Recently we met up with NYC native Hace in Lower East Side streets. We planned to link at a construction site where we could paint a quick piece on a container before getting down to the Q&A. Unfortunately, minutes into filling in a flatbed truck pulled up and stopped at our backs. Not sure why it stopped we waved them to safely pass us. The construction guys laughed, “You’d better get that outline up before we load it up.” Hace continued filling in minding his own business with the occasional, “Really, this is happening?” and “Where are you taking it?” accompanied by a hand slap on the leg in confusion and enjoyment. He recalled and laughed at the bad luck he’s recently had. One of the construction guys went to jump atop the container and failed multiple times, Hace wasn’t having his inability to climb up 8 feet so he jumped up top no sweat and proceeded to do the guys job for him, hooking oversized chains onto the corners of the rusty, bent container. We watched as the container was lifted off and then made our way to a dark dive bar.
Hey Hace, how about you introduce yourself

Hace Frio, native New Yorker born in the Bronx, Castle Hill which is basically the fucking birthplace of train graffiti. Anything that was actually good that came into legitimate format and structure from the UA kids. That’s the neighborhood that I was born in then we moved to a different section of the Bronx and then I lived in Manhattan for the last 15 years. That’s how the shit got started, I think in Castle Hill.

How did you get into graffiti?

I was always aware of graffiti but I didn’t necessarily take part in it. Ever since I was a kid in the backseat of my parents car I was always aware of graffiti, there was never a time I was not. It’s very strange, I feel like it’s always been around. My mom used to buy her underwear on White Plains Road with my grandmother, that’s underneath the 2s and the 5s on White Plains Road, and there was a little mall there. I was like five or six years old they would go in and buy underwear while I’d stay outside with my grandfather right underneath the train. We’d see trains go by and see a ton of train graffiti. To me it was just scribbles, I didn’t understand what it was but it was always there. Always in the backdrop. My parents are originally from Harlem so we’d go down to see family members and I remember vividly sitting in traffic on the FDR seeing stuff on the walls. I was like, what is that? What is that!? But it’s just a kid thought that comes and goes and you put it together later on. I was always aware of it but it wasn’t until I was around 11 or 12 a friend of mine from elementary school he had, what’re they called? They were called Magic Markers back then which is so embarrassing. It’s a household item that he brought out with him and he was just writing on shit. I was like, yeah I’ll write on shit of course. It’s part of damaging shit. I’m down with that. I’m down with breaking stuff. I’m down with being a little shit head. It kinda took off from there. I didn’t necessarily know the rules of graffiti or the format of graffiti but that was my first tag experience. I remember we stood on his mountain bike to write on the bottom of a stop sign and I remember riding by later in the year and being like, yeah I was fucking there, look everybody. They see it when they stop at this spot. It’s silly kid brain activity but its still the origin of how I started. Graffiti back then was more of a secret thing where you either had to find out the rules yourself because you accidentally ran into somebody or you just had to pay attention to what was happening. All toys or people when they start, if you have this little bullshit throw-up or even tag and someone decides to go over it, their first instinct is to rag all of their stuff. There is a hierarchy, pieces over throw-ups, blockbusters over this and the other thing, throw-ups over tags and you either get a beating and that’s how you learn or you get beef with somebody. That’s kinda how I got started.

hace-4The FDR was my first good conscious memory of seeing real graffiti. My father worked in Manhattan so we would drive down and pick him up sometimes. I do remember, I don’t know what year it was done but on the Bruckner Expressway there used to be a Fayde and Jason blockbuster on the side of the Bruckner. At the time the Nightmare On Elm Street movies were pretty big so I though it said “Freddy” and “Jason” and I was like Yooo, what is that?!  I couldn’t wait to drive by that particular blockbuster like Oh man, here comes the park!  I had no idea where we were. I didn’t know what was really going on. I didn’t know the name of the highway or anything. Later on you put the pieces together. We would drive by that and I would be pumped to see that. It wasn’t ’til later when I guess I really got into graffiti that they changed it to, I think it said Med and Fayde and then it went to Med and Nes. Something like that or Med and Jest or Jest and… I can’t remember TVT kids came and that alternated but it maintained the space just the names changed. But I remember the Fayde Jason because I thought it said “Freddy” “Jason” and that was my shit! I was like wow this horror shit is everywhere! They’re even painting on the side of the highway.

