Let’s start with you telling us how you came up with your name?
Arest came from an old b-boy name. I was a horrible b-boy. It wasn’t my shit and it was very short lived. 150 came from when I sold acid in high school. They would page me “150” to let me know they wanted LSD and it would get me to come through faster than just your number. At some point the two came together for Arest150.
How did you get into graffiti and how long have you been writing?
I was introduced to graffiti on a family trip to Chicago in 1993. I was actually getting into gang banging at the time. An uncle out there noticed and took me around to see some murals his boy Casper from ASC had done in an attempt to direct my attention to something a bit more positive. It totally worked. He took me to my first graff shop called The Yard and bought be my first pilot marker. When I got back home that’s all I wanted to do. I was already doing gang graffiti so it wasn’t a huge leap. I’ve been loyal to graffiti for longer than anything else in my life and since then, I’ve written my name on something almost every day of my life so don’t expect me to drop it anytime soon.
Can you tell me about your crews and any other crews you’ve been a part of?
WST and ADD. I’ve been with them almost 10 years now. I never really rocked with too many crews, maybe only 3 or 4 crews. When you find the right set of brothers, you find the right set of brothers.
Can you tell us about your style and how do you feel your style has evolved over the years?
Definitely in the beginning it was about getting my name out there, letters were just letters. It was just my name. There was no life to my letters yet. Now, especially being able to have dudes that I look up to that are letter masters, that teach me stuff and what a letter should be, my letters have life. You see the movement. If you look back, you can see where my stuff came from. I have the basic structure. It was all still based off gang tag letters and handstyles.
They taught me about funk and how you should be able to rock a piece in black and white and it would still look good and strong in color. Fuck your fancy effects, you’re a cool artist, but without the letters, it’s nothing. My letters shouldn’t just look good, my A should be able to look good on its own. Things like that help me keep a higher standard. Funk style is funk style, what makes it different is the nuance you add to the style.
Do you prefer walls over trains? How about permission vs illegal walls?
I’m kind of disappointed. I’ve only done 4 trains. I wish I had more. I wish I could go to a small bumblefuck town with no graff scene and a train yard in the middle of nowhere that I could kill just by myself. I’d rather live there versus a huge graff city that has all these walls. That’s where I am in my career right now.
I think it’s one of those things, 17-year-old me was only illegal, now I really don’t care. I just want to paint. The painting is enough. That’s what keeps me in this for so long.
If you’re coming up, and you’re only hitting permission walls, people are going to have questions about you. I don’t care what you do now, as long as you earned your stripes and killed it sometime in your career. There are cats starting at 30 and only doing legals – knock it off. Cats like that making a mockery of what we committed our lives to.
Who or what has influenced your style the most?
I think what’s influenced my style the most would be the letter masters I’ve been lucky enough to surround myself with like Zone and Izzy and the lessons they’ve taught me as well as the letter masters I’ve looked up to since the 90’s like Rime, Geser, Kem, Totem2, and of course Rapes.
Where are you from and what the scene like there? Did you grow up there?
I’m from Southern California. Out here is mad salty. No one wants to give anyone any shine. You have graff writers, tag bangers, and gang bangers here so it’s an interesting mix of friends.
Graffiti to me is about being here to put some funk out there. I’m not here to get up like that anymore, but I am still going to get my work in. The people that know, know. I’m not here to impress strangers any more.
How much time do you put into your craft on a weekly basis?
I draw on a daily basis. Hours and hours a day of letters, color schemes and different concepts. I’m in love with letters, not just my five. All these people that do their letters, it’s dope, but can they do ALL the letters. If you give me a word, I should be able to funk that out. If you can only do your five letters, how good are you really? You can’t be a letter head and not rock all the letters. I’ve been preaching that a long time. I don’t want to be that. I want to be able to do any letter, any time.
You can’t just make shit up, you have to have sound structure. I went thru the alphabet about 3 times the whole way and half way. I even did black grey and white to show you don’t need color to make your letters good. It’s pure funk. That’s why I sketch so much. When you’re sketching you can really see what’s going on.
Was there ever any piece of advice you received when you first started out that has stuck with you?
DON’T BITE AND DON’T SNITCH!!!
I hate when people have an ego about graffiti. It’s just graffiti. There are some that deserve respect for sure, but there’s no one that’s better as a person.
What have been the biggest sacrifices you’ve had to make for your craft (work, money, relationship, etc.)?
I’ve been raided.. that sucked….
Do you ever do any commission work?
I’m always open to commission work. The hard part with graffiti is it’s hard to sell to other graffiti writers, they’ll just do it themselves. I’ll buy some because I like that writer’s work. Most of my stuff comes from outside of graffiti. I also do shows and go to other cities.
