people I have ever met. I have also painted with the FX crew, one of the best in the late 90’s.

Through my life as a graffiti artist I’ve had some of the best partners… Spel, Cone, Delta2, Pove, Quik KD, Saze, Jez, Nic NST, Trim KD, Trap, Dero, Pjay, Ovie, Quest KD, Need, Per, Tkid, Muse, Ivory (who is a real *****) & Key just to name a few.

I have also influenced 100’s of writers, even my younger brothers Deso wrote Skep for many years but really never got into graffiti. He’s more into the rap element of the hip hop scene. My younger brother Jee had more love for graff. He even has his own crew which he started with his partner Spek. Spek idolized me very much. So I took him under me wing and showed him how to become a God Of Destruction in the same way Cap & Pjay showed me. But in this hateful, disgusting, evil world we live in, Speks life was cut short. I’ve lost a lot of friends and family through the years but losing a person like Spek was and still is a very deep scar in my heart. I will cherish every second and moment I ever had with him. He will always be missed and he will always be in our hearts. GOD bless your soul Tim, I love you little brother... Rest in peace….



Some of my accomplishments and future plans…

In 1999-2000 Abstract Video produced one of the best and purest graffiti video documentaries of all times. “Cope2 Kings Destroy? this video rocked and shocked the entire world. It was a masterpiece. The video has some of the greatest rappers of all time… Fat Joe, KRS1, Flava Flav, Rakim & Kool Herc and writers like Seen, Pjay, JA, Json, Tkid, Ces, Chino, Daze, west, Flite, Per, Ivory, Ban2, Ink76 and many more. It’s a must own for graffiti artist. It was an amazing adventure filming the documentary. I’m very thankful to Tommy Marron & Philip Thorn for creating the video, which is also going to be released on DVD soon, with new footage. Be on the look out.

I have also stepped into the Gallery scene.

I’ve done back drops for rappers videos like KRS1, Beinie Seigal, Master Ace and several more.

I’ve done work for a new graffiti game on play station…

I have my own sneaker design for Converse which will be out in late 2004…

I also have one of the best graffiti books ever. “Cope2 True Legend? is 275 full color pages. Now this book is graffiti at it’s purest, thanks to Nic at “righters.com? and Orus (R.I.P. it was a blessing having you in my life GOD bless your soul) for publishing the book.

I’m also working on a Cope2 doll…

Graffiti has helped me travel to Los Angeles, Spain, Madrid, Germany, Paris, Chicago, Ohio, Puerto Rico and a few other places.



Thanks and shout outs…

I’m blessed with 2 beautiful children Chulo my son who is 18 now and Vanessa my daughter who is 16. You are my heart and soul, the life blood that flows though my body. Live life to the fullest but always be aware of the hate and foolishness in life.

I am blessed to have 3 of the greatest brothers in life Deso, Jee and Jeremy. I will always cherish, respect and honor you.

To my Pops Fernando Carlo whom always taught me to be strong in life no matter what, to never let anything bring you down, even in defeat you still hold your head up high…

To my mom I love you and I honor your strength. Be strong till the end.

To Fusy: Thanks for all the good years and I am so deeply sorry for all the bad times. I will always hold dear everything that you have done for me. I will never find another woman like you… GOD bless you.

To my family: my grandparents, uncles, aunts, my niece Ashley (GOD bless your gorgeous thing) you are all in my heart.

And to all my *****s… I mean the real *****s, you know who you are. I love you all…

To my brothers that have passed: You will always be in my heart… GOD bless your souls…



There’s more to come. By the grace of GOD it aint over… I’m coming full force baby, it’s on… so watch out all you haters…

Cope2 Most Popular Creation, God of Destruction forever crushing, Killa Dogs, The Nasty Boys, Too Fuckin Popular true legend status.

`~SNEK~'
12-24-2005, 03:48 PM
3RD RAIL, n. - The third rail is the rail that supports weed to the trains on the transit systems. If you bite it you will get a great high.

Iamyourrealfatherbitchnigga
12-24-2005, 04:07 PM
Anyone have that JA Article?

