I write Aker47. I began writing the first half of this name in 1995 in Washington DC where I was born. I grew up mostly in northern Virginia and spent time between Washington DC and VA writing on things up until 1999 when I moved to Richmond VA.

I got into graffiti, drugs, and destruction at a young age but soon due to fallouts with friends and family, I quickly got into the hardcore and punk scene in Washington DC. I started painting, going to shows, and working in a kitchen in high school which suited my outcast mentality. A lot of us get into this shit because we don’t do well with others and we don’t know how to express ourselves within society’s boundaries. 

There were a lot of talented writers in Washington DC in the nineties and it was a crazy subculture containing elements of rap, gogo, hardcore, and punk music that was highly influential on my being. It shaped my style, my movement, and my personality. Bands like Battery, The Suspects, Darkest Hour, worlds collide, northeast groovers, The Goons, Better than a Thousand, Backyard Band, No Justice, Junkyard Band, etc were definitely setting it off. I had family in New York so growing up going between the DC area and New York I got to look at a lot of really solid graffiti.

My major influences were Cycle, Felon, SMK, Cha, Cast144, Scan53, Some End, Exakto, Ultra KGB, Jase, Onorok, Cert, Cool Disco Dan, Myer, Horizon, Sento, MQ, Setup, Desa, Twist, Espo, and Reas.  

In the 5 yrs I was in Richmond VA, I got into drugs, hustling, racking, and a bunch of other degenerate shit. I found myself staring into a lengthy jail sentence.

So after getting wrapped in 2004, I jumped bail to the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve lived here on and off for the last 20 years. The Bay Area has tons of style and is a crazy jungle gym of good times. I came out here and immediately sank my teeth in.

Spending time and money on travel has been my favorite thing to do and has led me to paint a lot of different countries and see places I’d never imagined seeing.

Don’t spend your money on drugs, alcohol, and partying. That’s a waste. Outside of survival, Spend it on traveling and education. Invest your time and money into things that make you smarter, and wealthier, as well as staying mentally and physically well off. 

Writing graffiti has taken me to some incredible and awful places. It’s the give and take with this obsession. It feeds you but it will also take a bite out of ya at random. It’s fun but sometimes fun has consequences.

Our choices and our actions make us who we are. I’ve made many mistakes in my life and I’ve been taught many hard lessons. Luckily I’m still standing and I’m much stronger mentally and physically than I’ve ever been.

 Big shoutouts to my friends in MC and Top Dogs for bringing me back out and showing me some good paths. Lots of love from those friendships that remain. They say crews and beefs are good for the culture but honestly, I avoid both. No one is paying you to do this shit so why waste time creating drama. It’s nuts. Get a new hobby if that’s your MO. If you are out here doing this shit but you’re not earning, educating yourself, taking care of your family, and taking care of yourself; well then you are doing it wrong.  It doesn’t matter how good you are at painting, you are a joke if you’re not handling your business. 

I spend the majority of my time these days designing and building homes on and offshore. Spent most of my life destroying property and now I get to build it. Gotta love them apples. Funny how things go. I never thought this was where all this would take me but I’m eternally grateful for it. Graffiti is amazing because of its endlessness, the choose-your-own-adventure opportunities, the momentary yet lasting chaos, and its ability to engage people in various ways.  The action is old as dirt and I see it more now than ever. It’s everywhere….

Anyway, that’s my 2 cents. My parting words are to stay in school, work hard to be smarter, keep a job, give more to people who need it, respect and honor your parents, and love your friends and family. You only live once so do it right ✌️🌹🙏💥💪…Also new zine out called “There is no Justice there’s Just Us” on QQ Press. Grab one @qqpress or hit up @aker47madethis 💥

Follow AKER47 on Instagram @persevere74