Fayde used to paint trains. I think he was partners with a couple of dudes. I don’t know the back story to that but the guy fell off the earth and there was a war when I first initially started, a highway war with those guys and some other TVT guys. That guy was still active in the very earl 90s like ’91, ’92 and then I never heard anything from him or saw him ever again. He had tunnel spots, he used to do trains and then he just vanished. Like I said I don’t know the back-story, it’s none of my business, but that dude was a huge inspiration ‘cuz I saw his work first. It was fucking mint, his stuff was clean. It was symmetrical, it just had good form, solid letter base on the highway and then I found out later he rocked trains and when he was doing trains I wasn’t even old enough to know what it says.

hace-3Do you have a crazy bombing story?

I think everyone has. I don’t consider myself a real bomber. I’ve painted and I’ve bombed but there are people who’ve put in real work. If there’s a Chinese lady in Chinatown sleeping against the fucking grate they’d do half of the fill-in over her face, you-know-what-I’m-sayin’? I was like a bad kid but I was more like, and I’ve said this before, I was more Bart Simpson bad where it was just bad enough. I was never horrible bad, you know, I’ve set my share of fires and you know whatever just did terrible things but I consider the people who left all the fucks that they gave way behind and graffiti was the lightest crime they did. They were into real bad stuff and as far as I’m concerned that was my bad side. I never did terrible shit. As far as crazy bombing stories, I have a couple of stupid ones, stupid or they’re ill. People have pulled knives or guns or crazy cop chases or whatever. I got chased out of a tunnel one time and the cops had their guns drawn which was whack. That scared the hell out of me. That’s the other thing, there’s a fear involved but when you get away it’s the hindsight like, that was dope! When it is happening you’re like, Fuck! How the fuck am I gonna get outta here? I’m not built to do a year on Rikers. I’ll handle my shit but I have a happy life on the outside, I’m not looking for hard activities. But anyway, later on down the line one of the illest stories I got, it’s way too long way too long, it involves helicopters and some other whack shit happened. I got away but the kid I was with, he got pinched and that kinda changed the path of my graffiti for about a decade. After he got pinched he snitched on me and I had some heavy six felony charges come after me and I was on 10 years of probation. I was on ice for a long time. So that’s why I disappeared, sometimes you gotta turn your shit around. But anyway.

I had a great New York experience or graffiti experience two years ago. I painted an abandoned factory in Brooklyn on the waterfront and I knew it was in a shit spot. Back in the day you usually had a weapon on you so for whatever reason I thought it might be a good idea to take a knife with me. It was in the Sunset Park area right on the waterfront, I went by myself. While I was painting this spot I hear voices and I’m like, ok cool. You know what I’ll handle mine if it’s someone who wants it. You gotta be prepared mentally for that too if you’re gonna go by yourself. Not that I’m not the friendliest person but I’m not always like someone else will be the asshole. That’s what’s in my head. You’re an asshole until you prove otherwise. I guess that’s a New York thing, a New York state of mind. You’re just protecting yourself.