.A.K.4.7.
12-24-2005, 04:50 PM
THE FIRST TIME I meet JA, he skates up to me wearing Rollerblades, his cap played backward, on a
street corner in Manhattan at around midnight. He&#39;s white, 24 years old, with a short, muscular build and
a blond crew cut. He has been writing graffiti off and on in New York for almost 10 years and is the
founder of a loosely affiliated crew called XTC. His hands, arms, legs and scalp show a variety of scars
from nightsticks, razor wire, fists and sharp, jagged things he has climbed up, on or over.
He has been beaten by the police -- a "wood shampoo," he calls it -- has been shot at, has fallen off a
highway sign into moving traffic, has run naked through train yards tagging, has been chased down
highways by rival writers wielding golf clubs and has risked his life innumerable times writing graffiti --
bombing, getting up.
JA lives alone in a one-bedroom apartment. There&#39;s graffiti on a wall-length mirror, a weight bench, a
Lava lamp to bug out on, cans of paint stacked in the corner, a large Metropolitan Transportation
Authority (MTA) sticker on the side of the refrigerator. The buzzer to his apartment lists a false name; his
phone number is unlisted to avoid law-enforcement representatives as well as conflicts with other writers.
While JA and one of his writing partners, JD, and I are discussing their apprehension about this story,
JD, offering up a maxim from the graffiti life, tells me matter-of-factly, "You wouldn&#39;t fuck us over, we
know where you live."
At JA&#39;s apartment we look through photos. There are hundreds of pictures of writers inside
out-of-service subway cars that they&#39;ve just covered completely with their tags, pictures of writers
wearing orange safety vests -- to impersonate transit workers -- and walking subway tracks, pictures of
detectives and transit workers inspecting graffiti that JA and crew put up the previous night, pictures of
stylized JA &#39;throw-ups&#39; large, bubble-lettered logos written 15 feet up and 50 times across a highway
retaining wall. Picture after picture of JA&#39;s on trains, JA&#39;s on trucks, on store gates, bridges, rooftops,
billboards -- all labeled, claimed and recorded on film.
JA comes from a well-to-do family; his parents are divorced; his father holds a high-profile position in the
entertainment industry. JA is aware that in some people&#39;s minds this last fact calls into question his street
legitimacy, and he has put a great deal of effort into resisting the correlation between privileged and soft.
He estimates he has been arrested 15 times for various crimes. He doesn&#39;t have a job, and it&#39;s unclear
how he supports himself. Every time we&#39;ve been together, he&#39;s been high or going to get high. Once he
called me from Rikers Island prison, where he was serving a couple of months for disorderly conduct
and a probation violation. He said some of the inmates saw him tagging in a notebook and asked him to
do tattoos for them.
It sounds right. Wherever he is, JA dominates his surroundings. With his crew, he picks the spots to hit,
the stores to rack from; he controls the mission. He gives directions in the car, plans the activities, sets
the mood. And he takes everything a step further than the people he&#39;s with. He climbs higher, stays
awake longer, sucks deepest on the blunt, writes the most graffiti. And though he&#39;s respected by other
writers for testing the limits -- he has been described to me by other writers as a king and, by way of
compliment, as "the sickest guy I ever met" -- that same recklessness sometimes alienates him from the
majority who don&#39;t have such a huge appetite for chaos, adrenaline, self-destruction.
When I ask a city detective who specializes in combating graffiti if there are any particularly well-known
writers, he immediately mentions JA and adds with a bit of pride in his voice, "We know each other." He
calls JA the "biggest graffiti writer of all time" (though the detective would prefer that I didn&#39;t mention that,
because it&#39;ll only encourage JA). "He&#39;s probably got the most throw-ups in the city, in the country, in the
world," the detective says. "If the average big-time graffiti vandal has 10,000 tags, JA&#39;s got 100,000.
He&#39;s probably done -- in New York City alone -- at least &#036;5 million worth of damage."
AT ABOUT 3 A.M., JA AND TWO OTHER WRITERS go out to hit a billboard off the West Side
Highway in Harlem. Tonight there are SET, a 21-year-old white writer from Queens, N.Y., and JD, a
black Latino writer the same age, also from Queens. They load their backpacks with racked cans of
Rustoleum, fat cap nozzles, heavy 2-foot industrial bolt cutters and surgical gloves. We pile into a car and
start driving, Schooly D blasting on the radio. First a stop at a deli where JA and SET go in and steal
beer. Then we drive around Harlem trying a number of different dope spots, keeping an eye out for
"berries" -- police cars. JA tosses a finished 40-ounce out the window in a high arc, and it smashes on
the street.
At different points, JA gets out of the car and casually walks the streets and into buildings, looking for
dealers. A good part of the graffiti life involves walking anywhere in the city, at any time, and not being
afraid -- or being afraid and doing it anyway.
We arrive at a spot where JA has tagged the dealer&#39;s name on a wall in his territory. The three writers
buy a vial of crack and a vial of angel dust and combine them ("spacebase") in a hollowed-out Phillies
blunt. JD tells me that "certain drugs will enhance your bombing," citing dust for courage and strength
("bionics"). They&#39;ve also bombed on mescaline, Valium, marijuana, crack and malt liquor. SET tells a
story of climbing highway poles with a spray can at 6 a.m., "all Xanaxed out."
While JD is preparing the blunt, JA walks across the street with a spray can and throws up all three of
their tags in 4-foot-high bubbled, connected letters. In the corner, he writes my name.
We then drive to a waterfront area at the edge of the city -- a deserted site with warehouses, railroad
tracks and patches of urban wilderness dotted with high-rise billboards. All three writers are now high,
and we sit on a curb outside the car smoking cigarettes. From a distance we can see a group of men
milling around a parked car near a loading dock that we have to pass. This provokes 30 minutes of
obsessive speculation, a stoned stakeout with play by play:
"Dude, they&#39;re writers," says SET. "Let&#39;s go down and check them out," says JD. "Wait, let&#39;s see what
they write," says JA. "Yo -- they&#39;re going into the trunk," says SET. "Cans, dude, they&#39;re going for their
cans. Dude, they&#39;re writers. "There could be beef, possible beef," says JA. "Can we confirm cans, do we
see cans?" SET wants to know. Yes, they do have cans," SET answers for himself. "There are cans.
They are writers." It turns out that the men are thieves, part of a group robbing a nearby truck. In a few
moments guards appear with flashlights and at least one drawn gun. The thieves scatter as guard dogs fan
out around the area, barking crazily.
We wait this out a bit until JA announces, "It&#39;s on." Hood pulled up on his head, he leads us creeping
through the woods (which for JA has become the cinematic jungles of Nam). It&#39;s stop and go, JA
crawling on his stomach, unnecessarily close to one of the guards who&#39;s searching nearby. We pass
through graffiti-covered tunnels (with the requisite cinematic drip drip), over crumbling stairs overgrown
with weeds and brush, along dark, heavily littered trails used by crackheads.
We get near the billboard, and JA uses the bolt cutters to cut holes in two chain-link fences. We crawl
through and walk along the railroad tracks until we get to the base of the sign. JA, with his backpack on,
climbs about 40 feet on a thin piece of metal pipe attached to the main pillar. JD, after a few failed
attempts, follows with the bolt cutters shoved down his pants and passes them to JA. Hanging in midair,
his legs wrapped around a small piece of ladder, JA cuts the padlock and opens up the hatch to the
catwalk. He then lowers his arm to JD, who is wrapped around the pole just below him, struggling. "J,
give me your hand, "I&#39;ll pull you up," JA tells him. JD hesitates. He is reluctant to let go and continues
treadmilling on the pole, trying to make it up. JD, give me your hand." JD doesn&#39;t want to refuse, but he&#39;s
uncomfortable entrusting his life to JA. He won&#39;t let go of the pole. JA says it again, firmly, calmly, utterly
confident: "J give me your hand." JD&#39;s arm reaches up, and JA pulls JD up onto the catwalk. Next, SET,
the frailest of the three, follows unsteadily. They&#39;ve called down and offered to put up his tag, but he
insists on going up. "Dude, fuck that, I&#39;m down," he says. I look away while he makes his way up, sure
that he&#39;s going to fall (he almost does twice). The three have developed a set pattern for dividing the
labor when they&#39;re "blowing up," one writer outlining, another working behind him, filling in. For 40
minutes I watch them working furiously, throwing shadows as they cover ads for Parliament and Amtrak
with large multicolored throw-ups SET and JD bickering about space, JA scolding them, tossing down
empty cans.
They risk their lives again climbing down. Parts of their faces are covered in paint, and their eyes beam as
all three stare at the billboard, asking, "Isn&#39;t it beautiful?&#39; And there is something intoxicating about seeing
such an inaccessible, clean object gotten to and made gaudy. We get in the car and drive the West Side
Highway northbound and then southbound so they can critique their work. "Damn, I should&#39;ve used the
white," JD says.
The next day both billboards are newly re-covered, all the graffiti gone. JA tells me the three went back
earlier to get pictures and made small talk with the workers who were cleaning it off.
GRAFFITI HAS BEEN THROUGH A NUMBER OF incarnations since it surfaced in New York in
the early 70s with a Greek teen-ager named Taki 183. It developed from the straightforward writing of a
name to highly stylized, seemingly illegible tags (a kind of penmanship slang) to wild-style throw-ups and
elaborate (master) "pieces" and character art. There has been racist graffiti political writing, drug
advertising, gang graffiti. There is an art-graf scene from which Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiac,
LEE, Futura 2000, Lady Pink and others emerged; aerosol advertising; techno graffiti written into
computer programs; anti-billboard graffiti; stickers; and stencil writing. There are art students doing street
work in San Francisco ("nonpermissional public art"); mural work in underground tunnels in New York;
gallery shows from Colorado to New Jersey; all-day Graffiti-a-Thons; and there are graffiti artists
lecturing art classes at universities. Graffiti has become part of urban culture, hip-hop culture and
commercial culture, has spread to the suburbs and can be found in the backwoods of California&#39;s
national forests. There are graffiti magazines, graffiti stores, commissioned walls, walls of fame and a
video series available (Out to bomb) documenting writers going out on graffiti missions, complete with
soundtrack. Graffiti was celebrated as a metaphor in the 70s (Norman Mailer&#39;s "The Faith of Graffiti"); it
went Hollywood in the &#39;80s (Beat Street, Turk 182&#33;, Wild Style); and in the &#39;90s it has been increasingly
used to memorialize the inner-city dead.
But as much as graffiti has found acceptance, it has been vilified a hundred times more. Writers are now
being charged with felonies and given lengthy jail terms -- a 15-year-old in California was recently
sentenced to eight years in a juvenile detention center. Writers have been given up to 1000 hours of
community service and forced to undergo years of psychological counseling; their parents have been hit
with civil suits. In California a graffiti writer&#39;s driver&#39;s license can be revoked for a year; high-school
diplomas and transcripts can also be withheld until parents make restitution. In some cities property
owners who fail to remove graffiti from their property are subject to fines and possible jail time. Last
spring in St. Louis, Cincinnati, San Antonio and Sacramento, Calif., politicians proposed legislation to
cane graffiti writers (four to 10 hits with a wooden paddle, administered by parents or by a bailiff in a
public courtroom). Across the nation, legislation has been passed making it illegal to sell spray paint and
wide-tipped markers to anyone under 18, and often the materials must be kept locked up in the stores.
Several cities have tried to ban the sales altogether, license sellers of spray paint and require customers to
give their name and address when purchasing paint. In New York some hardware-store owners will give
a surveillance photo of anyone buying a large quantity of spray cans to the police. In Chicago people
have been charged with possession of paint. In San Jose, Calif., undercover police officers ran a sting
operation -- posing as filmmakers working on a graffiti documentary -- and arrested 31 writers.
Hidden cameras, motion detectors, laser removal, specially developed chemical coatings, night goggles,
razor wire, guard dogs, a National Graffiti Information Network, graffiti hot lines, bounties paid to
informers -- one estimate is that it costs &#036;4 billion a year nationally to clean graffiti -- all in an effort to
stop those who "visually laugh in the face of communities," as a Wall Street Journal editorial raged.
The popular perception is that since the late 1980s when New York&#39;s Metropolitan Transit Authority
adopted a zero tolerance toward subway graffiti (the MTA either cleaned or destroyed more than 6,000
graffiti-covered subway cars, immediately pulling a train out of service if any graffiti appeared on it),
graffiti culture had died in the place of its birth. According to many graffiti writers, however, the MTA, in
its attempt to kill graffiti, only succeeded in bringing it out of the tunnels and train yards and making it
angry. Or as Jeff Ferrell, a criminologist who has chronicled the Denver graffiti scene, theorizes, the
authorities&#39; crackdown moved graffiti writing from subculture to counterculture. The work on the trains
no longer ran, so writers started hitting the streets. Out in the open they had to work faster and more
often. The artistry started to matter less and less. Throw-ups, small cryptic tags done in marker and even
the straightforward writing of a name became the dominant imagery. What mattered was quantity
("making noise"), whether the writer had heart, was true to the game, was "real." And the graffiti world
started to attract more and more people who weren&#39;t looking for an alternative art canvas but simply
wanted to be connected to an outlaw community, to a venerable street tradition that allowed the
opportunity to advertise their defiance. "It&#39;s that I&#39;m doing it that I get my rush, not by everyone seeing it,"
says JA. "Yeah, that&#39;s nice, but if that&#39;s all that&#39;s gonna motivate you to do it, you&#39;re gonna stop writing.
That&#39;s what happened to a lot of writers." JD tells me: "We&#39;re just putting it in their faces; it&#39;s like &#39;Yo,
you gotta put up with it.&#39;"
Newspapers have now settled on the term "graffiti vandal" rather than "artist" or "writer." Graffiti writers
casually refer to their work as doing destruction." In recent years graffiti has become more and more
about beefs and wars, about "fucking up the MTA," "fucking up the city."
Writers started taking a jock attitude toward getting up frequently and tagging in hard-to-reach places,
adopting a machismo toward going over other writers&#39; work and defending their own ("If you can write,
you can fight"). Whereas graffiti writing was once considered an alternative to the street, now it imports
drugs, violence, weapons and theft from that world -- the romance of the criminal deviant rather than the
artistic deviant. In New York today, one police source estimates there are approximately 100,000
people involved in a variety of types of graffiti writing. The police have caught writers as young as 8 and
as old as 42. And there&#39;s a small group of hard-core writers who are getting older who either wrote
when graffiti was in its prime or long for the days when it was, those who write out of compulsion, for
each other and for the authorities who try to combat graffiti, writers who haven&#39;t found anything in their
lives substantial or hype enough to replace graffiti writing.
The writers in their 20s come mostly from working-class families and have limited prospects and
ambitions for the future. SET works in a drugstore and has taken lithium and Prozac for occasional
depression; JD dropped out of high school and is unemployed, last working as a messenger, where he
met JA. They spend their nights driving 80 miles an hour down city highways, balancing 40-ounce bottles
of Old English 800 between their legs, smoking blunts and crack-laced cigarettes called coolies, always
playing with the radio. They reminisce endlessly about the past, when graf was real, when graf ran on the
trains, and they swap stories about who&#39;s doing what on the scene. The talk is a combo platter of Spicoli,
homeboy, New Age jock and eighth grade: The dude is a fuckin&#39; total turd. . . . I definitely would&#39;ve
gotten waxed. . . . It&#39;s like some bogus job. . . . I&#39;m amped, I&#39;m Audi, you buggin . . . You gotta be there
fully, go all out, focus. . . . Dudes have bitten off SET, he&#39;s got toys jockin&#39; him. . . .
They carry beepers, sometimes guns, go upstate or to Long Island to "prey on the hicks" and to rack
cans of spray paint. They talk about upcoming court cases and probation, about quitting, getting their
lives together, even as they plan new spots to hit, practice their style by writing on the walls of their
apartments, on boxes of food, on any stray piece of paper (younger writers practice on school
notebooks that teachers have been known to confiscate and turn over to the police). They call graffiti a
"social tool" and "some kind of ill form of communication," refer to every writer no matter his age as
"kid." Talk in the graffiti life vacillates between banality and mythology, much like the activity itself: hours
of drudgery, hanging out, waiting, interrupted by brief episodes of exhilaration. JD, echoing a common
refrain, says, "Graffiti writers are like bitches: a lot of lying, a lot of talking, a lot of gossip." They don&#39;t
like tagging with girls ("cuties," or if they use drugs, "zooties") around because all they say is (in a whiny
voice), You&#39;re crazy. . . . Write my name."
WHEN JA TALKS ABOUT GRAFFITI, HE&#39;S reluctant to offer up any of the media-ready cliches
about the culture (and he knows most of them). He&#39;s more inclined to say, "Fuck the graffiti world," and
scoff at graf shops, videos, conventions and &#39;zines. But he can be sentimental about how he began --
riding the No. 1, 2 and 3 trains when he was young, bugging out on the graffiti-covered cars, asking
himself, "How did they do that? Who are they?" And he&#39;ll respectfully invoke the names of long-gone
writers he admired when he was just starting out: SKEME, ZEPHYR, REVOLT, MIN.
JA, typical of the new school, primarily bombs, covering wide areas with throw-ups. He treats graffiti
less as an art form than as an athletic competition, concentrating on getting his tag in difficult-to-reach
places, focusing on quantity and working in defiance of an aesthetic that demands that public property be
kept clean. (Writers almost exclusively hit public or commercial property.)
And when JA is not being cynical, he can talk for hours about the technique, the plotting, the logistics of
the game like "motion bombing" by clockwork a carefully scoped subway train that he knows has to stop
for a set time, at a set place, when it gets a certain signal in the tunnels. He says, "To me, the challenge
that graffiti poses, there&#39;s something very invigorating and freeing about it, something almost spiritual.
There&#39;s a kind of euphoria, more than any kind of drug or sex can give you, give me . . . for real."
JA says he wants to quit, and he talks about doing it as if he were in a 12-step program. "How a person
in recovery takes it one day a time, that&#39;s how I gotta take it," he says. You get burnt out. There&#39;s pretty
much nothing more the city can throw at me; it&#39;s all been done." But then he&#39;ll hear about a yard full of
clean sanitation trucks, the upcoming Puerto Rican Day Parade (a reason to bomb Fifth Avenue) or a
billboard in an isolated area; or it&#39;ll be 3 a.m., he&#39;ll be stoned, driving around or sitting in the living room,
playing NBA Jam, and someone will say it: "Yo, I got a couple of cans in the trunk. . . ." REAS, an
old-school writer of 12 years who, after a struggle and a number of relapses, eventually quit the life, says,
"Graffiti can become like a hole you&#39;re stuck in; it can just keep on going and going, there&#39;s always
another spot to write on."
SAST is in his late 20s and calls himself semiretired after 13 years in the graf scene. He still carries
around a marker with him wherever he goes and cops little STONE tags (when he&#39;s high, he writes,
STONED). He&#39;s driving JA and me around the city one night, showing me different objects they&#39;ve
tagged, returning again and again to drug spots to buy dust and crack, smoking, with the radio blasting;
he&#39;s telling war stories about JA jumping onto moving trains, JA hanging off the outside of a speeding
four-wheel drive. SAST is driving at top speed, cutting in between cars, tailgating, swerving. A number
of times as we&#39;re racing down the highway, I ask him if he could slow down. He smiles, asks if I&#39;m
scared, tells me not to worry, that he&#39;s a more cautious driver when he&#39;s dusted. At one point on the
FDR, a car cuts in front of us. JA decides to have some fun.
"Yo, he burnt you, SAST," JA says. We start to pick up speed. Yo, SAST, he dissed you, he cold
dissed you, SAST." SAST is buying it, the look on his face becoming more determined as we go 70, 80,
90 miles an hour, hugging the divider, flying between cars. I turn to JA, who&#39;s in the back seat, and I try
to get him to stop. JA ignores me, sitting back perfectly relaxed, smiling, urging SAST to go faster and
faster, getting off, my fear adding to his rush.
At around 4 a.m., SAST drops us off on the middle of the Manhattan Bridge and leaves. JA wants to
show me a throw-up he did the week before. We climb over the divider from the roadway to the
subway tracks. JA explains that we have to cross the north and the southbound tracks to get to the outer
part of the bridge. In between there are a number of large gaps and two electrified third rails, and we&#39;re
135 feet above the East River. As we&#39;re standing on the tracks, we hear the sound of an oncoming train.
JA tells me to hide, to crouch down in the V where two diagonal braces meet just beside the tracks.
I climb into position, holding on to the metal beams, head down, looking at the water as the train slams
by the side of my body. This happens twice more. Eventually, I cross over to the outer edge of the
bridge, which is under construction, and JA points out his tag about 40 feet above on what looks like a
crow&#39;s-nest on a support pillar. After a few moments of admiring the view, stepping carefully around the
many opportunities to fall, JA hands me his cigarettes and keys. He starts crawling up one of the braces
on the side of the bridge, disappears within the structure for a moment, emerges and makes his way to an
electrical box on a pillar. Then he snakes his way up the piping and grabs on to a curved support. Using
only his hands he starts to shimmy up; at one point he&#39;s hanging almost completely upside down. If he
falls now, he&#39;ll land backward onto one of the tiers and drop into the river below. He continues to pull
himself up, the old paint breaking off in his hands, and finally he flips his body over a railing to get to the
spot where he tagged. He doesn&#39;t have a can or a marker with him, and at this point graffiti seems
incidental. He comes down and tells me that when he did the original tag he was with two writers; one he
half carried up, the other stopped at a certain point and later told JA that watching him do that tag made
him appreciate life, being alive.
We walk for 10 minutes along a narrow, grooved catwalk on the side of the tracks; a thin wire cable
prevents a fall into the river. A few times, looking down through the grooves, I have to stop, force myself
to take the next step straight ahead, shake off the vertigo. JA is practically jogging ahead of me. We exit
the bridge into Chinatown as the sun comes up and go to eat breakfast. JA tells me he&#39;s a vegetarian.
IF YOU TALK TO SERIOUS GRAFFITI writers, most of them will echo the same themes; they decry
the commercialization of graf, condemn the toys and poseurs and alternately hate and feel attached to the
authorities who try to stop them. They say with equal parts bravado and self-deprecation that a graffiti
writer is a bum, a criminal, a vandal, slick, sick, obsessed, sneaky, street-smart, living on edges figurative
and literal. They show and catalog cuts and scars on their bodies from razor wire, pieces of metal,
knives, box cutters. I once casually asked a writer named GHOST if he knew another writer whose
work I had seen in a graf&#39;zine. "Yeah, I know him, he stabbed me," GHOST replies matter-of-factly.
"We&#39;ve still got beef." SET tells me he was caught by two DTs (detectives) who assaulted him, took his
cans of paint and sprayed his body and face. JA tells similar stories of police beatings for his making
officers run after him, of cops making him empty his spray cans on his sneakers or on the back of a
fellow writer&#39;s jacket. JD has had 48 stitches in his back and 18 in his head over "graffiti-related beef."
JA&#39;s best friend and writing partner, SANE SMITH, a legendary all-city writer who was sued by the city
and the MTA for graffiti, was found dead, floating in Jamaica Bay. There&#39;s endless speculation in the
grafworld as to whether he was pushed, fell or jumped off a bridge. SANE is so respected, there are
some writers today who spend time in public libraries reading and rereading the newspaper microfilm
about his death, his arrests, his career. According to JA, after SANE&#39;s death, his brother, SMiTH, also a
respected graffiti artist, found a piece of paper on which SANE had written his and JA&#39;s tag and off to
the side, FLYING HIGH THE XTC WAY. It now hangs on JA&#39;s apartment wall.
One morning, JA and I jump off the end of a subway platform and head into the tunnels. He shows me
hidden rooms, emergency hatches that open to the sidewalk, where to stand when the trains come by.
He tells me about the time SANE lay face down in a shallow drainage ditch on the tracks as an express
train ran inches above him. JA says anytime he was being chased by the police he would run into a
nearby subway station, jump off the platform and run into the tunnels. The police would never follow.
KET, a veteran graffiti writer, tells me how in the tunnels he would accidentally step on homeless people
sleeping. They&#39;d see him tagging and would occasionally ask that he "throw them up," write their names
on the wall. He usually would. Walking in the darkness between the electrified rails as trains race by, JA
tells me the story of two writers he had beef with who came into the tunnels to cross out his tags. Where
the cross-outs stop is where they were killed by an approaching train.
The last time I go out with JA, SET and JD, they pick me up at around 2 am. We drive down to the
Lower East Side to hit a yard where about 60 trucks and vans are parked next to one another. Every
vehicle is already covered with throw-ups and tags, but the three start to write anyway, JA in a near
frenzy. They&#39;re running in between the rows, crawling under trucks, jumping from roof to roof, wedged
down in between the trailers, engulfed in nauseating clouds of paint fumes (the writers sometimes blow
multicolored mucous out of their noses), going over some writers&#39; tags, respecting others, JA throwing up
SANE&#39;s name, searching for any little piece of clean space to write on. JA, who had once again been
talking about retirement, is now hungry to write and wants to hit another spot. But JD doesn&#39;t have any
paint, SET needs gas money for his car, and they have to drive upstate the next morning to appear in
court for a paint-theft charge.
During the ride back uptown the car is mostly quiet, the mood depressed. And even when the three were
in the truck yard, even when JA was at his most intense, it seemed closer to work, routine, habit. There
are moments like this when they seem genuinely worn out by the constant stress, the danger, the legal
problems, the drugging, the fighting, the obligation to always hit another spot. And it&#39;s usually when the
day is starting.
About a week later I get a call from another writer whom JA had told I was writing an article on graffiti.
He tells me he has never been king, never gone all city, but now he is making a comeback, coming out of
retirement with a new tag. He says he could do it easily today because there is no real competition. He
says he was thinking about trying to make some money off of graffiti -- galleries. canvases, whatever . . .
to get paid.
"I gotta do something," the writer says. "I can&#39;t rap, I can&#39;t dance, I got this silly little job." We talk more,
and he tells me he appreciates that I&#39;m writing about writers, trying to get inside the head of a vandal,
telling the real deal. He also tells me that graffiti is dying, that the city is buffing it, that new writers are all
toys and are letting it die, but it&#39;s still worth it to write.
I ask why, and then comes the inevitable justification that every writer has to believe and take pleasure in,
the idea that order will always have to play catch-up with them. "It takes me seconds to do a quick
throw-up; it takes them like 10 minutes to clean it," he says. "Who&#39;s coming out on top?"

