We like to let the artists speak for themselves when we can, so without giving too much away I will tell our less seasoned readers that Florida artist NEUK1 is a Beantown original turned National superstar. Currently staying in Florida, NEUK1 has exploded into popularity with his trademark Dino design. In the past you may have seen his work on walls and barriers, but now he’s online, on custom sneakers, and on one dudes hand!
Ok so for those that may not know, lets tell our readers who you are, where you’re from, and what you do:
I write NEUK1, I’m from Boston MA, that will always be my hometown first over anywhere else, but I’ve lived all over New England. As far as what I do, I eat, sleep, shit and breathe graffiti.
I’m hoping the graffiti you eat isn’t the same graffiti you shit? Haha
How long have you been getting up?
I’ve been writing for 9 years now nonstop.
& When did you decide it would be a nonstop thing?
That’s the thing, I never really looked at graffiti and said “This is what I’m gonna do for the rest of my life.” It literally consumed all the passion i have to give for anything and just kept growing from there. As far as hobbies, i don’t really do anything else but paint (probably why I’m single lol) . Graffiti will always be a main part of my life for the fact that I love it and i feel like my life is kinda purposeless without it. It gives me meaning.
Do you have a preferred medium? (I.e. Cans, markers, stickers)
I guess it all depends on the current situation of what I’m doing, but ideally I prefer to have a can on me at all times. But I attack all methods of the game: stickers, markers, scribes, rollers, extinguishers, shittt, I even put up Gorilla Glue tags. Any way I can put my name on government shit, I’m doing it. Good ol’ spraypaint is definitely at the top of my list though.
How do you enjoy the graff scene where you currently live?
The Graff scene in Orlando definitely needs some help.. There’s too much “legal street art” and not enough actual bombing going on. Don’t get me wrong, this city does have a few heavy hitters for sure but nothing like Boston. Not to mention it’s fuckin’ Disney World with endless money so the city has the funds to be buffing shit out quick. A lotta the dudes that write here are hormonal little bitches too… Went my whole graffiti career without a single beef until I moved to Orlando, haha, definitely a lot of haters here, I laugh at all of it though, nothing can faze me. For the most part I steer clear of the bullshit; I just do my own thing and chill with homies in my crew. I don’t pay any mind to the hearsay drama that goes on, and I don’t say much either; hands up cans up or shut up. Orlando itself is a dope spot to live though; I’ve definitely made some lifelong friends here. It has been a successful stepping stone in my graff career for sure. I don’t think I’ll be here to much longer though.
Any ideas on where-to next?
I mean I do like Florida a lot, so I don’t know, Ft. Lauderdale maybe? Miami? Somewhere more south preferably. I’ve also wanted to go check out the Bay Area in California for a while too. Possibilities are endless right now, I’m young and hungry in the graff scene. Nothin’ can stop me.
How does Orlando hold up in contrast to places you have lived/visited/painted?
I mean, I’m a Boston boy, that’s always gonna be my favorite place to be and to bomb. The talent New England has to offer is just ridiculous and I’m wicked fackin blessed to be able to call that my home. There’s no competition with Boston to Orlando. Orlando’s scene still has A LOT of growing to do, where Boston on the other hand has several generations of real hardcore graff under its belt. I’ve been to alotta different cities but i’m still screamin BEANTOWN ALL DAY OVER FACCCKIN ANYWHERE!
So you moved south from the Boston area? & You said you’re familiar with our friend SMURF?
Yes sir, moved south about 2 years ago. Yea SMURF’s a real ass dude. Definitely gets it in on the street. We have kicked it a few times, painted and shit, and managed to keep in contact through instagram. Straight shooter, keeps it 100.
Rep any crews?
I’m the founder of my crew, 2AM. That’s the only one I rep currently. I’ve been asked to rep a lot of crews, but I’m a firm believer in personally knowing all the cats in the crew you bang. To many people join crews for the “fame” these days. I’m more about painting with the realest in the game regardless of where they are on the popularity scale.
Care to break down the acronym 2AM?
Aerosol Angel Mobb / Mafia, Attacking All Mediums, Against Authority Mobb, Aerosol And Markers, Art Against Meth.. The list is endless lol. The main acronym is Aerosol Angel Mobb. The meaning behind the name is tied into the huge impact graffiti has had on my life. Everyone has a guardian angel that has kept them out of harm’s way and led them down the right path, my guardian angel has always been the paint (aerosol).
How long as 2AM Been around? And are most of the operatives from MA? FL?