So I hear voices and I picked a strategic place to paint, where I know more than one exit and in a position where I can see everything going on. That’s how I do it. So I hear these voices and I step back maybe 15 feet from my piece and I see two people talking. It’s a young kid and an old dude. I’m like, whatever it looks like this guy came with his nephew to smoke some weed. That’s what I thought. The young kid though was dressed kinda nice and I was like, all right that’s a little weird. The old dude was a super, like a Puertorican super for your building. Real scruffy, he has keys on his belt, he’s got a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off. Real dirt-bag type of guy. I was waiting for them to see me and they didn’t see me so I yelled out, “Yo you good?” to both of them. The kid turned around startled. He had a weird look on his face, his eyebrows were half raised and he had a frown-smile and just nodded his head. The dude just looked at me and just gave me a nod too so I just went back to painting. All right cool whatever. They know I’m here, I’m not trying to sneak up on them. If they try to sneak up on me, I’ll fucking stab one in the stomach. This is what I’m thinking but I didn’t think they’ll be a threat. So I go back to painting, five minutes passes and I back up to the same spot. Good vantage place to see my piece, also a vantage place to see the entrance and I see them talking. So I go back to my piece, another 15 minutes goes by and I don’t hear them talking anymore. I back up to see my piece again same eyeshot I can see them and I see the old dude standing there with his shirt up under his arms, his pants down around his knees and the kid is sucking his dick. The kid’s down on his knees positioned in front of him blowing him. I was like all right now it makes sense. Now I know why they’re here. This little kid is hustling this old dude on some chicken punk shit. He’s just doing his thing. So I just went back to painting and I made sure I didn’t back up that far again ‘cuz I didn’t wanna catch any oral penetration or some real nasty shit like accidentally see the cum shot or whatever. So I went back to painting and I made sure I took more than 15 minutes, made that shit extra clean, hopefully they’re out of there. Surely enough the next time I backed up they were gone. I felt like for a second I was transported back to a 90s New York. What was that? 2014 and that was dope. I mean as disgusting as that is, there’s so many things wrong with that but I feel like that kind of whack gross activity, to witness it there’s a coolness about it. I don’t know. It’s almost like anything can happen or anything goes. Somebody could get fucked up, somebody could die, some ill shit could happen. That part of graffiti and the energy attached to that makes graffiti fucking awesome and you can’t fucking harness that. Once that’s put in a controlled environment, all that other stuff disappears. You don’t worry about cops. You don’t worry about getting beat up. You don’t worry about getting chased. You don’t worry about fucking getting robbed. You don’t worry about getting killed. You don’t worry about getting hit by a train. You don’t worry about all these other bad things. There’s a good portion of graffiti that is a tremendous risk and it’s way more risky than, I don’t know, painting a legal spot some street art shit. I enjoyed that, I really did enjoy that. But like I said, I’m more Bart Simpson bad not Jimbo, Kearney and Dolph bad. Those were the real bad kids. Haha fuck, either they went to jail for violent crimes not even graffiti and that ended their career or they were half assed writers that if they got gone over… They literally wrote graffiti for beef. They were like “I’ll put my name here and I’ll fuck you up if it get gone over.” Those were like neighborhood kids. Neighborhood kids, weird knockout kids. Those kids that throw that one punch. “Yo so-and-so knocked out blah-blah-blah.” “Oh yo, blah-blah-blah got knocked out by X-Y-Z again.” It’s crazy. I don’t know, that threat is gone now. That doesn’t exist anymore man.

Where does your inspiration come from in your artwork and graffiti? Are there any artists or places that inspire your style?

I don’t identify with being an artist, I identify with physically creating an idea or something that has a good shape that draws your eye to it. Traditionally graffiti for me is based out of letters. If you have good letters then odds are you can throw all the colors you want into it or anything else but letters, letters-letters-letters-letters are the most important thing. A lot of people disguise shitty letters with great colors or good designs but coming from New York the epicenter and birthplace of graffiti it’s got to be about letters. I feel like that’s the only thing I try to execute. I’m not saying I always hit the mark but what I always try to execute in my mind when I draw or paint is good letter structure. That’s my biggest concentration factor, letters.