KEVIN HELDMAN lives in New York. This is his first piece for "Rolling Stone." (ROLLING STONE,FEB 9,1995)

Iamyourrealfatherbitchnigga
12-24-2005, 05:36 PM
Thanks alot man, I read that nearly every time before i go on a bombing mission, and someone deleted it on my comp.

.A.K.4.7.
12-24-2005, 05:40 PM
Its a long but dope read about the realest of graffiti bombers

Ravek
12-24-2005, 06:33 PM
i stepped on the 3rd rail once, i lost my virginity, jeloe is deop but i didnt feel like reading it jeloe aka geso

YANKNY-718
12-25-2005, 02:39 AM
THANKS FOR ALL THAT MAN

VAbomber
12-25-2005, 03:01 AM
nice, but long :P

any
12-25-2005, 07:15 AM
fuckin crazy, loved that article haha

screw_loose
12-29-2005, 12:32 AM
Originally posted by &#045;AbSrD@Dec 23 2005, 07:06 PM
fuckin nuts&#33;
nucking futs&#33;

_spetznaz
01-23-2006, 12:14 PM
Good stuff. very enlightening to a noob like me :)

MAGNUM WARLOCK
02-08-2006, 07:36 PM
GESO



1. L-L: What crew(s) do you paint for and what are the underlying meanings of the acronym(s)?
GESO: PVC=PRO VANDALS CREW IBD=INFECTED BY DEVILS.

2. L-L: Who influenced you the most coming up?
GESO: GREY,AMAZE,SENTO,PHABLE,MQUE,VEEFER...OTHER OLDER WRITERS.

3. L-L: How long have you been active?
GESO: 93 SO 10 YEARS.

4. L-L: Did you write any other names previously?
GESO: YEAH BUT WE ALL GO THROUGH THAT PHASE.

5. L-L: Any meaning behind the name?
GESO: NO.

6. L-L: Rack or Buy?
GESO: THATS A GIVEN...

7. L-L: What is your preferred brand of paint?
GESO: RUSTO AMERICAN ACCENTS, PLASTI-COAT.

8. L-L: What is your favorite surface to paint?
GESO: ANYTHING, I DONT CARE WHAT THE FUCK IT IS&#33;

9. L-L: Do you prefer painting solo or with others?
GESO: I LIKE ME , AND ANOTHER.

10. L-L: Do you wear a mask?
GESO: YES, I WEAR AN E.T. MASK.

11. L-L: Do you track your freights?
GESO: NO,ONLY FR8 NERD FUCKS DO THAT, IM NOT GONNA WASTE MY TIME DOING THAT STUPID SHIT&#33;

12. L-L: About how many freights have you painted?
GESO: NO FUCKING CLUE..

13. L-L: What&#39;s your favorite part of the country to paint in?
GESO: WHERE THE BEER FLOWS LIKE WINE.

14. L-L: Do you see a difference in East and West coast styles/attitude?
GESO: YES I DO.EADT COAST SEEMS MORE DOWN FOR BOMBING AND WEST SEEMS MORE INTO DOING PEICES AND BOMBING AND THERES ALOT FUCKING PUSSIES OUT HERE EXCEPT FOR A FEW PEOPLE THAT ARE DOWN.

15. L-L: Have you ever been bagged for graffiti?
GESO: YES.

16. L-L: What do you think about the documentation of graffiti on the web?
GESO: WHAT EVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT, ITS COOL TO SEE YOUR SHIT ON THERE BUT I DONT HAVE THE PANTIENTS FOR ALL OF THAT

17. L-L: What is your current occupation?
GESO: PRO THIEF

18. L-L: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
GESO: RICH AS FUCK OR IN PRISION.

19. L-L: Any graff goals for 2004?
GESO: START DOING DOPER PEICES AND START BEATING UP WACK WRITERS.

20. L-L: If there was one spot you could hit without getting bagged, where would it be and why?
GESO: YOUR MOMS HOUSE&#33;

MAGNUM WARLOCK
02-08-2006, 07:38 PM
JA



THE FIRST TIME I meet JA, he skates up to me wearing Rollerblades, his cap played backward, on a street corner in Manhattan at around midnight. He&#39;s white, 24 years old, with a short, muscular build and a blond crew cut. He has been writing graffiti off and on in New York for almost 10 years and is the founder of a loosely affiliated crew called XTC. His hands, arms, legs and scalp show a variety of scars from nightsticks, razor wire, fists and sharp, jagged things he has climbed up, on or over. He has been beaten by the police -- a "wood shampoo," he calls it -- has been shot at, has fallen off a highway sign into moving traffic, has run naked through train yards tagging, has been chased down highways by rival writers wielding golf clubs and has risked his life innumerable times writing graffiti -- bombing, getting up.

JA lives alone in a one-bedroom apartment. There&#39;s graffiti on a wall-length mirror, a weight bench, a Lava lamp to bug out on, cans of paint stacked in the corner, a large Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) sticker on the side of the refrigerator. The buzzer to his apartment lists a false name; his phone number is unlisted to avoid law-enforcement representatives as well as conflicts with other writers. While JA and one of his writing partners, JD, and I are discussing their apprehension about this story, JD, offering up a maxim from the graffiti life, tells me matter-of-factly, "You wouldn&#39;t fuck us over, we know where you live."

At JA&#39;s apartment we look through photos. There are hundreds of pictures of writers inside out-of-service subway cars that they&#39;ve just covered completely with their tags, pictures of writers wearing orange safety vests -- to impersonate transit workers -- and walking subway tracks, pictures of detectives and transit workers inspecting graffiti that JA and crew put up the previous night, pictures of stylized JA &#39;throw-ups&#39; large, bubble-lettered logos written 15 feet up and 50 times across a highway retaining wall. Picture after picture of JA&#39;s on trains, JA&#39;s on trucks, on store gates, bridges, rooftops, billboards -- all labeled, claimed and recorded on film.

JA comes from a well-to-do family; his parents are divorced; his father holds a high-profile position in the entertainment industry. JA is aware that in some people&#39;s minds this last fact calls into question his street legitimacy, and he has put a great deal of effort into resisting the correlation between privileged and soft. He estimates he has been arrested 15 times for various crimes. He doesn&#39;t have a job, and it&#39;s unclear how he supports himself. Every time we&#39;ve been together, he&#39;s been high or going to get high. Once he called me from Rikers Island prison, where he was serving a couple of months for disorderly conduct and a probation violation. He said some of the inmates saw him tagging in a notebook and asked him to do tattoos for them.

It sounds right. Wherever he is, JA dominates his surroundings. With his crew, he picks the spots to hit, the stores to rack from; he controls the mission. He gives directions in the car, plans the activities, sets the mood. And he takes everything a step further than the people he&#39;s with. He climbs higher, stays awake longer, sucks deepest on the blunt, writes the most graffiti. And though he&#39;s respected by other writers for testing the limits -- he has been described to me by other writers as a king and, by way of compliment, as "the sickest guy I ever met" -- that same recklessness sometimes alienates him from the majority who don&#39;t have such a huge appetite for chaos, adrenaline, self-destruction.

When I ask a city detective who specializes in combating graffiti if there are any particularly well-known writers, he immediately mentions JA and adds with a bit of pride in his voice, "We know each other." He calls JA the "biggest graffiti writer of all time" (though the detective would prefer that I didn&#39;t mention that, because it&#39;ll only encourage JA). "He&#39;s probably got the most throw-ups in the city, in the country, in the world," the detective says. "If the average big-time graffiti vandal has 10,000 tags, JA&#39;s got 100,000. He&#39;s probably done -- in New York City alone -- at least &#036;5 million worth of damage."

AT ABOUT 3 A.M., JA AND TWO OTHER WRITERS go out to hit a billboard off the West Side Highway in Harlem. Tonight there are SET, a 21-year-old white writer from Queens, N.Y., and JD, a black Latino writer the same age, also from Queens. They load their backpacks with racked cans of Rustoleum, fat cap nozzles, heavy 2-foot industrial bolt cutters and surgical gloves. We pile into a car and start driving, Schooly D blasting on the radio. First a stop at a deli where JA and SET go in and steal beer. Then we drive around Harlem trying a number of different dope spots, keeping an eye out for "berries" -- police cars. JA tosses a finished 40-ounce out the window in a high arc, and it smashes on the street.

At different points, JA gets out of the car and casually walks the streets and into buildings, looking for dealers. A good part of the graffiti life involves walking anywhere in the city, at any time, and not being afraid -- or being afraid and doing it anyway.

We arrive at a spot where JA has tagged the dealer&#39;s name on a wall in his territory. The three writers buy a vial of crack and a vial of angel dust and combine them ("spacebase") in a hollowed-out Phillies blunt. JD tells me that "certain drugs will enhance your bombing," citing dust for courage and strength ("bionics"). They&#39;ve also bombed on mescaline, Valium, marijuana, crack and malt liquor. SET tells a story of climbing highway poles with a spray can at 6 a.m., "all Xanaxed out."

While JD is preparing the blunt, JA walks across the street with a spray can and throws up all three of their tags in 4-foot-high bubbled, connected letters. In the corner, he writes my name.

We then drive to a waterfront area at the edge of the city -- a deserted site with warehouses, railroad tracks and patches of urban wilderness dotted with high-rise billboards. All three writers are now high, and we sit on a curb outside the car smoking cigarettes. From a distance we can see a group of men milling around a parked car near a loading dock that we have to pass. This provokes 30 minutes of obsessive speculation, a stoned stakeout with play by play:

"Dude, they&#39;re writers," says SET. "Let&#39;s go down and check them out," says JD. "Wait, let&#39;s see what they write," says JA. "Yo -- they&#39;re going into the trunk," says SET. "Cans, dude, they&#39;re going for their cans. Dude, they&#39;re writers. "There could be beef, possible beef," says JA. "Can we confirm cans, do we see cans?" SET wants to know. Yes, they do have cans," SET answers for himself. "There are cans. They are writers." It turns out that the men are thieves, part of a group robbing a nearby truck. In a few moments guards appear with flashlights and at least one drawn gun. The thieves scatter as guard dogs fan out around the area, barking crazily.

We wait this out a bit until JA announces, "It&#39;s on." Hood pulled up on his head, he leads us creeping through the woods (which for JA has become the cinematic jungles of Nam). It&#39;s stop and go, JA crawling on his stomach, unnecessarily close to one of the guards who&#39;s searching nearby. We pass through graffiti-covered tunnels (with the requisite cinematic drip drip), over crumbling stairs overgrown with weeds and brush, along dark, heavily littered trails used by crackheads.

We get near the billboard, and JA uses the bolt cutters to cut holes in two chain-link fences. We crawl through and walk along the railroad tracks until we get to the base of the sign. JA, with his backpack on, climbs about 40 feet on a thin piece of metal pipe attached to the main pillar. JD, after a few failed attempts, follows with the bolt cutters shoved down his pants and passes them to JA. Hanging in midair, his legs wrapped around a small piece of ladder, JA cuts the padlock and opens up the hatch to the catwalk. He then lowers his arm to JD, who is wrapped around the pole just below him, struggling. "J, give me your hand, "I&#39;ll pull you up," JA tells him. JD hesitates. He is reluctant to let go and continues treadmilling on the pole, trying to make it up. JD, give me your hand." JD doesn&#39;t want to refuse, but he&#39;s uncomfortable entrusting his life to JA. He won&#39;t let go of the pole. JA says it again, firmly, calmly, utterly confident: "J give me your hand." JD&#39;s arm reaches up, and JA pulls JD up onto the catwalk. Next, SET, the frailest of the three, follows unsteadily. They&#39;ve called down and offered to put up his tag, but he insists on going up. "Dude, fuck that, I&#39;m down," he says. I look away while he makes his way up, sure that he&#39;s going to fall (he almost does twice). The three have developed a set pattern for dividing the labor when they&#39;re "blowing up," one writer outlining, another working behind him, filling in. For 40 minutes I watch them working furiously, throwing shadows as they cover ads for Parliament and Amtrak with large multicolored throw-ups SET and JD bickering about space, JA scolding them, tossing down empty cans.

They risk their lives again climbing down. Parts of their faces are covered in paint, and their eyes beam as all three stare at the billboard, asking, "Isn&#39;t it beautiful?&#39; And there is something intoxicating about seeing such an inaccessible, clean object gotten to and made gaudy. We get in the car and drive the West Side Highway northbound and then southbound so they can critique their work. "Damn, I should&#39;ve used the white," JD says.

The next day both billboards are newly re-covered, all the graffiti gone. JA tells me the three went back earlier to get pictures and made small talk with the workers who were cleaning it off.

GRAFFITI HAS BEEN THROUGH A NUMBER OF incarnations since it surfaced in New York in the early 70s with a Greek teen-ager named Taki 183. It developed from the straightforward writing of a name to highly stylized, seemingly illegible tags (a kind of penmanship slang) to wild-style throw-ups and elaborate (master) "pieces" and character art. There has been racist graffiti political writing, drug advertising, gang graffiti. There is an art-graf scene from which Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiac, LEE, Futura 2000, Lady Pink and others emerged; aerosol advertising; techno graffiti written into computer programs; anti-billboard graffiti; stickers; and stencil writing. There are art students doing street work in San Francisco ("nonpermissional public art"); mural work in underground tunnels in New York; gallery shows from Colorado to New Jersey; all-day Graffiti-a-Thons; and there are graffiti artists lecturing art classes at universities. Graffiti has become part of urban culture, hip-hop culture and commercial culture, has spread to the suburbs and can be found in the backwoods of California&#39;s national forests. There are graffiti magazines, graffiti stores, commissioned walls, walls of fame and a video series available (Out to bomb) documenting writers going out on graffiti missions, complete with soundtrack. Graffiti was celebrated as a metaphor in the 70s (Norman Mailer&#39;s "The Faith of Graffiti"); it went Hollywood in the &#39;80s (Beat Street, Turk 182&#33;, Wild Style); and in the &#39;90s it has been increasingly used to memorialize the inner-city dead.

But as much as graffiti has found acceptance, it has been vilified a hundred times more. Writers are now being charged with felonies and given lengthy jail terms -- a 15-year-old in California was recently sentenced to eight years in a juvenile detention center. Writers have been given up to 1000 hours of community service and forced to undergo years of psychological counseling; their parents have been hit with civil suits. In California a graffiti writer&#39;s driver&#39;s license can be revoked for a year; high-school diplomas and transcripts can also be withheld until parents make restitution. In some cities property owners who fail to remove graffiti from their property are subject to fines and possible jail time. Last spring in St. Louis, Cincinnati, San Antonio and Sacramento, Calif., politicians proposed legislation to cane graffiti writers (four to 10 hits with a wooden paddle, administered by parents or by a bailiff in a public courtroom). Across the nation, legislation has been passed making it illegal to sell spray paint and wide-tipped markers to anyone under 18, and often the materials must be kept locked up in the stores. Several cities have tried to ban the sales altogether, license sellers of spray paint and require customers to give their name and address when purchasing paint. In New York some hardware-store owners will give a surveillance photo of anyone buying a large quantity of spray cans to the police. In Chicago people have been charged with possession of paint. In San Jose, Calif., undercover police officers ran a sting operation -- posing as filmmakers working on a graffiti documentary -- and arrested 31 writers.

