1) Alright so thanks for taking the time out to do this interview, can you give us a brief introduction of how you got to this point? When did you start, what crew do you rep and what’s the story behind the title “abuse”?
I write ABUSE. I represent the legendary MSG Crew from Miami and The International IRIES Crew from Paris. I started painting graffiti when I was 15 years old and have been drawing since I can remember. Ive written too many words/names than I care to mention. I really love trying new letter combinations and approaches. I chose the word “ABUSE” because it is a word of power and weight. I also really like the balance of the letters in the word itself. The U is a perfect center piece surrounded by some really good letters.
2) I see in your Instagram posts that you did a spot in a vice piece repping your crew can you tell us how that went down? Did they reach out to you directly? This must be a proud moment for you, so congrats on that.
Yes, VICE reached out to MSG (specifically CROME) to do a documentary on the crew. I got a vague phone call and didn’t really know what to expect when I finally met up with them. There was a lot of discussion before anything was filmed. We did a few interviews and then took them around to get some live shots. I’m proud to help get all eyes on MSG Crew. Many great people put hard work and their lives on the line for this Crew and I’m proud to continue pushing forward in their honor.
3) What is your favorite documentary or book that covers the history or major players of graffiti and why?
My favorite graffiti movie is Style Wars because it is a real time capsule of an era that is long gone. I romanticize and imagine the good old days and wish I would have experienced them. I worked for SEEN at his tattoo shop in the Bronx, so maybe I’m biased but Richie’s work and persona has had such an impact and direct influence on me and my graffiti. My favorite graffiti book is The History Of American Graffiti. Although I came up looking at older books (arguably more classic titles) I still feel this is my favorite because it is a chronological story of American Graffiti. When I was younger, I looked at what the current top writers were doing for inspiration. As I developed my own style and taste I realized looking at history was actually more inspirational.
4) You seem to have a firm grasp on color and lettering, did you go to school for anything art related or are you completely self taught? What do you do for a career?
As far as “schooling” is concerned I went to a magnet high school for two years. I ended up getting kicked out for bad grades and eventually dropped out of highscool to pursue my tattoo career. It’s hard to say I’m completely self taught. I’ve been fortunate enough to paint alongside some of the best artist around. I’m always paying attention to technique and I’m always throwing new tricks in the bag.
5) Are you someone who believes that getting paid to do murals goes against the spirit of graffiti? Do you plan on making this a full time career one day or do you think it would kill the fun of it?
I believe that getting paid for painting murals and painting graffiti are two completely different things. I do both. But I keep the two separate. Graffiti for me is fun and the spirit can not be killed. Tattoos and murals are my career. I’ve never worked a day in my life. This is what I’ll proudly do until I’m dead.
6) What kind of music do you listen to when you paint? Who is your favorite hip hop artist and why?
I’ll listen to whatever. Lately I’ve really been enjoying psychedelic rock and stoner metal. I’m a huge hip hop head so I can’t even begin to answer that question. It’s too difficult for me to choose a favorite.
7) For those out there that are hungry to improve at their craft but don’t know how to exactly what do you recommend? Is there any specific practice or exercise that you have discovered that has helped you over the years?
I’ve learned over the years by repetition. Practice practice practice. With the internet making everything so easily accessible, these days there is no excuse. Look at your history books. Realize the greats before you had way less available to them and were still able to rock. Find the OGs in your hometown and paint with them. Listen to the oldhead graffiti folk lore and learn more than just technique. Learn respect.
8) any crazy crew travel or jam experiences you can share? What cities have you not bombed that you plan on hitting next?
My two favorite graffiti trips I’ve been on are, a road trip to New York in 2009 with CROME and YNOT (rest in peace). It was the trip that got me into MSG. another trip was one recently to the Crush Walls mural festival in Denver with my big brother QUAKE MSG. Both of these trips are monumental moments in my life filled with invaluable memories and some of my favorite pieces I’ve ever painted with my friends. I plan on painting/ tattooing in every city I travel to. I travel a lot with tattooing and it makes it easier to paint in other cities and countries.
9) when you were coming up who inspired you and taught you the ropes and who inspires you now? Can you name any artists that are really blowing your mind right now?
When I was coming up it was impossible to ignore what CROOK & CROME we’re doing in South Florida. They were the first writers I saw go all city and it was infectious. They made me want to bomb. Other writers like QUAKE, SEEN, ABSTRK, SINER, GOREY, BENOE, FREEK, ASTRE-74, ARIVE, REVOK, PUCHO and so many more inspired my style when I was coming up and still till this day.
10) Any shout outs you would like to give? where can people follow you?
Shout out to the founders and leaders of the crews I push. Shout out to all the members of all the crews I have ever pushed. Shout out to everybody that’s painted a spot with me. Shout out to everyone that’s put me up. Shout out to anybody I’ve put up. Shout out to my tattoo brothers and sisters around the world. Shout out to anyone that has given me paint. Shout out to my homies in jail and rehab. Shout out to all the fallen homies. Shout out to my demons and substances.Peace and respect to all writers and crews. You can follow me on Instagram @a_b_u_s_e
Interview by Wesley Edwards