Art is a product of the ego, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, through Art the individual understands, interprets and expresses the world in their own way and Graffiti just happens to add a mobilizing element to this through constant exploration and competition. If graffiti wasn’t based around being better than someone else then who knows what it’d look like, though you certainly wouldn’t walk as far that’s for sure.
I write Getoe, the crews I rep are CK and LSK, I’m from San Diego California. I first got into graffiti when I was in the 8th grade in middle school. Always been an artist since I was a young kid but when I saw the kids in my school do graffiti right away I knew that I could do a lot better than them. I challenged myself to be better than the kids in my school. What first appealed to me was that I had to go out and learn more about it.
I started catching tags, from tags came throw-ups and blocks then I started to create my own flow of letters.
The initial and fundamental drives of the graffiti artist; intrigue, self-confidence, and momentum. Graffiti is sought out, it is not handed to you, you cannot sit at home and be a writer, you have to crawl into the underbelly of society to get to it. Sometimes with only your self-confidence and a vague sense of direction to guide you.
It wasn’t so much about the competition in graff but I grew up as a kid competing in sports so I always had that mentality in me when I started writing at the age of thirteen. That changed as the years went by I learned that my only competition was myself, that if I got better it was because I was challenging my self every time I caught a tag a bomb a burner or a piece.
Always improving and not staying stuck on one thing. Once you think you’ve figured it all out your wrong there’s always something your going to learn.
We all know writers with different strengths, weaknesses and bizarre ways of doing things but its the relaxed confidence in this personal technique and strategy that shines through as the years pass that comes to define you. It is this then you could say that defines a ‘writer’ in the truest sense of the word when they are playing the game, but in their own way.
The scene here in north county growing up we had a lot of yards under freeways and a lot of tunnels, the buff has always been quick here but we have some killer spots. There’s a lot of dope writers and crews growing up that had so much skill that made me push my skills to the next level like WT, BDR, NCT, NR and a lot of more that I could keep going for days.
So with that being said if you wanted to paint in these yards you would have to bring the heat and not just your piece but characters and backgrounds. If you couldn’t burn it you couldn’t cap it. So I quickly had to come up with some dope styles that were different. Everybody took a lot of practice in their books, sketching for days.
If done properly the development of technical confidence should run parallel to the development of environmental knowledge, your style confidence growing as your awareness of what is feasible in a given area increases. This requires hours of exploration, putting the work into your environment to work out how best to approach it – this knowledge is then taken back to the sketchbook and developed further, thus the classic journey that Getoe spoke about earlier is highlighted – “I started catching tags, from tags came throw-ups and blocks then I started to create my own flow of letters. “
The journey looks like this;
See others (external) – Sketch (internal) – Explore and get up (External)
Then just repeat.
I wouldn’t describe my style as a wild style or a burner because I feel like that’s a lot different. My styles are symmetrical, so maybe I would call it symmetrical style. I think my name is perfect for that style because the letter G and E have a lot in common and the same with the E and O and to make it even better a T in the middle.
My inspiration comes from just knowing that every time you paint your only getting better at your craft, graffiti is endless there is no final stage. That’s what’s so inspiring for me. All the traveling and meeting new writers just being able to be free in graffiti.
‘How would you describe your style’ is a difficult question because its somewhat beyond words, sure you can talk about the lines and colors and endless arrows but it’s predominantly a feeling learned from everything we’ve spoken about so far. Its a certain muscle tension and idea unique to the user. More often than not you can tell how active a writer is on the streets from their tag alone, it looping right back around to that original principle and something Getoe mentioned right at the start, that graffiti is something you have to go out and learn.
In my opinion, a graffiti writer is somebody that is active in the game, whatever aspect you look at it from whether your a freight bomber, freeway bomber, tags and throw-ups, pieces, and burners. Get it in however you can get it in. It’s a hard one cuz everybody has their own strong opinion of what a graffiti writer should be.
The duty of the graffiti writer is to expose the true appearance of modern experience, to explain how the nightmare works in order to wake everyone up. Mass media, computers, transport systems and advanced technology control the very condition of existence. The world we see is not the real world but the world we are conditioned to see. We all are part of the audience looking at the show but we aren’t thinking like spectators. And that is what we have become because we have been conned into substituting material things for actual experiences. The goal of mass culture, the consumer and modern commodity society is to alienate and keep us apart..
Modern Graffiti begins, grows and disappears because frustrated individuals bypass the world of official expression. Graffiti is mystery and mischief. That is why it is attractive.”
– Buford Youthward
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