Hidden cameras, motion detectors, laser removal, specially developed chemical coatings, night goggles, razor wire, guard dogs, a National Graffiti Information Network, graffiti hot lines, bounties paid to informers -- one estimate is that it costs &#036;4 billion a year nationally to clean graffiti -- all in an effort to stop those who "visually laugh in the face of communities," as a Wall Street Journal editorial raged.

The popular perception is that since the late 1980s when New York&#39;s Metropolitan Transit Authority adopted a zero tolerance toward subway graffiti (the MTA either cleaned or destroyed more than 6,000 graffiti-covered subway cars, immediately pulling a train out of service if any graffiti appeared on it), graffiti culture had died in the place of its birth. According to many graffiti writers, however, the MTA, in its attempt to kill graffiti, only succeeded in bringing it out of the tunnels and train yards and making it angry. Or as Jeff Ferrell, a criminologist who has chronicled the Denver graffiti scene, theorizes, the authorities&#39; crackdown moved graffiti writing from subculture to counterculture. The work on the trains no longer ran, so writers started hitting the streets. Out in the open they had to work faster and more often. The artistry started to matter less and less. Throw-ups, small cryptic tags done in marker and even the straightforward writing of a name became the dominant imagery. What mattered was quantity ("making noise"), whether the writer had heart, was true to the game, was "real." And the graffiti world started to attract more and more people who weren&#39;t looking for an alternative art canvas but simply wanted to be connected to an outlaw community, to a venerable street tradition that allowed the opportunity to advertise their defiance. "It&#39;s that I&#39;m doing it that I get my rush, not by everyone seeing it," says JA. "Yeah, that&#39;s nice, but if that&#39;s all that&#39;s gonna motivate you to do it, you&#39;re gonna stop writing. That&#39;s what happened to a lot of writers." JD tells me: "We&#39;re just putting it in their faces; it&#39;s like &#39;Yo, you gotta put up with it.&#39;"

Newspapers have now settled on the term "graffiti vandal" rather than "artist" or "writer." Graffiti writers casually refer to their work as doing destruction." In recent years graffiti has become more and more about beefs and wars, about "fucking up the MTA," "fucking up the city."

Writers started taking a jock attitude toward getting up frequently and tagging in hard-to-reach places, adopting a machismo toward going over other writers&#39; work and defending their own ("If you can write, you can fight"). Whereas graffiti writing was once considered an alternative to the street, now it imports drugs, violence, weapons and theft from that world -- the romance of the criminal deviant rather than the artistic deviant. In New York today, one police source estimates there are approximately 100,000 people involved in a variety of types of graffiti writing. The police have caught writers as young as 8 and as old as 42. And there&#39;s a small group of hard-core writers who are getting older who either wrote when graffiti was in its prime or long for the days when it was, those who write out of compulsion, for each other and for the authorities who try to combat graffiti, writers who haven&#39;t found anything in their lives substantial or hype enough to replace graffiti writing.

The writers in their 20s come mostly from working-class families and have limited prospects and ambitions for the future. SET works in a drugstore and has taken lithium and Prozac for occasional depression; JD dropped out of high school and is unemployed, last working as a messenger, where he met JA. They spend their nights driving 80 miles an hour down city highways, balancing 40-ounce bottles of Old English 800 between their legs, smoking blunts and crack-laced cigarettes called coolies, always playing with the radio. They reminisce endlessly about the past, when graf was real, when graf ran on the trains, and they swap stories about who&#39;s doing what on the scene. The talk is a combo platter of Spicoli, homeboy, New Age jock and eighth grade: The dude is a fuckin&#39; total turd. . . . I definitely would&#39;ve gotten waxed. . . . It&#39;s like some bogus job. . . . I&#39;m amped, I&#39;m Audi, you buggin . . . You gotta be there fully, go all out, focus. . . . Dudes have bitten off SET, he&#39;s got toys jockin&#39; him. . . .

They carry beepers, sometimes guns, go upstate or to Long Island to "prey on the hicks" and to rack cans of spray paint. They talk about upcoming court cases and probation, about quitting, getting their lives together, even as they plan new spots to hit, practice their style by writing on the walls of their apartments, on boxes of food, on any stray piece of paper (younger writers practice on school notebooks that teachers have been known to confiscate and turn over to the police). They call graffiti a "social tool" and "some kind of ill form of communication," refer to every writer no matter his age as "kid." Talk in the graffiti life vacillates between banality and mythology, much like the activity itself: hours of drudgery, hanging out, waiting, interrupted by brief episodes of exhilaration. JD, echoing a common refrain, says, "Graffiti writers are like bitches: a lot of lying, a lot of talking, a lot of gossip." They don&#39;t like tagging with girls ("cuties," or if they use drugs, "zooties") around because all they say is (in a whiny voice), You&#39;re crazy. . . . Write my name."

WHEN JA TALKS ABOUT GRAFFITI, HE&#39;S reluctant to offer up any of the media-ready cliches about the culture (and he knows most of them). He&#39;s more inclined to say, "Fuck the graffiti world," and scoff at graf shops, videos, conventions and &#39;zines. But he can be sentimental about how he began -- riding the No. 1, 2 and 3 trains when he was young, bugging out on the graffiti-covered cars, asking himself, "How did they do that? Who are they?" And he&#39;ll respectfully invoke the names of long-gone writers he admired when he was just starting out: SKEME, ZEPHYR, REVOLT, MIN.

JA, typical of the new school, primarily bombs, covering wide areas with throw-ups. He treats graffiti less as an art form than as an athletic competition, concentrating on getting his tag in difficult-to-reach places, focusing on quantity and working in defiance of an aesthetic that demands that public property be kept clean. (Writers almost exclusively hit public or commercial property.)

And when JA is not being cynical, he can talk for hours about the technique, the plotting, the logistics of the game like "motion bombing" by clockwork a carefully scoped subway train that he knows has to stop for a set time, at a set place, when it gets a certain signal in the tunnels. He says, "To me, the challenge that graffiti poses, there&#39;s something very invigorating and freeing about it, something almost spiritual. There&#39;s a kind of euphoria, more than any kind of drug or sex can give you, give me . . . for real."

JA says he wants to quit, and he talks about doing it as if he were in a 12-step program. "How a person in recovery takes it one day a time, that&#39;s how I gotta take it," he says. You get burnt out. There&#39;s pretty much nothing more the city can throw at me; it&#39;s all been done." But then he&#39;ll hear about a yard full of clean sanitation trucks, the upcoming Puerto Rican Day Parade (a reason to bomb Fifth Avenue) or a billboard in an isolated area; or it&#39;ll be 3 a.m., he&#39;ll be stoned, driving around or sitting in the living room, playing NBA Jam, and someone will say it: "Yo, I got a couple of cans in the trunk. . . ." REAS, an old-school writer of 12 years who, after a struggle and a number of relapses, eventually quit the life, says, "Graffiti can become like a hole you&#39;re stuck in; it can just keep on going and going, there&#39;s always another spot to write on."

SAST is in his late 20s and calls himself semiretired after 13 years in the graf scene. He still carries around a marker with him wherever he goes and cops little STONE tags (when he&#39;s high, he writes, STONED). He&#39;s driving JA and me around the city one night, showing me different objects they&#39;ve tagged, returning again and again to drug spots to buy dust and crack, smoking, with the radio blasting; he&#39;s telling war stories about JA jumping onto moving trains, JA hanging off the outside of a speeding four-wheel drive. SAST is driving at top speed, cutting in between cars, tailgating, swerving. A number of times as we&#39;re racing down the highway, I ask him if he could slow down. He smiles, asks if I&#39;m scared, tells me not to worry, that he&#39;s a more cautious driver when he&#39;s dusted. At one point on the FDR, a car cuts in front of us. JA decides to have some fun.

"Yo, he burnt you, SAST," JA says. We start to pick up speed. Yo, SAST, he dissed you, he cold dissed you, SAST." SAST is buying it, the look on his face becoming more determined as we go 70, 80, 90 miles an hour, hugging the divider, flying between cars. I turn to JA, who&#39;s in the back seat, and I try to get him to stop. JA ignores me, sitting back perfectly relaxed, smiling, urging SAST to go faster and faster, getting off, my fear adding to his rush.

At around 4 a.m., SAST drops us off on the middle of the Manhattan Bridge and leaves. JA wants to show me a throw-up he did the week before. We climb over the divider from the roadway to the subway tracks. JA explains that we have to cross the north and the southbound tracks to get to the outer part of the bridge. In between there are a number of large gaps and two electrified third rails, and we&#39;re 135 feet above the East River. As we&#39;re standing on the tracks, we hear the sound of an oncoming train. JA tells me to hide, to crouch down in the V where two diagonal braces meet just beside the tracks.

I climb into position, holding on to the metal beams, head down, looking at the water as the train slams by the side of my body. This happens twice more. Eventually, I cross over to the outer edge of the bridge, which is under construction, and JA points out his tag about 40 feet above on what looks like a crow&#39;s-nest on a support pillar. After a few moments of admiring the view, stepping carefully around the many opportunities to fall, JA hands me his cigarettes and keys. He starts crawling up one of the braces on the side of the bridge, disappears within the structure for a moment, emerges and makes his way to an electrical box on a pillar. Then he snakes his way up the piping and grabs on to a curved support. Using only his hands he starts to shimmy up; at one point he&#39;s hanging almost completely upside down. If he falls now, he&#39;ll land backward onto one of the tiers and drop into the river below. He continues to pull himself up, the old paint breaking off in his hands, and finally he flips his body over a railing to get to the spot where he tagged. He doesn&#39;t have a can or a marker with him, and at this point graffiti seems incidental. He comes down and tells me that when he did the original tag he was with two writers; one he half carried up, the other stopped at a certain point and later told JA that watching him do that tag made him appreciate life, being alive.

We walk for 10 minutes along a narrow, grooved catwalk on the side of the tracks; a thin wire cable prevents a fall into the river. A few times, looking down through the grooves, I have to stop, force myself to take the next step straight ahead, shake off the vertigo. JA is practically jogging ahead of me. We exit the bridge into Chinatown as the sun comes up and go to eat breakfast. JA tells me he&#39;s a vegetarian.

IF YOU TALK TO SERIOUS GRAFFITI writers, most of them will echo the same themes; they decry the commercialization of graf, condemn the toys and poseurs and alternately hate and feel attached to the authorities who try to stop them. They say with equal parts bravado and self-deprecation that a graffiti writer is a bum, a criminal, a vandal, slick, sick, obsessed, sneaky, street-smart, living on edges figurative and literal. They show and catalog cuts and scars on their bodies from razor wire, pieces of metal, knives, box cutters. I once casually asked a writer named GHOST if he knew another writer whose work I had seen in a graf&#39;zine. "Yeah, I know him, he stabbed me," GHOST replies matter-of-factly. "We&#39;ve still got beef." SET tells me he was caught by two DTs (detectives) who assaulted him, took his cans of paint and sprayed his body and face. JA tells similar stories of police beatings for his making officers run after him, of cops making him empty his spray cans on his sneakers or on the back of a fellow writer&#39;s jacket. JD has had 48 stitches in his back and 18 in his head over "graffiti-related beef." JA&#39;s best friend and writing partner, SANE SMITH, a legendary all-city writer who was sued by the city and the MTA for graffiti, was found dead, floating in Jamaica Bay. There&#39;s endless speculation in the grafworld as to whether he was pushed, fell or jumped off a bridge. SANE is so respected, there are some writers today who spend time in public libraries reading and rereading the newspaper microfilm about his death, his arrests, his career. According to JA, after SANE&#39;s death, his brother, SMiTH, also a respected graffiti artist, found a piece of paper on which SANE had written his and JA&#39;s tag and off to the side, FLYING HIGH THE XTC WAY. It now hangs on JA&#39;s apartment wall.

One morning, JA and I jump off the end of a subway platform and head into the tunnels. He shows me hidden rooms, emergency hatches that open to the sidewalk, where to stand when the trains come by. He tells me about the time SANE lay face down in a shallow drainage ditch on the tracks as an express train ran inches above him. JA says anytime he was being chased by the police he would run into a nearby subway station, jump off the platform and run into the tunnels. The police would never follow. KET, a veteran graffiti writer, tells me how in the tunnels he would accidentally step on homeless people sleeping. They&#39;d see him tagging and would occasionally ask that he "throw them up," write their names on the wall. He usually would. Walking in the darkness between the electrified rails as trains race by, JA tells me the story of two writers he had beef with who came into the tunnels to cross out his tags. Where the cross-outs stop is where they were killed by an approaching train.

The last time I go out with JA, SET and JD, they pick me up at around 2 am. We drive down to the Lower East Side to hit a yard where about 60 trucks and vans are parked next to one another. Every vehicle is already covered with throw-ups and tags, but the three start to write anyway, JA in a near frenzy. They&#39;re running in between the rows, crawling under trucks, jumping from roof to roof, wedged down in between the trailers, engulfed in nauseating clouds of paint fumes (the writers sometimes blow multicolored mucous out of their noses), going over some writers&#39; tags, respecting others, JA throwing up SANE&#39;s name, searching for any little piece of clean space to write on. JA, who had once again been talking about retirement, is now hungry to write and wants to hit another spot. But JD doesn&#39;t have any paint, SET needs gas money for his car, and they have to drive upstate the next morning to appear in court for a paint-theft charge.

During the ride back uptown the car is mostly quiet, the mood depressed. And even when the three were in the truck yard, even when JA was at his most intense, it seemed closer to work, routine, habit. There are moments like this when they seem genuinely worn out by the constant stress, the danger, the legal problems, the drugging, the fighting, the obligation to always hit another spot. And it&#39;s usually when the day is starting.

About a week later I get a call from another writer whom JA had told I was writing an article on graffiti. He tells me he has never been king, never gone all city, but now he is making a comeback, coming out of retirement with a new tag. He says he could do it easily today because there is no real competition. He says he was thinking about trying to make some money off of graffiti -- galleries. canvases, whatever . . . to get paid.

"I gotta do something," the writer says. "I can&#39;t rap, I can&#39;t dance, I got this silly little job." We talk more, and he tells me he appreciates that I&#39;m writing about writers, trying to get inside the head of a vandal, telling the real deal. He also tells me that graffiti is dying, that the city is buffing it, that new writers are all toys and are letting it die, but it&#39;s still worth it to write.

I ask why, and then comes the inevitable justification that every writer has to believe and take pleasure in, the idea that order will always have to play catch-up with them. "It takes me seconds to do a quick throw-up; it takes them like 10 minutes to clean it," he says. "Who&#39;s coming out on top?"

MAGNUM WARLOCK
02-08-2006, 07:47 PM
BAAL





Its august 1999 my 5th interview leads me to a graffiti writter who goes by the name "BAAL"
we agree to meet at at blimpies restaurant in manhattan, 15 minutes pass the time we agreed
to meet when a white male with a slim muscular build looking in his early to mid 20`s approaches me with 4 other individuals."hi im baal" he says, he is clearly intoxicated this detured me from conducting the interview but after being reashured several times that he was ok and ready i decided to proceed.



