Alright so thanks for taking the time out to do this interview, can you give us a brief introduction to who you are, what your history is in the graffiti game and what crew do you rep?
Sup up everyone, I write Grab, reppin FDC crew based out of South Florida, Miami Area. I’ve been writing for about 20 years now. I was first influenced by the New York graffiti scene growing up there as a kid, I got around with a tag my boy gave me and a bad throwie for the first year or 2 but didn’t really start painting letters till I moved to Florida and met writers down here.
Do you make your fulltime living from graffiti? How did you land your first gig doing mural work?
Yes, I make a living off my artwork. Aside from selling pieces and commissioned walls, I run an art company called Funky Paint that provides art work services, mostly commercial murals but also residential and other things like live paintings and workshops for events. I remember my first paid mural many years ago, it was for an auto body shop, my dad’s friend hired me, I did ok with the letters but struggled painting a car using only rustoleum at the time, it came out pretty bad, but the guy was Happy with it.
I love the Graffiti TV spot you did on YouTube, how did this go down? Do you get asked to do a lot of videos like this and have you ever thought of doing your own YouTube channel?
Thanks, yeah I’m real happy with how that video came out, props to the videographer he killed it! I’ll take credit for picking the song though.. the graffiti piece was aiight, I feel I coulda done better. I just got a message from Spray Daily one day asking if I would be interested in doing a feature for their GraffTV channel, and I thought it was a cool opportunity, I’ve seen some good writers with dope videos on there. Yeah, I’ve done a few videos with videographers, but that Spray Daily Video is my favorite. I also like the one on Bombing Science. If I don’t think the project is going to come out dope, I much rather not get filmed. I had a YouTube channel a while back but didn’t have time to edit and post videos anymore.. now I’m busy helping with my daughter’s YouTube channel about making slime n shit.
In your opinion what separates a commercially successful artist and an unsuccessful artist? How does one bridge the gap from doing this as a hobby and trying to pursue a career?
I think what makes you a “commercially successful” artist, is happiness. Everyone’s ideal salary is different, who am I to tell you you’re not successful if you’re happy doing what you love. If you’ve achieved happiness living off your art that’s successful to me. There’s many ways to pursue a career as an artist now in days. Endless ways to make money off art, I recommend you do your research and see what type gigs you can see yourself doing for years and try to master that craft.
I see you like to do a lot of characters in your walls, what inspires you to put them into your work, for example I really like the Ninja Scroll piece you did. Were you a big anime fan growing up? Is it easier to market yourself when you can do both letters and characters?
Yes, I love doing tributes to cartoons or movies that inspired me. Especially Anime, and comic book characters. I guess it’s easier to market yourself if you can execute different levels of graffiti art.
What kind of music do you listen to when you paint? Also I liked the dance video that you have a clip of on you instagram, I’m curious how did you get involved in Paranoid music? How important is music to what you do daily?
I listen to all sorts of music when I paint, hip hop, funk, breaks, reggae.. depends what and who I’m painting with too. When I’m painting my retro futuristic shit, by myself I listen to a lot of that synth music that matches the art. Music is so important to my work.. you can ask around, they’ll tell you, I always bring a speaker to paint. I like to DJ the paint sessions.
When you were coming up who were your biggest inspirations? Who were the guys that inspired you to get into graffiti and what keeps you coming back now?
To name some writers that influenced me throughout my years, I would start with the early NY train writers in the 80’s like Skeme, Seen, Doze, Mare, Dondi. In 90’s -2000’s Dash, Can2, Bates, Totem2, Ces, Yes2, Siner. Then Getting into my graffiti development Till now I am most influenced by my crew FDC.
Any crazy travel stories you can share? Where all have you been in the world and where do you currently reside?
I do travel around quite a bit, it’s great painting different cities and countries, different cultures. I’ve bounced around the US leaving my mark in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Denver, I go to California and Puerto Rico at every year, and had cool Euro paint trip this summer when I was invited to paint at Roskilde festival. But The country I’ve visited the most is my home county of Brazil, I can tell you a few good stories from painting there.. one time I was painting a trackside in the favela, and I witnessed a man get stomped on the tracks by a gang of kids with sticks and rocks.. when I asked my friend why, he said It was because that man was robbing from the houses in the neighborhood and raping women in their favela, where the cops don’t help much and so sometimes neighborhood kids gotta serve their own justice. That was a scary real part of the lifestyle. But it’s also a special feeling every time I paint In Brazil, my roots, seeing the humble streets I came from, inspires me to take it further.
Any shout outs you would like to give? where can people follow you?
Big shout out to my fam FDC, WST, 2DX homies, BGSK bboy squad. Everyone in the scene worldwide who show me love, and those who also put in work for the culture. Peace -G
You can follow Grab FDC on Instagram.
Interview by Wesley Edwards