My sister went to school in Westchester so I would sometimes go up to Westchester with my family to pick her up and there was a lot of good Westchester graffiti that people sleep on. Just as I came in trains went out, so highways were the next thing to hit. Around the time I came in there was a war, an MPC TVT war. MPC SFI TVT war. There were guys like Echo, Void, Jest and Nes. Those are the TVT guys. It was pretty much like every single day there was new stuff to look at. Either someone went over someone else or it was a dissing war. My roots are in throw-ups, tags and destruction. I don’t think I did my first, I don’t want to call it a piece but something beyond as complicated as a throw-up ’til about six years into graffiti. It was all throw-ups and tags. It was always a struggle for me to draw, it was never an easy thing to do, it was always a fucking pain in the ass. I’m not one of those people that’s artistically gifted. I was into graffiti because you get your name up and you’d also being destroying something at the same time. Which is a motherfucker thing to do, you know. I love the idea of just vandalizing a train. I was like, this is fucked up and you can’t catch me. Hahaha. It’s a little dick thing to do and if they’re gonna catch you what’s the worst they’re gonna do. All right I drew on your shit maybe they’ll smack me around.  When I first started, jail time was unheard of for graffiti. Not until Giuliani, piece of shit Giuliani administration that they made graffiti a felony and fucked everything up. It just doesn’t make sense to me graffiti becoming a felony or being one of those higher level crimes is bizarre. It’s almost like people complaining about problems. It’s like, “What are your problems?” “Oh, I have a relationship problem.” “Oh, I’m broke.” “Oh..” Fuck you man people have cancer people are dying. It’s analogous to ok there is real crime like rape and fucking heavy drug movement and then there’s fucking graffiti and a fist fight or fucking jaywalking. It’s not a horrible thing and they twist it into that. Graffiti gives the city character. It gave New York character. These people, they’re not tough enough to be real criminals and they’re not good enough to be real artists but graffiti suits them both where they are just a product of their environment. They’re rough New Yorkers and at the same time they like to create a little bit.

So anyway getting back to huge inspirations. I always liked SP’s work, SPone. Believe it or not there are these TOK kids from Brooklyn that came up and bombed a portion of 95 up into Boston. I have an aunt who lives Boston, we used to drive up there around Thanksgiving. TOK like Spin, Bust, Dim, TM. A couple guys, they literally bombed the whole fucking highway. The whole highway. Then there’s a whole other local Pelham Bay gang of kids. I guess the second wave of UA which is Odin, Elf and just really talented kids like Zoom, he’s dead, and other guys. When I say talented I don’t know I just feel like at their age what they were producing 20 years ago is what we see now in advertising. They were 20 years ahead of the curve just having fun, kids having fun running around. Now what they did that was considered fun is almost the staple for certain forms of advertising or gorilla marketing. Graffiti was really the birth of gorilla marketing and no one takes that into account.

There’s a lot of good people who don’t get the credit they deserve because of Instagram. Instagram is very current, it’s what’s happening now and there’s a little bit of truth to that. If you’re not in the streets then what the fuck are you? I get that but you gotta remember where it came from. When you’d drive up far enough into New York graffiti would just stop. Now it’s almost like every 15-year-old kid picks up a can of paint thanks to the Internet. Graffiti was a weird New York microcosm bubble that people don’t understand is now just a thing. It’s almost like punk rock music. Punk rock music is awesome when it’s punk rock music, garage punk rock music. But the second you try to harness it, it becomes fucking commercial shit. I feel like graffiti is the same exact thing. Graffiti is some outlaw fun shit you do because you’re with your friends, your boys. Guys like to fuck around so you turn it into a gang and then you’re just doing your thing. The second some sort of corporate entity comes and gets involved or there’s money involved it turns the whole thing into shit. It ruins the process. I guess I appreciate legal walls or however means people get by but real graffiti for me is good illegal fuck you graffiti. Like someone wrote on my building the other day and it was bittersweet thing to see that. Like yeah all right I get it but if I were to caught ya I woulda fuckin’ smacked ya in the face. But at the same time I get where the guy is coming from which is great.


Ok getting back to inspirations also from the Bronx, I think he is one of the best writers in New York City today and he reps New York to the fullest. One of the well rounded graffiti artists, Yes2. He has gone all city with tags, throw-ups. He’s one of the best piecers. Letter structure, colors, everything, he’s mastered his craft. And that guy is a lifer. People fall in and out for whatever reason, I guarantee there are certain people who if they were pressed with the charges I had or the shit I had to deal with after getting snitched on would’ve kept going. It’s not to say that I didn’t have the heart for that but it goes back to the Bart Simpson thing where I’m a bad dude but I’m not evil. I gotta keep my nose clean to some extent. I’m not gonna break 10 years of probation for something that one of my best friends ratted on me for in the first place. Who are you really doing it for? Are you doing for your crew and your crew and your people are fucking scumbags?