JOHNpublication: how are you doing.
BAAL: im good.
JOHNpublication: so when did you first start writting graffiti.
BAAL: 1991 but back then i wrote KOD it stood for king of destruction it was more a nickname
than a tag really i only wrote that around 20 times on various things, it wasint till 1993
that i started writting baal.
JOHNpublication: and what does baal stand for?
BAAL: nothing.
JOHNpublication: your obviously an adult why do you keep doing something that you did as a child
BAAL: a few reasons, its addictive i never go out without something to hit up with, also thats
the only thing in my life i was ever good at i have bombed with alot of people and verry few
are still in the game, some people are afraid to do certain things or go in certain areas,
my love for graffiti overcomes my sence of fear. im proud of what i do i take a s*** load of
risks doing it ive been beat up, locked up, broke bones, chased by cops but im still here,
i know what i do is viewed as immature by some people and i can even understand that but i dont
care this is what i do weather im 14 or 40 and ill never stop its just in me, you have some writters saying they will never quit but verry few really mean it, you know how i know ill give you a reason, after spending 3 months in rikers for graff and put on 1 year probation the verry next night after i was released i bombed the d line mad hard now thats f****** dedication my man.
JOHNpublication: you have been beat up over tagging? why would you want to live like that?
BAAL: yeah several times, graff is verry aggressive its like the nba its nuttin but
egos and it dont take much to cause some drama sometimes it dosint even take anything.
JOHNpublication: how do you support yourself?
BAAL: i have a job.
JOHNpublication: you said you where incarcerated is that something your proud of, do you think
in the end it was worth it?
BAAL: ive been locked up several times for different s*** but no im not proud of it i didint like
it but getting locked up is one of the many risks you face in the game like i said my love for
graff overcomes all the risks.
JOHNpublication: what exactly is it that you write your tag on do you have favorite places.
BAAL: i like trains i gravitate twords anything related to them especially train tunnels, we used
to just hang out in them in the emergency exits when i was younger we had parties in them i even
f***** in them, ill just be at home and out of no where grab a chrome rusto and go hit up a tunnel by myself.
JOHNpublication: so many people have died going in train tunnels and that dosint detur you at all
not to mention the homeless people who live in them.
BAAL: s*** i love it down there i swear to god i feel like im at home, yeah thers been a couple
close calls but all when i was much younger now i know all the ins and outs of them, the different sounds the rails make, the signals etc. and as for the bums there cool if your cool,
give em a newport and there your best friend, i remember i was by myself bombin a tunnel in the bronx and a bum came up to me with a bat but after he realized i wasint intrested in stealing his
stuff he was mad cool we talked for bout an hour he said he has seen my tag in other tunnels and
it was funny hearing that from a bum, he also talked about other writters he has met.
JOHNpublication: growing up where your parents aware of your tagging habbits?
BAAL: yeah they where, i was just a punk kid always in trouble so it wasint a suprise to them,
JOHNpublication: spray paint can be expensive dont you think your money could be put to better use.
BAAL: i verry rarely buy the paint, unless its the fancy s*** from europe but i dont f*** with
that as much as i do krylon and rusto, here all the stores have cages on the paint but when you
go to nj or pa thers no cages just bring a duffel bag load the shit up and bounce.
JOHNpublication: one last question if you dont mind me asking did you finish high school?
BAAL: no, i was expelled in the 9th grade and never went back
JOHNpublication: well i guess that will wrap it up thank you for taking the time to talk with me.
BAAL: no problem.

MAGNUM WARLOCK
02-08-2006, 07:49 PM
DIZO





1. L-L: What crew(s) do you paint for and what are the underlying meanings of the acronym(s)?
DIZO: I donÍt paint for crew but I rep HOD - Hand of Doom.

2. L-L: Where are you from and/or where did you start?
DIZO: Atlanta. I did my first piece on the back of this Food Giant on Cambellton Rd. What you know about Food Giant?

3. L-L: Who influenced you the most coming up?
DIZO: United Kings. I used to ride the 166 to Lakewood station then out Lennox. They had the nicest wildstyle joints on that line. I mean some serious shit that could hang with it today. There was this one burner done in Miami Circle in Í84 that said ñGeorgia on my mindî and had a character of Ray Charles to the side of it. I saw that and it changed everything for me.

4. L-L: WhatÍs your outlook on the current Atlanta scene?
DIZO: I got problems of my own so I really donÍt think I have one.

5. L-L: How long have you been active?
DIZO: I got into this in mid 80Ís when the first wave of hip-hop came around. Then it kind of went away and all my friends at the time got out of it and the closest person to me that was painting was killed in car accident. RIP: Todd Gulley. Soon after that, I got kicked out of school and my focus was gone but I started back inÍ96 and will never leave again.

6. L-L: Have you ever had any run ins with law enforcement while out?
DIZO: Yeah- but IÍve been real lucky.

7. L-L: What is your favorite brand of paint?
DIZO: I like whatever gets the effect or the job done.

8. L-L: Rack or buy?
DIZO: I buy cause IÍm too old to get pinched for a &#036;2 can of paint. Plus, my girl would kill me.

9. L-L: Do you sport a mask while painting?
DIZO: No, but I should cause IÍm think somethingÍs gonna start growing on me one day.

10. L-L: What is your favorite surface to paint and why?
DIZO: ItÍs definitively trains but I like everything. When your train rolls out and goes wherever itÍs headed and one day you get word that it was seen in Washington State or somewhere so far gone from you did it, itÍs like, thatÍs whatÍs up&#33;

11. L-L: What area of the game is your strongest?
DIZO: I really donÍt know man. IÍm just trying to put together a good body of work and see where the style goes.

12. L-L: What do you think about the documentation of graffiti on the web?
DIZO: I really like it because now we realize that this culture is everywhere. ItÍs larger than anyone would have ever imagined but to have it at a touch of a click can become dangerous depending on whose checking it. A little paranoia is good for everyone.

13. L-L: Do you usually paint solo or with a partner(s)?
DIZO: Solo. I just dig getting lost in the work and donÍt want to hear no lip. As for going out with others, it depends on the situation. For trains, itÍs Soner:TVC even though heÍs usually finished before I get my outline up. I just have the best time painting with that fool. For going balls out on some shit, itÍs Vicious: HOD. That guy is seriously demented and wonÍt hold anything back but IÍm down to get up whomever if youÍre good people.

14. L-L: Did you write anything else prior to ñDizoî? If so, what?
DIZO: Back when I started I used to write Smash but my intermission came and that was done with. I was glad too see that the name got picked up by someone whose done real justice to it.

15. L-L: Do you think using brushes/markers/rollers/wheat paste takes away from the original concept?
DIZO: Writers are always talking that shit. Whatever works for you is whatÍs important. People get locked into thinking that graffiti is supposed to be a certain way. We influence all other forms of advertising and propaganda anyway so fuck it. You canÍt limit creativity cause itÍs different for everyone. Go for what you know.

16. L-L: Hobby or lifestyle?
DIZO: Lifestyle.

17. L-L: What is your current occupation?
DIZO: Screen Printer / Designer / Bud Light Consumption Expert.

18. L-L: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
DIZO: Hopefully doing the same as of right now but on a different playing field.

19. L-L: If there was one spot anywhere in the country you could hit without getting bagged, where would it be and why?
DIZO: IÍm gonna stay in Atlanta and say the top of City Hall East. Why not put my name on one most corrupt centers in the city.

20. L-L: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera or Shakira?
DIZO: They can all get it because fake hoes need love to.

MAGNUM WARLOCK
02-08-2006, 07:51 PM
SB





1. WW: What crew(s) do you paint for and what are the underlying meanings of the acronym(s)?
SB1: Network (no acronym) FS (freight Slayers) UCA (Under Cover Agents) CRE (Catch Reck Everywhere) AMF (Action Makes Fame).

2. WW: Where are you from and/or where did you start?
SB1: Originally I&#39;m from Brooklyn NY, I moved here in 89 and definitely consider myself an Atlanta writer because I&#39;ve done most of my shit since I&#39;ve been here.

3. WW: Who influenced you the most coming up?
SB1: Mainly writers from the NY subways in the years between 1983 and 1989. Its hard to say exactly who, but my favorite writer is Sent from NY. He is without question a style master general.

4. WW: How long have you been active?
SB1: Well since the freights are the only thing that really counts I&#39;ll say 12 years. I started hitting freights in 1988, but didn&#39;t really take it seriously until 1992 and I&#39;ve been more or less active since then.

5. WW: What is your favorite surface to paint and why?
SB1: Steel, Over all else. That&#39;s all I&#39;ve really painted. Walls are cool to socialize, I do them on occasion, but steel is where its at for me. That&#39;s the only thing I&#39;ll risk my freedom for. I could go on for days about why but I&#39;ll just say train pieces last longer and they travel further.

6. WW: Do you rock with stocks or custom tips?
SB1: Stock and fats, that&#39;s what I learned with and that&#39;s all I know how to use. I&#39;m kind of stuck in my ways.

7. WW: Any insight on the new school attitude/style?
SB1: Well I consider myself part of the new school. A lot of kids who have been writing 5 years call themselves old school. Old school to me is writers from the 1960&#39;s and 70&#39;s. I like the current generation. I think kids don&#39;t stick with it very long these days though. Most kids don&#39;t write for more than 3 years, and that&#39;s sad. I wish kids stayed in the game longer. As far as style if its original it&#39;s fresh to me. Like there can&#39;t be a hundred Totems, only one ya know. A lot of newer writers jump right into the complex stuff, the colors the characters and never really develop the fundamentals. The hand style, the thro-up, the bombing. I don&#39;t mean to sound judgmental though, its just an observation.

8. WW: What’s your outlook on the current ATL scene?
SB1: I&#39;ve always liked the Atlanta scene. Like I said I consider myself an Atlanta writer. I think people expect it to be some kind of Utopia, but what city has a perfect scene. I really dig the fact that a lot of kids are hitting metal now. Yeah the politics and the drama sucks, but I&#39;m glad with what we have.

9. WW: In your opinion, who’s the hottest writer in Atlanta today?
SB1: Oh man thats a tuff one. Outside of my own crew(s): Dizo, I like his shit a lot. He&#39;s killed shit and he has a very original style, TNA crew, they are the kings of coal cars, Hense, Humble, Hear, Totem, UAA crew, really anyone who&#39;s name I see on trains often is Hot to me.

10. WW: Any particular person or people you love painting with?
SB1: Honestly I&#39;m kind of an asshole in this sense but I really only like to paint with my crewmates because we understand each other. Daks is my partner to the heart. Lern, Save, Leon, Brayne, I really used to enjoy painting with Chase. I&#39;ll paint with anyone who is as methodical about the mission as I am. People who know how to scope shit out right, people who know how to react in a raid before its too late, people who know how not to make a lot of noise and not tag all over the lay-up (that&#39;s a pet peav of mine).

11. WW: Have you ever traveled outside the US to paint?
SB1: Nah, not to paint. But Id like to go to Amsterdam for the Cannabis cup though, and maybe rock some freights over there.

12. WW: Have you had any run-ins with the law for graffiti?
SB1: Of course, but knock on wood I&#39;ve never been bagged. I&#39;ve been in 4 raids, two of which were pretty intense. I&#39;ve always managed to slip away, even when other kids I was with got caught. It is the result of being extra anal about missions. I&#39;m not saying I&#39;m invincible , I just take it a lil more serious than the average writer, and that has paid off for me.

13. WW: What do you think about the documentation of graffiti on the web?
SB1: I think its great. Even though I get bored with it sometimes. I like the freight message board most of all. What I think is of utmost importance is the fact that writers are responsible for the abundance of web documented graffiti. Whereas in the past graffiti media was always controlled by people who didn&#39;t write, and it has given newer generations a somewhat distorted view of the way things were. Writers will always tell a more accurate story because we are living it. In a thousand years all these websites will be in some database for future generations to research, so that&#39;s a good thing.

14. WW: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
SB1: Still painting, still benching, still streaking just like I was 10 years ago.

15. WW: What is your current occupation?
SB1: I&#39;m a jack of all trades.

16. WW: Do you consider graff a part of your lifestyle or just a hobby?
SB1: This is definitely life. Maybe for the first couple of years it was a hobby, but since like 85 when I started taking/collecting fliks its been, my culture, my religion, and my life. I mean my family is always first but train graffiti is always second.

17. WW: What area of graff is your strongest?
SB1: Speed. My aim was obviously never to be the freshest, just to be able to get in and get out of a spot quickly and undetected. Like a Stealth Bomber*.

18. WW: If there was one spot anywhere in the country you could hit without getting bagged, where would it be and why?
SB1: Marta Trains, just because its never been done. I&#39;ll never do it though. When I risk my freedom its gotta be for something that&#39;s gonna last.

19. WW: Do you think using brushes/markers/rollers/wheat paste takes away from the original concept?
SB1: Yeah I think it does to a degree. But putting my personal opinion aside it is progression and adds variety to the game. Me personally I use aerosol exclusively I&#39;m kind of thick in the head about that. But I like seeing different shit in the street.

20. WW: President in 2000?
SB1: I think its high time for a female president, a fine one. Id like to see Toni Braxton or Jennifer Lopez address the nation in a bikini.