Besides “know your history,” if you could teach something or tell the new generation of graffiti writers anything, what would it be?
I think the law of the wall has not been handed down. The older generation bitches about younger writers going over or clipping stuff – but have we passed it down? Did they get any of the guidance that we got? Someone needs to let them know. Also, everyone started somewhere. Be a man of your word. Just because you’re a criminal doesn’t mean you have to be untrustworthy. The graff game will bring a lot of shit your way. Be solid and the real cats with keep with you.
How do you feel the internet and technology has affected the scene?
I think it took the ingenuity and creativity out of graffiti. I think that’s the best way I could put it. People don’t try to figure anything out anymore, they just see it and repeat it. Social media and the internet are just a cheat sheet for a lazy writer who probably won’t last the distance anyways. With the IG generation of writers coming up right now, I wonder if there will be any real graff legends and innovators again. Will there be another Rapes? Another Totem? Another Rime?
The letters don’t seem to reflect personality anymore and come off as just regurgitated graffiti. These guys contributed amazing ideas and concepts the game. I hope there will be more in the future. Legends are legends because they spent the time to invent and perfect themselves. You hardly see that now.
It’s also weird to see people starting graff at a late age. If you didn’t draw a girl’s name to get laid in high school, you started too late. You missed out on a big part of it. I was so young, I didn’t even know where to get paint. I would break into the garages in the neighborhood at 13 years old and steal random paint, trying to make it work. If you’re afraid of Rusto – get out of here – you just don’t know how to use a can properly. There are also people always asking about spots. There are some “graffiti photographers” that take it personally when you won’t spot drop for them. I wouldn’t even give that spot to a writer, I’m not going to give it to a photographer.
The only good thing about the internet is meeting writers from other cities and countries you respect and being able to connect with them. I sound like a grumpy old graff guy.
How have you grown?
Before it wasn’t clean. It had to be up and big so you can read it at 80 MPH. Now I’m doing pieces that I have to think about someone is standing 2 feet in front of it. It makes you learn how to use a can and you gotta rock it out. People are going to be in front of it looking at each detail. You are only as good as your last piece. If I rock garbage, then I’m garbage until my next piece.
What really drives you and keeps you painting?
Seeing what my letters are going to evolve into next, seeing where they came from, and where I started. I look back at things from 5 years ago and think it looks horrible but I see that I’m progressing. I’ll see things that I was starting to figure out and I see it now and I feel good with what I’m doing. New friendships I’ve made through graffiti along with the stories and good times is what graffiti is to me now.
What is the dream for you or the big goal with graffiti and your art?
I just want to have a good time, meet good people and make graffiti great again. Bring letters back! I’m not interested in being famous, I’m good at flying under the radar.
Where’s the coolest place you’ve visited.. for graff or in general? Any upcoming trips or events?
My favorite place is Kansas City. It’s been kind of underground but now it’s getting bigger. It’s really dope.
This year I went to Mexico, Kansas City, Phoenix and Richmond, VA all for painting. I want to give a shout out to YEARS CHUY and SICK from KE crew.
I will be visiting Kansas City again in 2019 and I’d love to go back out to Chicago, but I haven’t planned a trip yet.
Got any crazy bombing stories?
There’s been so many, but just to name a few, I’ve seen hobos fucking, hobos shitting, offered a blow job for $2 and when I told her no, she called me a faggot.
Bombing in Downtown once with Ryspo we finally got back to his truck and he realized he locked his keys in his truck. There we were in the middle of the night breaking into his truck and the cops roll up on us. There we are breaking into his truck with our hands covered in paint and ink and somehow we got out of it.
Who are your favorite artists and writers that you follow today?
RAPES (RIP) he was a king and a huge influence. Also GES 3A, KEM5 and TOTEM2
Do you have any upcoming projects or anything else you are working on that we should know about?
I’ll be at Kansas City Master Piece again this year! That is coming up in Kansas City June 7-9th. Also later in the year, Kingz of Style will be taking place again. Keep an eye out for more information on that.
I also want to see how many other names I can do. It’s like an exercise. It’s like hitting the gym. I got my workout in, I’m a better graffiti writer now. I might go back to my letter a day project. But I’d like to go to connections. I don’t want to do characters. I just love my letters. I’m a letterhead. If I do a letter a day and a full color scheme every day for a year, I have 365 ideas in a book for when I want to go to paint.
Any shout outs? Where can people follow you?
Zone WST, Izzy WST, Pesa WST, Style WST, Grabs WST, Perve WST, Spic ADD, Cyber ADD, CMGeezy ADD, Goer 7th Letter, Sril, and Years, Chuey, Sick, and Frost from KC!
You can follow me on Instagram at @lorenzolovegun.
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me for Bombing Science!
Thank you Bombing Science and Melissa (@LissAhhB on IG)