All right so we got Yes2, we got Wane COD whose consistency is unparalleled. People today, you’ll ask a 13-year-old kid “Who’s one of your favorite writers?” and they’re like “Wayne.” You ask a 13-year-old kid 20 or 30 years ago “Who’s your favorite writer?” and they could say “Wayne” because of the quality of the work he’s done, the amount of work he’s done and the consistency in which it’s done. Fucking mint, dudes the man. Inspiration-wise as far as people I respect, there’s a difference. I think you take your inspiration from whatever you have a taste for but there’s other writer’s I give a lot of credit to like Mone. Mone was one of the first bigger name writers I painted with and that dude is humble as fuck. He’s a good dude and he showed me little bullshit things you don’t really know about unless either you’re an artist or you’re painting with somebody. You do your fill-in, then you do your background, then you do your outline then you do your highlights. The order in which a piece is executed was literally shown to me step-by-step. Watching Mone paint or painting with Mone I was like, “Oh that’s how you do it?!” I was always just pulling stuff out of my ass like hey man I like it, try to emulate someone else’s stuff, I like this or I like that. I used roller paint for a while, that’s fucking hard as fuck. It sucks haha. I pulled off some stuff, if you’re in that flow at that point you can do it. Mone, great dude. Another one who was consistent for decades, gotta respect that man. Those are real writers. I consider those people real writers. Yes2 bombed. Wane did his share of bombing, with pieces. Mone always had a piece at every piecing spot you’d go to back in the day. Anywhere in the Bronx, some spots in Queens, a lot of spots in Manhattan. I will say every spot in the Bronx. Mone was actually one of the first people I hit a lot of freights with and put me onto the freight game. And Cav [??] too. In my head these are superior writers and I’m just a kid pickin’ his nose. They were very open to putting me on, bringing me on board. Because of them I painted with Kase2 which still I don’t even know how that was possible and with fucking Sein5. These people are legends and I feel like because of proximity and I guess the willingness to paint I got lucky. I’m a New Yorker who just happens to be a native. Like if I was born in fucking Omaha, I think I would still live here. I just happened to be born here. It’s the same thing with the level of writers I was around. You got people like Swet from Denmark, that guy is amazing, and that dude didn’t have nearly the kind of resources that I had just growing up in this environment. There’s so much more history here, there’s so much more inspiration and I just got lucky to be born into it. New York itself is my biggest inspiration. Growing up graffiti was everywhere and it was a fucking awesome time to be a kid because New York was fucked up. You could do bad shit and laugh it off. We would set cars on fire just for the fuck of it. Right now I’d be like, Look at these assholes, but back then people would just do it or steal cars. When was the last time you heard of somebody’s car getting stolen? It doesn’t exist any more no one steals a car. They used to steal the battery outta your car when I was a kid. I would say New York itself was my inspiration… now it’s a little different.

Ok, here’s a random order of people who jump out in my pre-teen memory that influenced me: Demo, Rad Ray, Sedster, Cjay, Astro, Bester, Lent, Ben, Duster, LM4, Rem311, Seen, Rare, Eroc, Cromag, JP, Ony, Chez, Sil, Dear, Hoax, Zest, Pjay, Sueico, Jent, Core2, ZOOM, Jest, Nes, Med, Ment, Wane, Wen, Vet, Shank(tdr), BQ, Jis, Joz, Tyke, Crack, Odin, Kin, Not, Vyne, Chopper, Void, Revs, Cost and a dude who used to paint pentagrams all over lower Manhattan, TKA, JON156 and that’s just the beginning. Back in the early ‘90s New York had dozens of people who were ‘all city’, back then all city was harder to do because there were so many more walls to hit. The city was a cesspool.

How do you see current graffiti scene and where do you see graffiti going in the future?