MAGNUM WARLOCK
02-08-2006, 07:53 PM
JA PART 2





I feel," announces SONI, "like getting up." "Yo," says SLICK. "Yo, man, let&#39;s get up, but we got to take care of JA, man." "Check it out," says SONI. "We dry." The Bushwick night is howling to Danny Gomez and Rubin Fernandez. SONI and SLICK. Very nearly the last of the great Brooklyn graffiti writers. Tonight, they face a critical problem: no respect and no way to regain it. They have no paint. They can&#39;t get up. You need paint to get up-to shoot your name across the blackstars, the subway. A few days ago, JA had seriously dissed SLICK. He came by car to 320 Empire Boulevard and tagged up the walls of Slick&#39;s house.
JAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJA All over the walls. Come down and fight, ]A had screamed into the hallway. Fair fight, JA had hollered. Come on, SLICK, you afraid of a fair fight? Bullshit, man. SLICK wasn&#39;t afraid of no fair fight. He told his friends later that he stayed upstairs. There were, like, ten guys with JA, SLICK had said. In a car they came. From Manhattan. Fuckin&#39; JA, man, think he rules the city. Man. Ten white boys he brings. Maybe it wasn&#39;t ten, but that was the minimum Slick could be outnumbered by and still keep his respect. SLICK and SONI are members of the Bushwick graffiti posse, U5, which had been formed in the winter of 1986, a marshaling of the dwindling graffiti-writing resources of the largely Hispanic neighbor- hood. JA, the hated ruling king of graffiti in the city, a white guy from the Upper West Side of Manhattan. His father is a big Hollywood movie guy-director of Joe and the original Rocky, he also produced The Karate Kid and Lean on Me, and even got JA a part in one of the Karate Kid sequels. Worse, JA has almost unlimited access to spray paint and is killing everyone&#39;s shit. Buffing over their work. In plain language, he was scrawling on top of their scrawls, their tags, the nearly unreadable scribbles that wallpapered every public space in New York. Now he had come to SLICK&#39;S house and tagged it up. The other fellows in U5 agreed that JA would have to be dealt with. But nobody was down for that tonight. People had school, people had work. Yo, maybe the weekend. For SONI and SLICK, that is too long to wait. Tomorrow, after they went to the Door, their high school in Manhattan, they&#39;d take care of JA. They&#39;d go to one of his tunnels on the West Side. "Yo, my cousin, OS, he&#39;s got some paint," says SON&#33;. "We&#39;ll catch os tomorrow. We&#39;ll hang out at the Door, then we&#39;ll go by my cousin&#39;s house." "Bet," says Slick. "We gotta kill JA&#39;s shit."
The day before JA and REAS blew out of Los Angeles, they&#39;d driven to the U-Haul place and rented a container for the car roof.
As he packed up, getting ready to leave town, JA figured he had racked 700 cans of spray paint. Actually, he had 700 left, having gone through 3,000 cans during his eight-month stay in Los Angeles. "I was getting a hundred and fifty cans a day, " JA told REAS. "The paint is beautiful out here. The racks are incredibly easy." Which meant it was no trouble for him to swipe cans, a dozen at a time, from the shelves and racks. In New York, they were locked away by ordinance. Not so in L.A., which in its innocence, had never been invaded by the likes of JA on "racking" binges. Some kids called it "inventing" their paint. The penal code calls it theft. By whatever means, JA and REAS would be returning home with an arsenal of unprecedented proportions by New York graffiti standards, all of it packed in the U-Haul roof container. JA had left his mark behind on the West Coast. Of course, there were no subways out there-it was, after all, L.A., the expressway capital of the world. So JA bombed highway walls. Buses. All through Venice. He warred with KSN-Kings Stop at Nothing-a major graffiti crew on the West Coast. "Within a week or two, I just wiped them out, everything they had, for no real reason," JA said. JA had been in Los Angeles to try an acting career. As the movie director who&#39; d filmed Joe, Rocky , and The Karate Kid, his father, ** **, had found JA a part in Karate Kid III as a henchman of the evil guy terrorizing Ralph Macchio. When that wrapped up, the young Avildsen found little work acting, and spent his time picking tag fights with the local graffiti writers. "They were making millions of public threats that I was going to be shot, " said JA, "that they had the Bloods and the Crips looking for me. Which they swore to be true." REAS had arrived in town a week before, to keep him company on the trip back to New York. JA and REAS were part of a small crew of upper-middle-class white boys in Manhattan who had taken to graffiti writing. Most of the kids in graffiti were poor Hispanics and African-Americans. But there were folks like JA, the son of a major movie director; REAS, a gifted artist from Manhattan&#39;s SoHo; and the Smith brothers, known as SANE and SMITH, whose father was a professor at New York University. The Smiths&#39; most famous tag was executed on the Brooklyn
Bridge, the haunting, romantic nineteenth-century engineering poem that straddles lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. One night, they struck near the top of the giant stone parapets of the bridge. The next morning, a few hundred thousand people riding trains on the Manhattan Bridge, just to the north, could see the SANE SMITH tag. " A million writers will tell you that they thought of doing it," said JA admiringly, "but only the Smiths went and did it." The audacity of these boys-and their status as privileged children-made them choice targets of the police and government authorities. Law cases involving white graffiti writers made the papers. And the white boys were prolific. The Smiths and JA were sued by the city-with their parents also named because the vandalism had occurred while they were minors. Then there was the handwriting analysis case brought against REAS by the Manhattan district attorney, who tried to prove that the REAS tag discovered on a row of trains one night was his. Of course it was; the prosecutors just couldn&#39;t establish it as a matter of law. For all these kids, seeing their name on the news was just another way of getting up-writing their tags, their graffiti names. So was getting arrested. One week, Smith was busted. In a rare twin success, the cops nabbed JA the following weekend. He was taken to the transit police vandal squad office in the East New York section of Brooklyn, where he was booked. "I went into the bathroom to wash the fingerprint paint off my hands," JA recalled, "and I looked in the mirror and saw something on the wall behind me. Nah. Couldn&#39;t be. I turned around, and sure enough, there was SMITH, in that squiggled hand- writing, above the urinal. He&#39;d tagged the vandal squad&#39;s own bath- room. In their own fingerprint paint." As they drove cross the country on the interstates, JA and REAS got up in the California desert, in Oklahoma, in Texas. No hassle. The stakes were bigger, though, because a slow-moving court in the Southwest had the time and appetite to sink its judicial teeth into a juicy graffiti case-unlike the judges in New York, who could barely find time and space to try violent psychopaths, much less a kid with a spray can. Also, REAS&#39;S mom was getting married and he had to get back for the ceremony. So on their road trip, they threw up a few tags here and there, but didn&#39;t stop for any major attacks. "That&#39;s for the next time," said JA. Back in New York, JA was generous with the L.A. paint, among his friends, anyway. But he kept racking, whenever someone left a shelf unlocked. His goal, he said, was "trying to have seven hundred or so at anyone time-so I could go out and use twenty in a night, if I felt the need."

11:45 A.M., Bushwick, Brooklyn:
SONI You could have a car, maybe, if you lived in Bushwick and you had enough money. SONI&#39;S father had a car .He got up at five in the morning to drive to the bodega he ran, and he stayed there until midnight. This wasn&#39;t a nice suburban town where there were arguments about borrowing the car .The old man had the car eighteen, nineteen hours a day, that was it. But New York kids don&#39;t need a car to get around. Even when their arms are too short to straphang, long before they can apply for a driver&#39;s license, Bushwick kids have the L train-the Canarsie. The L train could take you anywhere. You could ride it all the way into Manhattan, but even on shorter journeys, a new world rose above every local stop: Myrtle, DeKalb, Jefferson, Morgan, Montrose, Grand, Graham, Lorimer, Bedford. Or you could, as SONI did, ride it to the G train, which would take you back and forth to Queens. Around the same time ]A went to work in Hollywood, SONI started a job at Pergament, a discount hardware chain in the Middle Village area of Queens. It was a long commute, but he had to get some money. He was thinking about college. Today, though, SONI was off from work, and with SLICK and AUDIE was heading into the city on the only car they&#39;d ever known, the L. They were going to take care of ]A once and for all. This was it. A few cans of gray spray paint had been procured, and there was more with SONI&#39;S cousin downtown. The truth was, they were all getting a little tired of graffiti, but ]A wouldn&#39;t let it lie. The pride of U5-their graffiti posse-was at stake. The beef with him had started a year before, when they had done some big pieces out in the train lay-up at 121st Street in Queens. A very sweet lay-up it was, too, because the trains would be parked on some elevated tracks between rush hours, from ten in the morning until three in the afternoon. You could go there and take off your shirt, catch some sun, and work in the leisure of daylight, rather than in the shadows of the tunnels. The boys from US had hit the yard with green house paint. Using rollers, they had tinctured three cars, from top to bottom, windows included. That was the base; then they launched the colors. They&#39;d started several pieces-masterpieces, or "burners"-when the police arrived. After the members of the Bushwick crowd had either escaped or gotten handcuffed and led away, JA arrived with SMITH, and they proceeded to write all over the cars that the U5 crew had begun. "You use white, yellow, baby blue, pastel aqua, a hot pink, plum, and you blend with the colors to make a vibrant piece against your background," explained JA. "They didn&#39;t get halfway through that stage when they were raided. I didn&#39;t know what it said, or even who wrote it. If it was done by someone I knew, I would have tried to finish it for them." Instead, he launched a rocket attack of his own tags. This was the start of the hostilities, the Fort Surnter of the late graffiti period. U5, with SONI leading the retaliation, began to write over JA&#39;S tags. He buffed back. And so on, for weeks on end, and no one was running any productive pieces on the train. One day, there was a call to JA from SONI. "We want to squash beef with you," said SONI. Call off the quarrel. "Fuck that. You dissed me, man. That&#39;s that. Time for war." "Let&#39;s meet up." "Nab." "Yo, why don&#39;t you want to squash beef?" "Yo, you set if off, you know. Face the music." "Yo man, c&#39;rnon, let&#39;s meet at 121lay-up," said SONI, picking the same train yard where it had all started. JA considered for a moment. "Yeah, I&#39;ll meet you there at twelve tonight. Dress warmly. " "Bet." That night, the U5 crew waited for JA. They had brought a bucket of yellow house paint, and began to tag the cars with handprints. SONI and AUDI did burners. As the hours stretched on, no JA. Someone kicked in a few windows on the cars, frustrated by his arrogance. Around 2:30, the last of U5 had left the yard, through the hole in the fence, next to the Long Island Rail Road tracks. A few minutes later, JA and two pals strolled in through the same hole. They pulled out spray cans and slashed the U5 burners with paint, and laid their own tags on top. Then the coup de grace: VICTORY IS MINE-AGAIN&#33; EAT SHIT&#33; Gratified by his labors, JA drove back to Manhattan. The next morning, his phone rang early. "Yo," said SONI. "YOU didn&#39;t show up." JA laughed. He could roll out of bed, still half asleep, and spit a rival square in the eye. "I just waited till you guys left so I could stamp all your shit, " said JA. SONI realized then what JA had done, that the train would parade his humiliation across the city. He scrambled for a retaliatory tactic: "Yeah, well, one can is going to dog all that shit you did," said SONI. "Too late," cackled JA. "It already pulled out." . SON&#33; knew the time, knew that JA was right: the train already was in service. "just something to make them feel stupid when they saw the train go by, " JA later explained. This was the last attempt at a truce between 05 and JA, although for a while, the war went into an extended cease-fire-when JA moved to L.A. for his work in Karate Kid /1I. After a couple of months, the guys in 05 were getting restless. Their lives were going on. Married. Kids. Jobs. Graffiti writing was getting old. The trains were beat. The trains were clean. A train with a big piece on it, something you&#39;d worked on all night, wasn&#39;t going out of the yard. Hell, a train with a tag wasn&#39;t going out. It was getting to be a waste of paint. AUDI called a meeting and made an announcement: "This is the deal. We&#39;re going to close down 05 for &#39;ninety. Before then, we&#39;re going to king the city. The streets. Write everywhere we can. After we reach our goals, like a writer wants to, we&#39;re going to break up 05, because we don&#39;t want 05 to fade away, like a crew that was tough, and the new writers come up and they go over us. We don&#39;t want to go out like that. We want &#33;@#&#036;?s to know that when U5 was strong, nobody would take us down. "Even if they buff us after we stop writing, they know that if we was together, they couldn&#39;t handle us. That&#39;s the point." Later, AUDI explained, "It went beyond trains. Streets, mainly. What we hit now is trucks, the streets, things that still move. Like the train used to be. Garbage trucks." AUDI could talk tough. He could talk about kinging the city. But his boys were growing out of it. Then one day, JA returned, and he seemed to have more paint than God.


Not JA. He curled his lips at the mention of the preppy bar scene. It was definitely out, especially after high school. He and his Pals headed downtown, to the hot club-whichever one it was that Season, for hot clubs had the half-lives of butane lighters.
A week ago, when it all came to a head between JA and the boys from U5, JA had spent a good part of the night at MK&#39;s-one of these firefly establishments. The &#036;20 cover charge applied only to saps without a pass or a connection with the bouncer-a fee intended to keep out the "bridge and tunnel crowd," the people who had to come from somewhere else to the island of Manhattan, and who were congenitally unhip by club standards.

JA was drinking heavily. At the bar, he bumped into COCER, who ran around on the periphery of U5.
"You&#39;re JA?" said COCER. "Whoa, man. I know these dudes, SLICK and SONI. They been after your ass for the longest time. They say you been ducking them."
"Hey," said JA. "I&#39;ll take SONI on. Anytime." "I don&#39;t know SONI so well," said COCER. "I hang with SLICK. He says you a pussy, a sucker."
"I&#39;ll fight either one of those guys-but where? I can&#39;t make them appear."
"SLICK says he&#39;s gonna fuck you up."
"Yo, let him name the time." "Yo, let&#39;s go to his house, I&#39;ll show you where he lives."
Just before dawn, JA and COCER, along with REAS and VEN, two of JA&#39;S pals, drove through the dark streets of Bushwick. JA wondered about this move. But he didn&#39;t want COCER to think he was dodging a chance to go face to face with SLICK.
In the vestibule of the apartment building, COCER leaned into the buzzer for several minutes until a groggy voice answered.
"Yeah," said the voice.
JA pushed COCER aside and spoke into the mouthpiece.
"Yo, it&#39;s JA."
"Yeah."
"Come downstairs if you want to fight me."
"You got the wrong buzzer."
COCER shook his head. "Yo, SLICK, come on down, man, and fight."
"You got the wrong place." JA turned to COCER.
"What&#39;s up with this kid?"
"It&#39;s the right buzzer-I been to his house before," said COCER.
JA buzzed again and spoke into the microphone. "Yo, SLICK, you&#39;re fronting, talking all this jazz about how you gonna kick my ass and not backing it up. Well, come downstairs and back it up."
"Fuck that," said COCER. "Now he&#39;s going to call his boys."
In a bag, JA had a few spare cans of spray paint. He copped a few tags on the outside of the building. REAS and YEN watched. This was JA&#39;S beef, not theirs, and tagging someone&#39;s house was heavy. Very heavy.
Fuck SLICK, thought JA. Now it was brightening outside, and a man stuck his head out a third-floor window and hollered something at the kids in front of the building. They decided it was time to leave. Where am I, JA wondered? He looked at a street sign, and saw Empire Boulevard and Rogers Street. SMITH&#39;S name was Roger. The name stayed with him as he slumped into the seat and rode back to Manhattan. Otherwise, he had no idea where he was.
SLICK discovered the infamy scrawled on his house when he came downstairs that morning. Word moved quickly through Bushwick of JA&#39;S attack because COCER had seen the whole thing. "Ten guys, they came in cars from Manhattan," SLICK explained to his friends.

10:19 P.M., Canal Street, Manhattan: SONI and SLICK
They pay your way home from The Door at night after the train pass is no good. They have to. You run a school that doesn&#39;t open until two in the afternoon, nobody goes home until eight or nine o&#39;clock, the subway pass has been dead for two hours already.
A man from The Door had escorted them to the subway station. He handed them tokens and watched them pass through the tumstiles. "JA&#39;S got this tunnel on the Number One line between Columbus Circle and 66th Street," says SLICK. "He hangs out there. We go fuck him up." "How we gonna know if he&#39;s even there?" asks SONI. "He&#39;s got a whole wall of tags there in the tunnel," says SLICK. "The whole thing, man, every piece of it is his. We could buff him good."
"Yo, we don&#39;t know that area too good," says AUDI. "I&#39;m not down for that."
"Nah, man," says SLICK. "We got to."
"Yo, he tagged up SLICK&#39;S house, we gotta come back at him," says SONI, who, though dubious, is sensitive to his friend&#39;s slight. After all, SLICK has gotten into this thing because of SONI. This has been SONI&#39;S beef with JA, and SLICK sort of got dragged into it. Now he has been dissed, seriously. That&#39;s the lowest thing you can do to another writer, paint on his house.
AUDI should know this, man. SONI couldn&#39;t say it in front of SLICK. It&#39;s bad enough for SLICK.
"See? All right, man, be that way," says SLICK. "Yo, man, I gotta go," says AUDI. He leaves them as they wait for a train uptown, to JA&#39;S turf. "Later," says SONI. "Later," says SLICK. "Let&#39;s find JA."

