It’s an honor for real, to get this free game from a legend. Rocking the nation since 1982, fly as could be as an Los Angeles architect in this style writing movement. He employs words like “untouchable, timeless, balance, higher levels, process” as he holds court on the Bombing Science platform. While not teaching art, doing motivational speaking or dropping burners, you can find Cre8 dropping gems right here for our graffiti drenched brains. So join me in this rare opportunity to chill with one of the greats, OG Cre8!
Cre8, it’s an honor to chop it up with you. Your history is legendary, you’re still about it and yet you’re open to blessing the next generation with game. When did you start painting and who inspired you in the beginning?
I started doing gang style writing & creative style writing in 1982 at the age of 9. I grew up in South Central L.A. and I saw plenty of writing with spray paint on the walls with creative gang block lettering & old english calligraphy writing which had my full attention at a young age. Also I liked looking at record covers, movie posters and comic books back in the early 80’s which had an impact on my creative development but by the 7th grade around 1986 I had a mentor by the name of “Bizzare” who taught me how to do fresh pieces in piece books and also I had another mentor name “Rish” who taught me how to paint on the walls, both of my mentors were very talented with plenty of skills & they gave me those skills & I had discipline, determination and persistence with a strong passion / burning desire to succeed.
“In my crew we want people who can hold their own weight without relying on using a crew name to stand behind them”
You’re one of the Los Angeles architects when it comes to graffiti, what other places have you traveled to?
I have traveled to Miami, San Antonio Texas, El Paso Texas, Dallas Texas, Chicago, Fresno, Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, Las Vegas and several other places to name a few to paint at different painting events. I enjoy traveling to other cities and states to share my creative styles amongst other style writers.
Tell me about your crew RTN?
RTN crew has been around for 31 years and I am the president of the crew. We are a South Central L.A. based crew that are grounded in our style roots and also expanding in our creativity for longevity with a diverse group of writers / artist that specialize in many creative talents and skills. In my crew we want people to be dedicated & can hold their own weight without relying on using a crew name to stand behind them, we believe that if you are good by yourself already, you can be greater amongst other great artists to be creative with. We don’t want any people that are not looking to be successful in life as a person & as an artist on all levels. We feel that it don’t matter if you are a great artist but you are not a team player with a bad attitude and a trouble maker which is something we don’t want in our crew at all period. We care about our crew members that know how to take care of themselves and families along with focusing on being the best they can strive to be in life. When joining my crew you must really show your great creative skills and know how to work well with others, and know how to except constructive criticism which makes a dynamic crew.
“The letters must have style, rhythm, balance and structure in order to be untouchable and can stand the test of time to be timeless.”
I feel that. Just solid individuals. Now what I love about your pieces is that you have style. There is a solid foundation to it versus just having a bunch of wild colors thrown together. Drop some gems on us about style and creating your own style.
My style comes from my family tree of great styles of inspiration that inspired me directly & indirectly from the east coast to the west coast style masters. We firmly believe that style comes first, skills come second & everything else follows behind. If we do our pieces they must be strong & can hold weight without color in them if it came down to it just to show people you have true letter structure. The letters must have style, rhythm, balance and structure in order to be untouchable and can stand the test of time to be timeless. Also what’s important to know and understand is that you must have multiple diverse styles so that people don’t know what you going to hit them with next on the menu. Give birth to new creative styles & give them names along with being original even though we all get inspired by others but just make sure to put your twist on it and don’t be copying or biting.
That response is everything, straight gems. So tell me, if you could have a dream line up, who’s painting with you this coming weekend?
My dream line up is a mighty strong team of heavy hitters. It’s to many to name but here we go: TEMPT, GREEN, CHARLIE, RYSE, SOON, BUGS, RODER, TEAL, LADIE, ENKONE, MARK7, DEFER, MINER, DESIGN 9, SKILL, CRIME, SKETCH, TELER, EARN, RISH, OG ABEL, MR. CARTOON, REV, REFA, CRAYONE, VOUGE, KUFU, AISEBORN, SKEME, CHAIN 3, TKID, VULCAN, ABBY, DOVES, TOTEM, DERO, DEZ, SERVE, KADE 198, TEAN, MODE 2, CES, RELIC, and the list goes on with the best stylist & for those other writers that are on top of their styles you included as well in this special line up.
Wow, thank you Cre8. They say, “never meet your heroes” because you might be disappointed. When I met you long ago at your walls in South Central, you were very welcoming and cool which I always remembered. What are your thoughts on the psychology of leadership?