2AM is a fairly new crew I started about 8 months ago and all the homies who rep it are currently FL based, but originate from all over the East Coast. I love the dudes that I got reppin, to me it’s about dedication to the culture and being a chill person. Obviously skill level is important as well, but its honestly the last thing I’m worried about. It’s a small crew, I like it that way, so we can keep it as family-oriented as possible. Shout out to all my dudes in 2AM ! EVOC, SOAK, SCUD, DSO . I wanna shout out DICE, OWL and DEMO as well, some other close family of mine that have always looked out for me in life and in graff. They don’t put it up, but there 2AM in my book all day. Love you guys.
How long have you known our mutual friend SOAK (Soak Destroys) ?
Me and SOAK have known of each other for about a year and a half now, but we only really started chillin like 5 to 6 months ago. I knew he was a straightforward/loyal dude off rip, I put him down with 2AM the first time we painted together. Real recognize real.
Have you noticed more attention start to come your way recently? You seem to be blowing up!
Thanks and yea man I seem to gain more attention every day. It’s an awesome feeling; I got a lot of loyal supporters and fellow writers. As soon as I introduced the Dino as my character several years ago and started hitting the streets with him, I think that’s really when the blowing up started. There has been a lot of people getting him tattooed on them recently and Someone I don’t even know actually got the Dino tattooed on their hand, which to me a very surreal feeling seeing as I never thought he would ever get as big as he is now and still continue to grow every day. But yea as of lately, there has been a lot of activity with my stuff for sure.
So the Dino really took your reputation as an artist to new level, huh?
Yea man for sure, like i said i’ve always had letters and shit, but the Dino was a huge career changer for me. I’ve always loved graffiti style characters, you can really capture the attention of a much wider audience when you got one and especially when you make it iconic, and it gives more opportunity to put an emotional touch to your work. Mad, sad or excited, you can portray that through a character . In my opinion, you should have every facet of the game locked down if your gonna commit to it. People often ask me “How did you come up with the Dino?” and there’s actually a lot of meaning behind each of his physical characteristics. I chose a Dinosaur to resemble wisdom. You gain more wisdom as you age and Dinosaurs are pretty fuckin old lol. You need to be wise in life. The 3 dots on his head symbolize each of my 3 brothers who i’m always thinking about. He has no eyes to symbolize true equality in the human race, without eyes, you can only be judged on the kind of person you are without race or other physical appearance blurring your good judgement. The zigzag line on his head symbolizes taking the path less traveled by. Too many people get stuck in their routine and don’t live there life like they were meant to, you need to go out off of the safe path and explore to live your life to the fullest. His smile and tongue out promotes good attitude, a positive energy. Its proven when you see someone smile, you’re more inclined to do the same. The scales on the back symbolize self defense, to always stand up for yourself and what you believe in. The tooth is there because it’s a fuckin carnivorous dinosaur of the graffiti world and it needs someone to chew up the competition. Lol ✊
I can definitely appreciate the subtle symbolism. I’m impressed by how cerebral an approach you took to a character that ended up becoming your trademark.
Do you come from a background in graphic design? (The shoes, the Dino, etc.)
Actually no, I don’t have any schooling behind me. I actually dropped out of highschool in the 10th grade and got my GED. Everything I know is self taught with experimenting. When you love something and you know it’s beneficial to what you do, it becomes fun to learn new shit, so with having that outlook, I found it pretty easy to do.
You recently put out your own custom NEUK1 Italian leather shoes! Tell us a bit about what that process was like, and how it came to be?
Yea man! I’m pretty stoked on them, still working out the details and shit but it’s coming along. The process was fun, started off with a basic shape or style of the shoe and went from there. It’s clear that I chose a “Vans” style of shoe, and I do wanna be clear it isn’t a vans shoe, it’s a completely NEUK1 branded shoe from the ground up. I only say that because I’ve been getting a lot of questions on whether they are vans with my logo on them, it ain’t no “Nike ID” type of shit lol this is straight up my shit. But yea after I had the style picked, it was just colors, material, and logo placement after that. I’ve always been kind of a sneakerhead and I’ve never seen a real raw in-the-street writer come out with their own kicks, it’s always shirts and hats, so i kinda wanted to raise the bar a bit. Cant wait ’till all the details are in stone!
If someone were interested in purchasing these shoes, where could they do so?
The best way right now would be to go through me directly in my direct message on Instagram. That’s the best way to get any of my artwork. I will have an official website eventually, but I love the “exclusiveness” behind my stuff, like you can’t just go on a website and order it, it has to come directly from me which in turn keeps its value at the height it deserves to be.