10:30 P.M., Upper West Side, Manhattan: JA
A retarded move, JA tells himself. At least from what he had&#39; been told. Personally, he doesn&#39;t remember anything before he woke up on the road, cars screeching to a stop near his head. But SMITH had been there, watched the whole thing. And SMITH said when he saw JA take the leap, he thought about having to call JA&#39;S mother and tell her that he had died. Ridiculous fucking thing to have done. JA had been drunk. Spifflicated drunk. All he knows is that he had been with SMITH, on the ramps approaching the Lincoln Tunnel, scoping out places to tag. There was a very sweet-looking highway sign, directly above the six lanes of traffic leading to the tunnel. To get there, he&#39;d had to jump about four or five feet from a street that overlooked it, then land on the frame of the sign. "You almost made it," SMITH had said. The moment he hit the pavement 15 feet below, trucks careening and cars screeching, marked the end of a forty-eight-hour frenzy of graffiti tagging all over the city. It had started on that predawn morning he&#39;d tagged SLICK&#39;S house. "When you get the momentum going, it&#39;s like a fuel-you go on like a crack binge-with graffiti, not crack," JA later explained. That was six days ago. So tonight, he is staying home in the splendid apartment on 86th Street, where a decorator&#39;s hand shows in every room. Except his lair .He keeps the mattress on the floor. In his oak roll top desk are spray cans of paint. The oak cabinets built into the wall hold giant cans of spray paint, collector&#39;s quality: very hard to purchase, heavy-duty industrial-size cans that you could never find in the store. JA is king.
With a flick of the remote, MTV barrels into the room, through the stereo speakers of the television. He turns the page on a magazine, and wriggles his toes. They&#39;re sticking out of the plaster cast they&#39;d put on to keep his knee in one place. Pain in the ass.

11:45 P.M., Broadway, Manhattan: SONI and SLICK
The musicians from Lincoln Center are saying good night. Tonight, the opera was Don Giovanni. At the Vivian Beaumont, Anything Goes was selling out at &#036;50 a ticket. The Mostly Mozart series had begun. Even with all this, it was a quiet time of year for the high-culture scene, in a way, since the ballet company was closed. Once, the choreographer Twyla Tharp put on a ballet with graffiti writers, on-stage, painting the set, while the dancers went through their steps. It was a smashing success nearly twenty years ago, with Manhattan people paying good money to watch these ghetto kids from the Bronx and Harlem. The centerpiece fountain had been turned back on only a week or so earlier; the city had ordered all ornamental water displays shut off because of a drought scare. Even though its water was recycled, the dry fountain was a powerful symbol. A burbling fountain would be a soothing presence in the wicked heat of the city. The pit musicians, the orchestra players, were walking into the warm night, the men in black tie and jacket, the women in long dresses. Even without the instruments, you could tell they were working people, despite the formal gear, because they walked across the plaza of the arts center and down to the Broadway subway station.

There, you could stare into the tunnel and see all the way to the lights of the station at Columbus Circle, 59th Street. When a train approaches, its headlights come together like a rising line drive off the bat of a mighty hitter. It is just seven blocks from the Lincoln Center stop to Columbus Circle, a distance that two quick, strong young men can cover in a few minutes. The way the light falls, the boys in the tunnel are swallowed in shadows. And they have business to do. There are probably fifteen tags on the tunnel wall between the two stations. It is hard to see them all, but they get most of them. Buff them. Stomp on his shit. That was one wall. Three spray cans of gray paint already are beat. Only one left. Now they have to do the other side. Have to. The musicians peer into the darkness. Ah, there&#39;s the No.1. Good 0l&#39; No.1. They&#39;re lucky to get out of work before midnight. The trains start slowing down after 12:00. This one, the 11:59 &#39;out of South Ferry, was going up to the Bronx and into the 240th Street yard. Yardmaster Darrell Williams is waiting there to get it to the car wash. Now, from the 66th Street platform, the musicians see the train leave the Columbus Circle station, starting up the rise to Lincoln Center.
Later, when he was able to talk about it without weeping, the motorman would say that before the train brakes went into emergency mode, he thought he saw a bundle of clothes on the roadbed. That wouldn&#39;t be enough to trigger the automatic brake under the car. Needed something more solid. He climbed down on the roadbed and started looking. He had to go back eight cars before he found the…obstructions.
At Lincoln Center, the waiting riders stare out into the darkness and see the headlights have stopped their approach; they wonder why the train isn&#39;t moving.
The police told the newspapers that the writing on the walls was just scribble, that there was nothing to it at all. When JA was off the crutches, he went and saw with a glance. Those tags. SONI and SLICK. Their last ones.

SOME DAYS LATER:
Daniel Gomez, SONI, was waked in an open coffin, wearing a Panama hat and dark glasses to cover the trauma of his death. His father closed the bodega to take the body to Santo Domingo for burial. The remains of Rubin Fernandez, SLICK, also were returned to the Dominican Republic. JA, sporadically wrote graffiti in the subway until he returned to Los Angeles to resume his film career. U5, the Bushwick graffiti crew, no longer is active.

beltonmoltow
02-08-2006, 08:07 PM
JA&#39;s is the only 1 worth reading

settybomb
02-08-2006, 09:03 PM
I read that and drank brandy. Christian brother brandy to be percise. JA seems like a bad charecter, in the best way possible.

rancid
02-08-2006, 09:24 PM
Damn thats alot to type, ^^yeah the JA story was dope.

beltonmoltow
02-08-2006, 09:29 PM
JA is king of nyc hands down props XTC, YKK, WKS

MODGrafix
02-08-2006, 10:06 PM
ya JAs was def the best, none of em were worth reading cept his.

dirmaster0
02-08-2006, 10:13 PM
Man I wish i lived in NY...i swear that shit you can just feel in your skin--cold ass steel n iron between your arms, that warm air in the night, smell of the shitty ass street vendor food (Visited there a couple times)..all of that shit

Id have to say JA&#39;s shit along with the SONI n Slick shit was the best--although I wonder if JA dropped the beef n did up something for em?...

Escape
02-09-2006, 01:32 AM
Fuck that was alot of reading. Still cool though. And yea the JA shit was the best.

And live in New York? I dunno, i&#39;ve been stabbed once, wasn&#39;t that fun, don&#39;t wanna do that again. The scene seems dope, but it&#39;s sorta fucked up that you get stabbed over beef. But meh, I guess that&#39;s what makes the scene so dope.

Mute1
02-09-2006, 10:00 AM
wow i never read the part 2 of that ja article...

thats some heavy shit.

fuckin unreal.

kila
10-23-2006, 06:29 PM
i have met colt b4 online and one of his websites he gives a shout out to me&#33; haha

suhweet
10-23-2006, 07:42 PM
WTF? 2004. lawl.

--------------------
http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k88/duodecimestdeus/gummo_pinkyu.gif

Game905
04-09-2007, 02:50 PM
that was a sick story so sick. so risky :o :o :o

dirty hands
12-05-2009, 01:23 AM
gkae



Q- What do you write?

Gkae- Gkae, Mad Society Kings.

Q- How long have you wrote?

Gkae- A good nine years now, 95' being my best.

Q- Who are your influences?

Gkae- Yeah everything I see, older writers who came before me, gang graffiti, and all the all city writers.

Q- How many times have you been locked up?

Gkae- Five times now, this being the longest. I've done 16 months so far, and I just started a three-year term.

Q- How do you feel about the fact that a rapist got a lighter sentence than you did on the same day?

Gkae- I didn't know that, but it doesn't suprise me; people feel threatened by graffiti, because they don't understand it. When the judge handed me three years he said,"...you don't have one victim you have tens of thousands of victims that have to see your graffiti on their way to work."

Q- What would you tell younger writers?

Gkae- If you do graffiti realize what you are risking, but if you do it go all out!

Q- Do you regret it?

Gkae- No

Q- What do you regret?

Gkae- Hurting my family and friends. I don't regret the graffiti, I feel a majority of it wasn't wrong.

Q- What's jail like?

Gkae- It's no picnic. Ha Ha. It's a headache, constant politics and the food sucks.

Q- Is it a problem being white in jail?

Gkae- L.A. County, yes. Prison, no. It's gotten easier in the past five years. Southsiders and whites hang out more now.

Q- Does it help being Gkae in jail?

Gkae- No, because most of these peoples world's are small, and aren't concerned with graffiti. They could teach you how to cook meth or crack, but they don't know the first thing about graffiti.

Q- How do you feel about your education being on hold?

Gkae- At least when I go to prison I can take my basic college courses.

Q- Do you think you'll still be on point when you get out?

Gkae- Yeah, I won't be gone for that long. I read a lot, especially the newspaper.

Q- Sum up the whole situation in jail?

Gkae- Doing time and I got time to do. Just sitting waiting to get out.

Q- What will you do when you get out?

Gkae- Finish school, make some money, live a semi-normal life as a parolee.

Q- Do you have any last words?

Gkae- If there is something I want people to know is that I did bomb hard, and I don't want to be known as the the guy who went to prison for graffiti. If I bomb again? it's up to me.

dirty hands
12-05-2009, 01:35 AM
BAAL pt 1



So when did you get into graffiti

BAAL: early 90`s i wrote a bunch of things but my first tag was kod it was more a nickname though it stood for king of destruction back then we had this thing we called going on a rampage and we would mostly ride our bikes around breaking anything we saw, run up to a bus at the red light and smash the front with a bat, throw bricks through peoples windows set various things on fire you know all the wonderful joys of growing up in the rotten apple so that nickname stuck with me for a little while and i only wrote it a couple of times but a few people would tell me it looked and sounded like a crew not a tag and i started to feel the same way so i started writting midic slats and lil sarz all around the same time i couldint make up my mind but then around 93 i added baal to the list and stuck with that.

Thats a good ammount of time im sure you have some interesting stories.

BAAL: yeah tons some even so crazy people think im making it up but its cool with me i know what really happened and my memories will be with me to the day i die.

Care to share one.

BAAL: Sure why not ill give you a funny one back around 98 i was bombing the f line and streets around it i was with some people from the kmc crew now we where doing streets roofs trucks all the good stuff when me and dk climbed up on a roof it was small maybe three stories but high enough to fracture my ankle so after we hit it we noticed there was a camera on the other side we where going to get down so we put bandannas over our face and started to climb down i was first and about half way down i decided to jump now it was a good idea until i hit the ground, i heard a crack and jumped up in pain now ive broken bones before so i know usualy its numb for a while before the real pain kicks in so thats what happened we left the spot and continued to hit up the streets i was hopping up to the walls doing fillins and handstyles i even hit another roof but after a while my other leg started to hurt from hopping around so my boy rb did that firemans carry to me and took me to the train and i went home that put me on the disabled list for about a month.

So i take it youve been hurt quite a few times was that the worst

BAAL: Yeah my body has been through alot ive broken a few other bones while bombing but i guess a broken bone is the worst thats happened to me so far a couple of close calls when i was younger almost getting crushed by a train but im ok and have learned alot and havent had a close call with a train since.

What got you into tunnel bombing.

BAAL: Curiosity like every other child riding a train i was glued to the window but when we went through tunnels i was amazed even years before i wrote graffiti i was curious about the tunnels when i was around 11 it was the first time i went in one and i was scared i went in a little ways and heard a train coming and ran back to the station but i kept trying i knew by looking out the windows that there was a room in the middle of every tunnel and i wanted to make it to that and the next time i tried i did finding out it was an emergency exit with stairs leading to the street i noticed there where tags in the tunnel i wondered who they where since they shared the same intrest as me i realized the tags where in silver and this made sence to me so i went to the store and got a silver can of touch n tone and headed back to the tunnel i also had friends at the time most of which where original members of brh who shared my intrest of exploring the tunnels and so we did one after the other sometimes in groups as big as 10 people after exploring several different tunnels i notced a couple of tags that kept poping up and that encouraged me It even got to the point after me and some others where verry familiar with the settings we would bring people down there kinda like a tour i mean these people didint even write we would just hangout in the emergency exit drink beer and smoke blunts as long as we kept the noise to a minimum we was able to party right there in the middle of the tunnel man i even had sex in the tunnel the girl was nervous but i assured her she would be ok so we walked to the emergency exit i put my jacket on the ground at the bottom of the stairs and she rode me while trains where speeding right past my head best sex i ever had.

How do you view graffiti today compared to when you first started.

BAAL: Well the golden days are long gone i would have liked to have been a part of it but i was born in the late 70`s so i was just a little kid back then but im glad eventhough i wasint writting back then i still saw and experienced it i wasint intrested in the throw ups and pieces at the time but i do remember seeing different characters on the trains that was pretty cool cause when i was a little kid before i srarted writting i was really intrested in drawing now when i got into graff it was like the changing of the guard the train era was dead and street bombing was in its prime it was like it rained paint on the whole city i was trying to learn everything i could about it i would hear stories of people getting beat up people running from cops where to get jifs and which ones to get what stores are easy to rack from i wanted to know everything about it but at that time i only got up in my neighborhood and train tunnels i would go on missions with this crew wtk and i would walk the lines and tunnels with them and we would get chassed by cops jump and rob people in broad daylight hangout all night drinking and writting we would chill in subway tunnels smoking blunts and all that excited me and when i would go to other neighborhoods i would notice other tags and see some of them in other areas aswell and i wanted to do that and thats when i started bombing solo going all around the city in the middle of the night during the day i would ride the trains for hours scoping out spots my first time i was verry nervous i was use to bombing my neighborhood solo but never another neighborhood i didint know what to expect but everything worked out ok back then there was just a different feel to it plus there where more stronger bombers then weak ones these days everyone wants to write and thers more weak bombers than strong verry rarely do i run into a die hard alot of em have no heart and act like there making this huge impact i can spot these guys a mile away ive seen and been through alot so it dont matter how hard you go or think you go if you dont have the years and experience to back it up then you still paying your dues i guess today overall graff is still graff its just changing with the times i think with each new generation graffiti gets wartered down you had the golden age of trains you had the shiftee street bombing days and now you have artfags and wannabees i remember we would make our own inks and markers drip some candle wax in a deodorant stick stuff a sock in it and fill it up with some griffin that was grimey we all had one and that was just the tip of the iceberg now you got people buying all types of paint and inks off the internet ive been making my own for a long time but i aint special if i know how to make it why dont they you see the gap the tricks of the trade arent being passed down like they used to plus this generaton is getting lazier not wanting to put in the time and work and just order the stuff even when we threw up stickers they where the post office ones or we stole blank labels from a store now you have these kids who print out these vinyl stickers on there computer with no effort at all then act like there doing big things when they put em up i look at it like this i have nothing against throwing up a sticker but atleast put in your own work and not a vinyl print out i will admit though the whole filling up a fire extinguisher with paint thing is funny only problem ive seen with it though is some of these new jacks think that gives em a licence to shoot it on a wall over peoples work when i was little we would take the fire extinguishers from the train tunnels and go to a store hold the door open and spray it in the store who knew 20 years later people would be filling em up with paint.

dirty hands
12-05-2009, 01:37 AM
BAAL pt 2



Now you mentioned racking paint as you get older is that still something you do.

