If you recognize 3ayem’s graffiti it’s because you have probably seen it all over youtube and instagram, not to mention on the walls of your city. 3ayem is an internationally known writer, with flicks and footage of pieces he has done all over the country and the world.
There is an elite few graffiti artist who become internationally known, and it takes a lot of practice and even more putting in work out in the streets. Really pushing hard to get one’s name out there in the community, and not jus the graffiti community but society at large. Over the past decade or so I’ve seen the largest amount of mainstream graffiti. Between the paint companies, clothing brands and skateboard collaborations it’s hard to keep track of it all. But it is nice to see an art form that once was not even considered art, to now by hanging in high class art galleries and selling for hundreds and even thousands of dollars. It like slapping the rich elitist class in the face and doing exactly what they told us we never could do. 3ayem is one of the artists at the forefront of this movement. Along with writers like Pemex, Toro, Seventh Letter Crew, Ecko, Obey, Blaze1 and many others, 3ayem has helped pioneer mainstream graffiti.
And he has done it whilst never ceasing to bomb the shit out of the streets of whatever city he happens to be located in at any given moment. There are those who do not consider graffiti an art form and prefer to promote it as vandalism. The fact is, calling it vandalism puts limits on graffiti and what graffiti artists are allowed to do and still be considered legit by the scene. Putting limits on graffiti is sacrilegious, graffiti art is about pushing limits not limiting ourselves as artists. I look forward to more of his work, not only in Oakland, but all over the planet. And if you don’t know, now you know.
What do you write and how did you come up with that name?
I been writing 3ayem since I was 14, I thought of the name 3am from a old book my mom had about the Witching hour, eventually added the YE to make it longer.
What is your favorite surface to paint?
All depends on what style I’m gonna paint, but top 3- flat surface, roll downs, and
When did you first know that you wanted to be a graffiti artist?
I’ve always been into art, I decided to do Graff when I was in 4th grade after seeing a friend of my older brothers black book. That had a big inspiration in doing letters.
Who are some of your main influences in graffiti?
I’ve had a few key writers in graffiti who really helped motivate me in pushing new style. Some Friendships have ended but gotta give credit to those writers ; Faroe, Gams, Tone, Mier, Seeoh, Irot, Exel, Pemex, in that order haha
What advice do you have for younger taggers coming up in today’s graffiti scene?
For young writers entering the scene my opinion would be just do you, the less people you know the less problems, don’t get bitter if a doper writer who’s been in it longer goes over you, get better. Don’t paint for politics boy
How has graffiti changed since you first got involved?
Graffiti hasn’t changed much for me, Ive progressed overtime and lost some friends but my energy to express myself through painting has always been the same if not more so now and days.
Where is your favorite city or country to paint and why?
I love painting in the East Bay Area for sure. Madrid is dope too.
It sounds like your art is influenced by your family, would you say this is true?
Yes, my family has had a big influence on my art, good and bad.
What’s your favorite thing about graffiti?
My favorite thing about this shit is being able to break limitations and always progress for myself. Graffiti has been there for me when no one else has, defiantly an outlet.
Who do you think is bombing the hardest these days?
I couldn’t name just one, a lot of writers are out right now getting active especially in the Bay [Area, CA].
How do you feel about the youtube exposure your art is getting?
Honestly, I’m kind of a low key guy and I keep my identity on the low and I’m not sure how I feel about any kind of exposure. Though we go out and take the videos and flicks and post them, but if we weren’t the ones doing it, others would. I bomb hard, it’s bound to happen.
Anything else to add? Or any shout outs?
Shout out to all my homies new and old you know who u are. Shout out to all the people constantly crushing shit.
Short, sweet and to the point. A solid interview from a solid and talented graffiti artist. I truly hope the youngsters who read this can take something from the article and heed some of the advice given. Stay active and stay motivated and most importantly, stay up!
Interview by Skaz One
Follow 3Ayem on instagram