The reMERKable MERK putting in work! Welcome to Bombing Science! Thank you for your patience. The day is finally here. Hit us with a little background.
How my story begins?
Your graffiti story, yes.
Well, it was around 1985. I was in the 7th grade, in junior high school, checking out the handball courts of PS 10 in Astoria. In which there were always new burners come Monday morning by Forrn, Kaser, PK, Note, KKone. These got me to start graffiti, cutting out of class with my boy and checking out the trains especially the E and F. Seeing TRIKE GND fill-ins splattered all over the trains also got me to do graffiti! I was doing my own thing then around 1986 I met two wild brothers, Rank and EK; they were older, but took me under their wings and taught me all. We would be bombing streets, highways and rooftops. We had every rooftop in Astoria smashed by 1989. That’s how we started “The Rooftop Kids!!!” TRK. Those were the good old days. Heavy metal music, lots a beers and plenty of weed! Taking train pictures in the Bronx in the day and painting at night.
Sounds like school was optional.
Ha. FYI, for those not from around here, Astoria is Queens, NY. Okay, Rooftop killer, do you still represent Queens, NY?
Yes, I’m originally from Astoria where the graffiti scene was at its peak. In 1987, my parents decided to move the family to Flushing (Queens) thinking it would be a better place to raise a family, but they were wrong! LOL
Why were they wrong?
They thought taking me away from the graffiti scene in Astoria would stop me from getting in trouble. They figured moving to Flushing would make me stop, but the scene was actually worse in Flushing.
Or in your case, better for your aerosol wishes and fat cap dreams. Worse for your parents.
Lol. The tracks were even closer to get to. I met META (RIP) we would go racking and fill up my trunk with paint and markers etc. I would work in the city and afterwards meet up with RANK and EK in Astoria and go bombing!!! Nothing ever changed!
That’s usually the case. Best laid intentions and all that.
In my Junior High School years I hooked up with one of my boys. We would cut out of school and watch the trains ride by all day long. We would see TRIKEGND, KBTSS-MIN RTW, JULY RTW and more. Throwies all over the E, F, R, N, G Lines. Top to bottoms by PK, NOTE, WeB, Reas, KKONE, and many more! Then you had Rank, EK, Chisy, Johnny B all over the streets in Astoria. The good old days!
Yeah you said that before. The good old days. Now is still pretty good for you. I see that you do a lot of permission walls with FTR.
Yeah. They’re good guys.
Agreed. Where are the guys you grew up with at now?
I’m in touch with most of them especially with RANK & EK. We are all living life to the fullest!
That’s good to hear! How did you come up with your name?
I chose my letters by what came easiest for me to do. Dope connections, this is how I came up with MERK in 1985.
But something must’ve inspired those letters?
There was a piece in the book, Subway Art, by RASTA RTW (RIP) where he did a piece that said WORK I admired the panel so much that I transformed it into a MERK piece.
Ah. Ok, so what crews do you push
For a long period of time I only pushed one crew – TRK! Now BKS, TDC, WF, FTR, GTK are also crews that I push.
And for those that do not know, can you tell us the meanings of the acronyms?
TRK: The Rooftop Kids – which was RANK, EK and MERK!!! Nowadays, it stands for The Rail Killaz!!! WF: World Famous, FTR: Fuck the Rest, BKS: Been Killin’ Steel, TDC: The Destiny Children and GTK: Good Times Krew.
Thank you, sir. Now tell me what you feel the difference is between universal graffiti and NYC graffiti?
There are many talented graffiti artists all over the world. I feel the structure of our (NYC) letters kicks ass! Basically, in my opinion NYC letters are more detailed than universal letters.
There are so many graffiti writers in NY that invented letters as far back as the 70’s, on trains and walls!!!
So for you, NYC invented graffiti as we know it today. Especially hand and lettering styles? Uh oh, Philly!
I like Philadelphia, but NY all the way.
Ditto. Tell us your craziest graffiti story.
There have been many, but the one I will never forget was in 1988 doing workbum shacks in Astoria on the N line with RANK and EK, and noticing cops in the station not knowing where to go. RANK then says lets climb down the tressle above Northern Boulevard. All I thought was I’m going to fall. Luckily we made it down to talk about it today.
Um, yeah. I have those urges sometimes. I like to wave at them as they pass by. You’re lucky.
How important is lettering?
Lettering is very important, anyone can do plain style. I remember seeing FC, FBA, TFP, COD, TAT’S crew – they perfected their letters and wild style. That is what made me want to keep up with my actual style!
Doing wild style with arrows and different letter structures gives the piece another meaning especially having letters connecting and branching off. I’m always trying different connections to see where it takes me.
It definitely shows. You pieces are ill. How about your favorites…favorite brand of paint?
All paints will do for me, especially Rustos for freights. When I’m doing walls I primarily like to use the Montana Black line.
The markers I like use are CHARTPAK, COPICS and DESIGN, which I consider to be the best!
Damn, no Sharpie love.
What do you think about street art vs. graffiti?
Street art is another way of expressing ones artistic talent, I find it to be interesting but it’s completely different from graffiti art.
Short and sweet.
Wrapping things up, what do you believe to be your ultimate goal in graffiti and if you could meet one graffiti artist living or dead who would it be and why?
To crush steel with style like my man PEPE BFK, FUA!!! To keep rocking burners till the end!
I would like to meet SENTO of TFP I find his work to be amazing – from his attention to detail to the use of colors that he puts into his pieces.
That’s what’s up! Thank you so much Merk. Shout outs?
Big shout out to…LAE, NEZO, JERMS, AMUZE, POET, PEPE, RANK, EK, YES2, BKS BOYS, SHOW TDC, JUST WF, SLASH FTR, FREE DEGO, GOOD TIMES CREW, DULI, TMS , ZEUS, BLER and to all the other talented artists that I have worked with!
RIP to all our brothers…KEI, ROST, META, BRUZ…REST IN PARADISE.
For more artwork follow me on Instagram reMERKable1985.
Peace, Bombers, ’til next time.