BAAL: Yeah but im not one of these wannabees or fake thugs who will say yeah yo i always rack blah blah blah see i do buy paint at certain times depending on the situation its rare but i do it most of my paint is racked though ive learned alot of tricks through the years now im also not one of these guys who you see saying you aint a real writter if you dont rack to each there own but i say if your really a die hard and down why not rack i mean your taking a risk bombing right when i first started cans of krylon where like three or four dollars a can at the local hardware stores and that was alot especially to a little kid i got sick of hanging out and only having one can then i found out about different racking schems one of which i liked was the beer trick like how we would steal double deuces from the corner store and instead we used the method to take paint but this method would only get you 4 cans at the most especially when your a little kid now thats great and all but as i started to bomb other neighborhoods i needed much more paint and thats when some of the larger tricks came into play where you can score a large ammount of cans in one rack.

In some cases people who rack paint resell it to other writters is that something you do.

BAAL: Oh na i never really understood that concept i go through alot of paint why would i wanna sell it i mean i give my crew paint but i dont sell it to em or anyone else not every writter is in it for the long run graffiti to a diehard is like crack to a crackhead if a crackhead stole a bunch of rocks do you think he would hit the corner and flip it or go somewhere and smoke it If a writter needs money sell drugs or get a job there are alot of ways to get money but why sell your paint you can never have to much paint.

Is there a certain type of paint you like to use.

BAAL: I usualy use rustoleum killz and krylon but there are other not so well known brands i get depending on what state im in.

how do you feel about the out of towner scenerio and is that something that has affected you.

BAAL: Years ago i didint see the waves of out of towners i see today now you have whole crews rolling through different citys crushing but im cool with that i dont dislike a writter cause hes from cali or any other state a lot of writters resent them passing through and i can understand where they are coming from but as graffiti evolves so do its limits and writters just arent content with there own city anymore we all have the same goal in mind its just some more than others have the desire to achieve it no matter what in every city you will always have writters who will have a problem with you for being from another place.

How do you view beef in graffiti now as opposed to years ago.

BAAL: When i first started i saw first hand on a daily basis how violent graffiti can be i remember hangingout and different crews would meet on subway platforms and writters would have one on ones or sometimes brawl one time i was with some friends and we got off on a station and there was another group of kids and one of them had beef with this kid we was chillin with so they fought right there on the platform and later on that night i found out it was all over one of there letters being to similiar to the other kids and i was like damn i would hear stories of certain crews jumping different writters and certain spots you gotta be careful to hit cause you might get jumped the school i went to at the time had alot of graffiti related fights i would hear things like his arrow touched my tag or his letter looks like mine or that was my spot some of it was just stupid but some of it i understood my first direct graffiti related beef was in 94 i believe a kid who wrote the tag mask had went over me and i went out one day dissing him back and in the process i was arrested but since i was a minor at the time nothing happened my father just picked me up from the precinct i remember that day verry well the cop who arrested me thought i wrote book cause back then i would bend my l then he noticed i had went over that kid and he gave me a lecture about how people get shot for doing that and i just laughed so off to the precinct it was I remember a few days after that one of my boys told me where his girl lives so me and a few friends who where in brh a crew we had recently started went to her apartment she was home alone and didint want to let us in but we got in then we had her call him and i got on the phone and he was saying he was sorry and he wanted to drop it so after that we just hung out in hig girls appartment for about an hour then left but i was also on the other end of that i had gotten into other beefs and was jumped a couple times and beat up over graffiti beef is something that comes with it why wouldint you expect that now i view some graff related beef as stupid and unnecessary some instances are simply jelousy or egos runing wild but in some cases a beating is needed even in some of my cases i think a couple of beatings helped me see things differently and opened my eyes graffiti beef today isint really that much different i do notice some newjacks push the envelope on some of the rules though.

How do you feel about legal spots do you view that as selling out.

BAAL: Ive done a few legal spots weather its for a show store or party etc. it dosint have the same feel but overall i have a good time i make the best of it I dont view people who do legal spots as sellouts thers many different parts to the game and legal walls is one of them however if you have no background in the street havent paid any dues and just do legals i dont care how nice your are how many magazines and videos show your work you arent a graffiti writter your just a paid muralist on the outskirts of the game looking in at the rest of us graffiti itself started on an illegal premis and every writter should have illegal fame on there resume.

quanity or quality.

BAAL: Being a bomber i go with quantity but you still need some quality mixed in im always sketchin on paper coming up with new styles ill hit the black books off with something real nice but the walls are for my fillins.

What advice do you have for someone just starting out.

BAAL: Graffiti has changed alot since i started now more than ever you have so many wartered down writters but you also have more writters taking greater risks and hitting crazier spots but dont get cought up in the hype pay your dues hook up with some old school heads and learn all you can originality and lonjevity are key just cause you got a few hot years in the game dont make you special ive seen alot of writters in several different cities go real hard but fall off after 5 or so years and thats all you can add to there credits is they went hard nothing more it kills me when i run into someone who says there a king but only have a few years in the game these people get sucked into the hype and cant even comprehend what it takes to earn that title and with originality you want a tag that sticks out not something that someone else has in everyother state after all where all after the same thing fame you dont want someone to come up to you and say was that you i saw in chicago you want them to say damn i saw you up in chicago.

Do you concider yourself a king

BAAL: Not yet but verry soon im coming up on my 20th year ive paid my dues ive made sacraficies im still here after all the drama im just waiting for that 20 year milestone to make it official.

What do you get out of graffiti

BAAL: I love the excitement im an adrenaline junkie i love the feel and smell of it i think about it more than sex i like all the risks involved and seeing my tag all over the feel of walking through train tunnels and climbing on roofs i love it all.

Any final words.

BAAL: Rest in peace sone hex drone slv007 dae and conol see yous soon brh in the 09s.

dirty hands
12-05-2009, 01:38 AM
POSH



How long have you been writing?

9 years.

How'd you get started?

I started when I was shacked up in Santa Barbara.

A friend of mine had Spraycan Art and Subway Art on his bookshelf. I took a peek, liked what I saw, and he broke down writing to me. I didn't know anything about it at the time, except what I saw on the walls in LA. He wrote "Cisco".

He gave me the basics...but that was about it.

The first "real" writers I met from LA were Clae BC Crew and Kex also BC Crew. Clae got up and always got the best spots in Santa Barbara. Kex taught me how to make a "stencil tip" long before I ever could use one. I just started using them about a year ago for some detailing.

Who brought you up?

Ares pushed me to bomb. He moved up to SB and lived with me for a while. He was a good partner.

Skate1 was really the one who schooled me though. Most of what I believe about graf and how it should be done..I learned from him. He always had time to school the kids and realized this was the only way to pass on what we know to the next generation.

Drew schooled me on the piecing side of things. He pushed me to do 3Ds, Inner-outlines, background, and concepts. He and Mek really pushed not only me, but all of LA to do harder pieces.

Axis has pushed me a lot to do better backgrounds and characters.

What crews do you represent and what do they mean to you?

I'm in CBS, BTP, and LORDS crews.

CBS was the first really big crew I got into. At the time ('91) there weren't too many other crews in LA that a kid would want to be from. AWR and UTI are the others I can think of. It was a serious honor.

BTP was a bombing crew that me, Chalk (now writes Jones-FlyID Crew) and Ache put together in Santa Barbara. We were all the best (and only) writers, so it was natural to form up. You had to do throw-ups and illegal pieces to get in.

dirty hands
12-05-2009, 01:47 AM
RISK pt 1



1. Tell us about your upcoming show, Twenty Six at Track 16 in Santa Monica. Also, what is the meaning behind the title of the show?

Twenty six, represents the twenty six letters of the alphabet, and the 26 years I've been writing. This show is basically a celebration of where I've come from, although I did use some painterly techniques as far as composition and different textures etc. it's all straight Graff. I sat in my studio and pimped them out as if I were out on the streets.

The canvases are all done with a very rough or no sketch with whatever cans I had in the studio. I also did a full body of work including canvases, prints, screens and sculptures, although I've done this stuff before I've never had to so over a hundred pieces of work for one show.

2. How long have you been involved with graffiti and do you think you will be doing it forever?

I've been writing on walls for 26 years, but my Grandma told me I was drawing words when I was a little kid. I would write fire with flames off the top of the letters, or bubble in bubble letters, smoke, clouds stuff like that.

Yea, I think I'll be doing graffiti forever. It's already been over half my life. I already have some serious health problems from it so why quit now.

3. Are you a member of any graffiti crews?

I am down with a lot of crews. I started WCA with Rival, rest in peace. I push MSK, AWR, Seventh Letter and of course I'll be WC forever.

4. Why do you write graffiti?

I write Graffiti to know I'm alive.

5. Were you always active or were there periods that you took a hiatus?

I was always active, you can never stop, especially me. I lived with Krush for years, even when I was busy doing Third Rail, I'd come home and the crew would be there talking Graff shit or checking out flicks or planning a wall etc.

6. Did anyone influence you or mentor you when you were starting out?

Yea , Soon influenced me. He influenced me as far as his shit was clean, his technique. But not style, he was always real big on, doing your own shit.

7. One of your first works that I saw was at a graffiti show that Frame organized in LA in the early 90s. If my memory servers me correctly, it was done on a canvas. It was a letter R with a radio. Do you enjoy working on canvas on a smaller scale or do you prefer a wall?

If it's the one I'm thinking of it was actually done for Skate. It was a T.V, not a radio, but good memory.

I did that TV because Skate was freaking out over some T.V. that Hex did. He liked this gush shit, so I did the S like that with a spike in it. He loved the shit Slick and I were doing with bolts and motion so I did that as well. It was kind of a melting pot of things that he liked as they came to my mind. It was my own personal memorial to Skate, RIP.

dirty hands
12-05-2009, 01:49 AM
RISK pt 2



8. Do you think it is a natural progression for graffiti artists to showcase their work in a gallery?

Yes it is. As long as they have put in work. It's really lame for artist to rob the graffiti culture if they have not put in blood sweat and tears for Graff. It's the last real art form, meaning a medium from hand to surface. It's not done on Computers or with digital assistance. Everything from this point forward will be

9. There seems to be an increased interest in graffiti art recently in galleries, apparel and advertising. Why do you think this is?

Because it is now well over a quarter of a century old with aerosol paint. Graff without aerosol goes back to Cavemen. It has too much history to be ignored any longer. It has endured the test of time, proven itself not to be a fad. Now it's more main stream which makes it more accessible.

10. Do you think graffiti has to be illegal to be graffiti? Do you prefer doing legal walls or illegal walls?

No. Graff does not have to be illegal, but to get true old school graff, you have to have put in time in the streets. Not because that makes you down or any bullshit like that, but because if you haven't painted while looking over your shoulders or with time constraints, or working around different textures and or surfaces you will never achieve that movement and flow.

Without that movement and flow, you may as well do it on a computer. If you ONLY do it on a computer, you're just a sign painter or your faking the funk, robbing the culture. You'll never go far. See it all works together. If you are real, you will be recognized and celebrated through such a venue as a gallery if you choose, or a publication, or a web site etc. If your not real you won't.

It's like corporations using Graffiti To promote their products. It's the same thing. I think its all good because it's really only successful if they use real artist's. Wak Corporations hang themselves because they use a sign painter or a culture pirate. It never really goes far, but on the other hand you have a major corporation using Graff., but they promote dope artist doing the work, I.E. Boost Mobil or Scion etc.

These campaigns work because they can celebrate the artist behind it. If he's real, It's real, and everybody's happy. If your not happy, your probably a hater because your not god enough or haven't put in the dues to get that gig.

11. You have been involved with graffiti for a very long time. Does it affect your family life and relationships?

It used to, but on the same token it got me a lot oflets just say good things. My family now is completely behind me. I have three baby girls, 2 months old, 2 years old, and 10 years old.

The 2 year old and the 10 year old paint with me on the weekends. The two year old needs help pushing the nozzle but still loves it, we draw every night. My whole family knows whats up.

Even on holidays when I go visit my parents I leave their house in the middle of the night to go paint freights, when I come back in the morning my kids are like Dad Dad, let me see!!! And I pass the camera around, then my parents just look at me and I laugh. It's like pay back for all the shit they gave me. Now its my kids, their grandkids, and they can't say anything they just have to deal with it. It took me 26 years but I guess I finally won that battle.

12. Do you think graffiti changed from when you started in the 80s to 2008?

Hell yea, basically this whole interview answers that one.

dirty hands
12-05-2009, 01:50 AM
RISK pt 3



13. I am not trying to ask you to endorse a company, but do you prefer any paint brand over others?

I can't really answer that one right now, because I am working with a few companies on a few projects, However the paint these days is Amazing!!!

14. What do you think about all the new products that are specifically made for graffiti (spray paint, caps, markers, etc.)?

Dope!!!!! It made me get that old feeling again like when you came across icy grape, or hot raspberry, or a old Red Devil. I am working on some products right now as well. I can't talk about them yet. Check back in a few months

15. Do you like to travel and paint outside of Los Angeles?

I love painting in other places. This year I painted in Hong Kong, The Phillipines, Japan, Mexico, Korea, and Spain. I loved every trip!!!

16. For all the newcomers to piecing. What type caps do you like to use for piecing?

There are way too many caps. I use two caps, the yellow universal and an astro fat cap.

17. The internet is a great tool for people to learn about graffiti artists from around the globe. Before the internet, different locations had different writing and piecing styles. Now since everyone has access to the internet, many of the styles look the same. What are your thoughts? Do you think the internet has stifled creativity and originality?

Yes and no. It is way too easy for people to bite, but it has also raised the bar substantially!!! There are kids out there that have only been writing a few years and they are really good. Sometimes I go on MySpace and just trip out how many writers are out there, and how easy it is to communicate. I used to trade flicks via the mail overseas, and it would take weeks, now it takes a minute!!!!

18. Do you usually sketch out your pieces before putting it on a wall?

I go through stages. Lately No, but I will sometimes draw one letter and then just follow that style.

19. Are you currently doing anything design related outside of graffiti?

I am working on a new clothing line that doesn't have much to do with Graffiti. Otherwise everything else I'm working on is Graffiti related.

20. Did you ever consider publishing your work in a book format? Or, maybe a book about your involvement with the early days of West Coast graffiti?

We have been in the process of making a book for over a year now. It will probably come out in late 09. It is a pretty comprehensive book. It is from my childhood until now,It even has a section about my old company Third Rail. There are lots of great stories as well as photos.

Decide
12-05-2009, 01:59 AM
fuck those JA stories are crazy.

notorious_rame
12-05-2009, 12:56 PM
For the love of tits.

Can anybody find the Ayer interview they did? Its the one that they show a little snippet at the end of kings destroy.

newz12
11-12-2010, 09:42 AM
Gomer interview: http://www.bombingscience.com/index.php/blog/viewThread/4049

http://www.bombingscience.com/userfiles/13.jpg

http://www.bombingscience.com/userfiles/43.jpg

http://www.bombingscience.com/userfiles/72.JPG

TrainBenchKingYo
12-16-2011, 08:49 PM
JA ONE the main man... a real writer/artist/vandal. Graffiti king of NYC, and many other areas, possibly the most up of all time... and he's still doing his thing to this day. No one can go has hard as he does (at least not yet;)