I feel like a lot of people write graffiti now to make money on it. As opposed to back then it was about fame or local recognition. Now there’s money in graffiti and I don’t want to name names but I know there are people who don’t paint that much or they never painted that much, they just have natural artistic ability and they either get sponsored or they’re getting paid to do their work. And hey man, you know what? That’s fucking cool but you should thank everyone in graffiti for giving you that opportunity. That’s as far as it goes with that, I respect their artistic ability but as far as integrity in graffiti, it’s not even the same. It’s not the same thing. I grew up in a New York where the Muppets Take Manhattan, or fucking Ghostbusters, or the movie BIG. New York was strong enough to be a third person character in a movie. That’s New York. That was soul, it was a real almost tangible thing. I feel like that doesn’t exist nearly as much as it used to, if not at all. I feel like anyone who comes here, they’re still riding that wave that was so big 20 to 30 years ago. That wave broke and this is the wake that these people are still thinking New York is cool. Club scene, gone. I don’t like how Hollywood portrays club scenes. They put a cheesy element to club scenes but I don’t give a fuck man good clubs back in the day were fucking awesome. They were right along the same lines of graffiti. I didn’t do drugs but there were plenty of drugs in these clubs and that’s fucking cool man. If that’s your thing, do your thing. If you wanna party hard, fuckin’ party hard. People say fuck graffiti because they can’t understand it. People say fuck drugs or that lifestyle because they can’t understand. That’s the way that person expresses themselves so let them do it. New York now is like, “You can’t express yourself that way” or here’s a fucking 7-11, shop here, your gonna get the same processed shit that everyone else is gonna get. There’s no originality and that breaks my heart a little bit.

As far as where graffiti is going, I think it’s probably going to turn into pop-music. It’s going to get integrated into advertising, it already is but I mean to the point where artists are becoming graffiti writers not the other way around graffiti writers who actually became artists. That was never my thing. I never had any goal to make money off of graffiti. I’ve gotten paid for my bullshit graffiti here and there but it was never my goal. My goal was just to do graffiti and just get lost in that small moment when you’re making what you want. When you’re making the idea that’s in your mind. Somewhere in the middle you transcend reality. I remember noticing that feeling, funny enough when I was with Mone. We went to go do freights somewhere out in Jersey. Strangely enough it was Nace’s yard. Rest In Peace Nace. We went out there and I remember trying to execute this piece and I was still really new to piecing. An hour and a half went by and I was going through some real bad personal shit in my life, the piece was almost finished and I don’t know what happened to the time, my thoughts were totally on that piece. They were on nothing else but that piece. All my problems, gone. I didn’t think for a second about that little personal shit, I was totally focused and concentrated on getting this piece together. It was at that point that I discovered in my head that this is really what I love. This is amazing. This is a fucking amazing thing. It’s almost like you try to catch that magic every time and I guess it’s that same thing with drugs. A heroin dude tries to chase that dragon when he gets high. I’m not gonna say I was high but it is a weird elation. You get lost in that feeling. People who are doing graffiti to make money off of it don’t even know what that feeling is. And if they do, whatever fine but I don’t like the idea of exploiting it. I like to keep graffiti illegal. I like to keep it survival of the fittest. Everything now is PC and I don’t mean ‘politically correct’ I mean that everyone is cool with each other. There’s not too much beef going on. Not that I love beef but I feel like what the graffiti world has turned into via Instagram or whatever there’s more areas to contact somebody. It’s less underground. Even this interview, it’s something that I wouldn’t traditionally be involved in but I don’t know man, you’re cool people and I’m at the point in my life where you know what I’m gonna tell it like it is. I feel like a lot of people are getting interviewed now either have a big head from their Instagram following or they’re just not from the classic New York era that I saw. I don’t think I’m one bit a representation of that era, but I was there I witnessed it. It’s almost like I still play little league and we’re talking about fucking Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantel. I saw them play but I was never of that caliber.

What’s your favorite place to paint whether it’s a specific location or an object?

Back in the day there were so many different areas to paint. There were hundreds and hundreds of spot. We would go to spots and, “Oh there’s people down there, let’s go somewhere else” and you could go to five spots off the top of your head at any given time to go paint. There was always a scoping out process back in the days but now my favorite place to paint is an abandoned spot. An abandoned spot is chill. Back in the day it used to be train tracks or whatever but after 9/11 they closed a lot of that shit off. New York with its boom in real estate there’s no such thing as abandoned shit anymore, everything is built up.  You gotta really be strategic unless you’re a motherfucker who doesn’t care and is gonna paint wherever the fuck he wants to paint.

What does graffiti represent to you?