What do you think, if anything, graffiti has provided you with? (A hobby, a passion, a discipline):
Honestly I don’t know where I’d be today if it wasn’t for graffiti. No bullshit, I’d probably be dead or locked up as ironic as that might sound. Like I said earlier, graffiti has always been my guardian angel.. There’s been times where I was so low in life with no one to go to, but Graff was always right there. It gave me something to express myself and dump all my emotion into instead of resorting to hard drugs, especially during the periods of time where I thought I had no purpose, Graff always provided me that purpose of being.
So you feel like you were put here on Earth to get up? It’s your calling in life?
Absolutely. Not so much to “get up” but more in a sense of giving others a drive and passion to do something they want to do. I’m just a normal guy like anyone else, so when people see someone like themselves fulfilling there dreams, mentally it becomes more achievable for them to do the same thing. I just wanna see people break away from their routines and jobs and focus on living there life a little too. Money is replaceable it comes and goes, but your time is priceless, there’s not enough money in the world to buy a second of the past. My purpose on earth is to uplift the lives of others through the pictures I paint on a wall.
Why do you think you ended up writing graff of all things? What drew you/draws you to it?
I’ve always been artistic as a little kid and shit, and I’ve always liked the thought of someone who was anonymous getting to write whatever the fuck they wanted on a wall in a public space for people to see. There’s too much power over normal people like us in this world and graffiti gives me a sense of taking that power from the government and from other sources of “authority” in the world today. Cops are power-hungry mind controlled robots that will lock you up for nothing if you decide to attack their ego, but we all know this already. Graffiti is my way of fighting back to the corruption in our society.
How do you feel about the state of graffiti today? Do you think it’s better than it’s ever been? Total shit?
Yea I feel like the state of graffiti today is just getting better every day. It’s becoming more accepted in a sense, or maybe popular is the word I should use, which brings demands for new products like soft pressure cans for example. The culture is evolving and it’s important to adapt and evolve with it. I mean, why use a rusto when there’s something better for the same price? To me that’s just stupid. I work smarter not harder.
I like that. Smarter not harder is a personal mantra as well.
Do you think it’s important to learn on rustos before getting familiar with caps and cans? Or are the improved materials just one of the perks of the new-age like you mentioned?
Yea I mean I feel everyone’s first times painting should be with a cheaper “utility” style of paint like rustoleum. You do get benefits of improved can control at faster speeds of hand movements and you also build up the finger strength immensely by using the cheap cans because the nozzle is noticeably harder to push down compared to the soft pressure cans. Another personal reason i think you should start with cheap paint is because it’s exciting to use a Montana or an Ironlak for the first time, and it becomes more exciting once you get the full effect of what it’s like with a cheap can.
Did it benefit you at all to come up in the age of technology?
Yea it is a huge benefit to come up in the age of technology. It benefits all the guys that didn’t come up in the technology age as well. It makes it easier to connect and create with people all over the world. Definitely a plus in my eyes.
Any big moves coming up? Anything you’re excited about with the new year?
There’s always something in the works over here lol. Hopefully I can meet some new dedicated writers to get down with for the new year, so any of y’all reading this and wanna get down, hit my DM on the gram! All my homies know, I will travel for graff lol. I’m excited and thankful to be alive and to be able to continue doing what I love. 2017 should be a great year.
Anyone in particular you’ve been hoping to paint with?
I’ve been talking back and forth with GESER of 3A crew, definitely will be painting with him soon. Need to paint with my homie PLASMASLUG again soon too, always a good time. 👌
No kidding? Geser 3a and I are currently in the process of an interview as well. I’d love pics when you guys meet up.
Any New Year’s resolutions?
Just to go bigger and better than I did in 2016, as long as I’m moving up, I got nothing to complain about!!
Anything else you’d like to talk about that we haven’t covered?
Not that I can think of man! To all the people reading this, I wanna say thank you if you made it to here, I had a lot to say and I appreciate you guys checkin me out! Any new writers just starting in the game and have questions, feel free to DM me on Instagram and i’ll do what I can to help. Were a small community that’s “frowned” upon by most so it’s important to look out for one another! #fuckthebeef2017
Very well put by an explosive talent and an all-around upbeat, positive artist!
Thanks again to our readers for checking out the article. Thanks of course to NEUK for speaking with us. Keep up the great work.
Keep reading, keep writing, keep painting!
You can check out NEUK via his Instagram