I have met some of the people I admire and yes some people are full of themselves with egos and silly attitudes that is unnecessary because we all start off as beginners and we have to grow but just remember that their is always another artist becoming better and better so watch out because you can be forgotten and taken out in a battle of style to see what you are really made of so stay humble and remember to help others to grow so we can continue to have a strong rich legacy especially if you meet a young determined hungry writer with that serious passion. But remember to always give recognition to those that helped you along the way of you becoming great, and I say that because people learn from great people sometimes and never tell others that certain people helped them to become great.
“There is so much you can do creatively and it can take you to higher levels”
I appreciate how humble you are and your loyalty to those who contributed to your journey. I feel like a lot of our elders & OG’s got victimized by the system & locked up which left a lot of youngsters without guidance. The streets raised us but some people ended up going down the darkest paths and never came back or fully recovered. Where is your place in all this?
In the early 80’s there were plenty of great writers that many people don’t know about that was around town and got caught up in gangs, drugs and some just wanted to retire early and do other things. I firmly believe that is important to don’t give up being creative for getting involved in activities that can destroy your life, there is so much you can do creatively and it can take you to higher levels as a person such as myself. Learn to stay focused on the positive things and not the negativity as an artist in life.
“Make the best out of your life by being the best version of you and understand that it is a process which is not going to happen over night”
Tell us about some of your favorite movies & music?
I love real true Hip Hop music, the kind that is powerful and strong. I’m not into that soft weak commercial radio R&B wanna be Hip Hop, I grew up in the early 80’s where the music had a strong drum beat which we call the Boom Bap. But I also like Reggae & Funk music from the 70’s & 80’s that you can feel in your soul to make you move your body. As far as my favorite movies growing up I would say the Warriors, Style Wars, Wild Style, Beat Street, The Pilot, Krush Groove & Breakin
What else are you into besides art?
I’m into having the luxury lifestyle and enjoying life at it’s best traveling and getting the most out of life which I deserve. I do art as a hobby and for a living with my career so I always do what I enjoy and it is a great feeling. I want to encourage anyone reading this to enjoy your life and make the best out of your life by being the best version of you and understand that it is a process which is not going to happen over night but if you stay dedicated you will see great results in your life.
“I encourage people to reach for the stars & keep your eyes on the prize at all times.”
What is something that people would be surprised to know about you?
One thing that people would be surprised to know about me is that I don’t sit around and draw Graff everyday. I believe in not playing something out because you just doing it like a robot over & over instead of doing things with a great purpose and meaning. Also being an art instructor & motivational speaker I can’t go out mobbing & bombing doing illegal pieces out in the public because I paid my dues on that level in the early 80’s for those that was around and remember what I did on those levels but now as a grown mature business man / artist I have to be responsible for my actions which comes with severe penalties in these times. For those of you who think you can still be out doing illegal activities as you get older & you have kids, a significant other, job or what ever else that you value just remember their is a major price to pay that you can’t get back & you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it for you?
“This art form has given me determination, discipline, mental strength and courage”
That’s tight. What do you daydream about in traffic or while at red lights?
I dream about traveling, living a happy peaceful healthy and wealthy lifestyle and elevating to higher levels of growth constantly because I believe everything else will follow that is good and worth it. I encourage people to reach for the stars & keep your eyes on the prize at all times.
What are some things that graffiti taught you and how did it impact you?
Style Writing has impacted me to bring out the best in me creatively. This art form has given me determination, discipline, mental strength and courage to pursue my visions that comes from within my mind and soul. As an art instructor & motivational speaker I have made a difference in many peoples lives which is very special to me & God has blessed me with many great wonderful opportunities that I have been able to enjoy life at it’s best.
What’s the wildest thing that has ever happened to you while painting?
The most wildest interesting thing that happened to me while painting is having law enforcement give me compliments while doing a mural in the public or communities and they say keep up the great work and they love it.
How do you see West Coast Los Angeles graffiti in comparison to other cities/parts of the world.
West Coast Writing culture is very different these days because most of the yards we painted at are closed & I miss going to the yards painting and watching other great style writers paint….The yards were our play grounds to be creative and innovative along with meeting so many talented people from all walks of life. Now we have the new generation that can’t experience that feeling to give them that energy we felt because now social media took over and we click one button for a like and maybe a comment if people are not hating on your greatness.
So many great LA yards have come & gone! What’s next for you & your art?
I have some new creations coming this summer out the laboratory that I’m excited to share with the world. I have plenty of new custom art for sale that I’m looking for new collectors to purchase and collect my art for their homes or offices, and if people want to see more of my work you can find me on Instagram @king_cre8 please inbox me if you are interested in getting custom art done or if you want my Graff collectibles.
Thank you for sharing a glimpse into your world, it is appreciated.