Graffiti is everything and nothing at the same time. Graffiti is basically meaningless bullshit. You scribble. If you really try to break down what the fuck it is, what the fuck is it? It’s paint applied to a wall. It’s a letter that you thought of and a color combination that you think looks cool and a shape you can relate to. All right, what does that really mean? I don’t think it means anything but if someone goes over it you’re gonna wanna fucking murder them. Or if someone fucking disses you it’s a sign of disrespect. So that’s what I mean, graffiti means nothing and everything at the exact same time. You’re literally risking your life, you’re risking jail. You’re risking a lot of important shit for dumb shit. Then you say to yourself, “Why am I risking so much important shit for some dumb shit? Why am I risking nothing for everything?” Well that means it must mean something. If you say “I’m risking everything for basically nothing” you’re saying that that “nothing” is the equivalent to everything. It’s a conundrum.  I’m not trying to get philosophical I’m really trying to put together what graffiti is. Like, “I put my name on the wall, what you gonna say about it?!” It could also be territorial, silly shit like that. You wanna show everyone “I was here” and humans are visual creatures so it’s any easy way to do that.  But at the same time, what does it really mean? I don’t think it means anything, but at the same time a lot of people risk everything to do it. That’s the basic human condition. It’s like climbing a fucking mountain. What the fuck are you climbing a mountain for? Why? Why do you have so much contempt for this mountain? What has it done to you? Why do you have to conquer it? Graffiti is the same thing. Why do you have to go out there and paint that? Why do you have to do that? Because it’s a human condition. It’s the same thing as going into outer space. Graffiti has personally forced me to know neighborhoods that I had no business being in. It’s forced me to experience different places in New York that I didn’t even know were there. And I fucking love graffiti for that reason. It pushed me into areas that I was not familiar with and it pushes you out of your comfort-zone. Because it does that, it opens your mind up in ways that you just didn’t know, that you weren’t aware of. I’m the only person in my family who has travelled outside of the country. I’ve been all over the Europe and South America and I feel like honestly if it wasn’t for graffiti I wouldn’t have done that. I didn’t even paint in a lot of those places. I painted a little bit in Europe but it’s just the idea that you want to explore. Graffiti also has a huge exploration portion attached to it.

Do you have advice hints or tips for young graffiti heads? Anything you would like to pass on?

Honestly, like I said when I started graffiti it was still… Ok, There’s guys a decade before me who I’m the poser to or they paved the way. There’s guys a decade before them like Junior 161, Barbara and Eva they were girls. THose people are the pioneers. Then you got the real subway movement where the UA kids came in and MPC, a lot of guys from Style Wars. That’s the real birth of graffiti and then everything after that. Like I said, It was still kinda a secret when I started and if I was in fucking Omaha or fucking Texas then I wouldn’t know anything about it. But because I was born in that environment I had no choice but to see it. So young people coming up, fucking Google it. HA-ha. Google it. Fucking Google graffiti. That’s all you have to do. I can’t give them any advice that would be better than some sort of Google answer because everything on how to do graffiti is on Youtube. Like where to get your caps? You can fucking order them. All that stuff is available. The advice I would say, I’ve learned this and I think this might just be a personality thing, learned outside of graffiti and translates into graffiti: Always try to do the best you can. I know thats like a cheesy thing but try to put integrity into the fucking work you produce. Whether it’s a throw-up, whether it’s a piece, whatever it is. I mean there were certain days where I just wanted… you know it’s almost like you fucked a fat girl. It’s the same thing with graffiti, some days you want to be sloppy and you do something like that. But when you’re really tryna go for it put your heart into it and really give it the best shot you can. Whether or not someone else thinks it sucks, they can’t take away from you that you gave your 100%. That’s what’s important. Tips and tactics someone can show you. Where to get your shit or a technique on how to paint, someone could show you or you could actually learn by mistake or accident. But that other stuff is more of an internal thing where just give it the best effort you possibly can. I think that message transcends graffiti and can go anywhere but it’s important to do that in graffiti. Unless you’re a fucking jerk-off and then you belong with the street artists. So go over there because your message doesn’t mean anything in the first place. Whatever. Like I said, if street artists knew what they were doing they would stop.

Big shout out to my team IVEK, SAUS, CEO, JOS, CBONE, STAY-TRUE Destruction Sequence. All right cheers man.

Interview by Jonathan BKLYN Neville