Alright so thanks for taking the time out to do this interview, can you give us a brief introduction to who you are, what your history is in the graffiti world has been? I know you don’t do graffiti writing per se, but did you get your start bombing and throwing up tags or is the character work what you’ve always done?
Thanks for having me, I appreciate you guys asking me to be a part of this.
They call me Saints aka Boombox Kid. I started doing graffiti at a young age in the late 80’s with a crew called MAF. We were just a small group of skateboarding hip hop punks that loved to tag. We use to look up to the older writers from our neighborhood, they from GFA and we wanted to be just like them. So we started practicing our tags and painting pieces in my friend Dazle’s backyard, then eventually started bombing local spots like the LA River, the Levitz yard and the Woodman yard. I soon realized that I wasn’t that great at letters but did love to draw and paint B-Boy characters. I’ve been drawing characters since I was a little kid, replicating Saturday morning cartoons, Looney Tunes and Disney characters. I later started creating my own characters that represented the graffiti and hip hop culture. I had stopped writing in the early 90’s when the gang scene pretty much dominated our neighborhood and surrounding areas. The gangs weren’t too fond of graff writers back then… Los Angels in the early 90’s was pretty rough. Although I wasn’t writing graffiti anymore I always loved it and admired the writers from my era that kept it going. I especially loved seeing the fresh pieces and full productions that some crews were putting together. Seeing full productions is what eventually inspired me to get back into painting. When I got back from my long hiatus I focused more on my characters and collaborations with other writers by rockin’ my B-Boys next to their pieces.
One of the things I like about your work is the tribute pieces you do for icons like run dmc or Cheech and Chong, I’m curious can you tell me a little bit about who were your influences outside of graffiti? What about early hip hop inspired you and do you consider today’s hip hop to be an inspiration?
The Hip Hop culture is definitely my biggest influence. The B-Boying and Music is what fueled my Graffiti art. Speaking of Run DMC, their first 2 albums were the reason I fell in love with Hip Hop in the first place. Their whole style, energy and persona was so dope. To this day I still listen to their music and draw characters that resemble their style and the era they came from. So yeah Run DMC were a big influence.
The new Hip Hop is OK but I definitely prefer late 80’s and all 90’s hip hop over anything new.
What is your favorite documentary or book that covers the history or major players of graffiti and why?
Books like “Sparycan Art (Henry Chalfant)” and “Subway Art (Martha Cooper/Henry Chalfant)” and “Graffiti LA (Steve Gordy)” are my favorite graffiti books.
“Watching My Name Go By” and “Capturing a Culture – NY Graffiti Writers (Henry Chalfant)” are dope documentaries – I love to see and hear about early New York subway graffiti.
Your style is very familiar but it does not feel like you are taking inspiration from any one particular artist, can you tell me who inspired your current drawing style? How did you learn to draw your figures and how do you make sure to continue to grow as you mature as an artist rather than stagnate? Is there any daily practices you do
I would have to say that the one artist who inspires me the most is my good friend Rawbs aka Tha Pencilist. He’s a talented illustrator and toy designer who has shown me technics that have helped me polish up my style. We formed an artist collective called Supercalif, we collaborate on projects, we always talk art, share ideas and we try to keep each other motivated. Me make a good team.
Like I mentioned before, I learned to draw by just watching cartoons as a kid. I’m always learning something… Learning never ends, so I continue to grew by learning from different artists I admire and have had the privilege to meet. I appreciate that they are open to share their artistic methods and experience in the business.
And as far as daily practices, I try to sketch everyday and paint every time theres a nice wall available.
For a lot of artists the gap between doing this as a hobby and a career seems to be an impossible gap to cross. Can you tell us how you got the ball rolling on your career? Did you have any major setbacks that made you reconsider your aspirations or at least make you step back and realize it would take more work than you thought?
My art career (as far as making decent money off of it) is still fairly new, so there hasn’t been too many set backs. The biggest struggle is getting people to pay a fair amount for original artwork and commissions. All I can do is move forward, master my craft and hope that one day people will appreciate the work more and be willing to pay top dollar for it. Thats the goal.
What kind of music do you listen to when you paint?
Hip Hop and old school funk.
When you were coming up who were your biggest inspirations? Who were the guys that inspired you to get into graffiti and what keeps you coming back now?
When I started out in graffiti my biggest inspiration was Grem GFA. As a kid, I use to love going to the yards to see his work. To me, he was the best. His letters were clean and his characters were extra fresh! If you see any of his old characters from the 80’s, you’ll kind of see where I got my style from. Grems was a big influence to me.
Two other artists that I always admired when it came to graffiti and characters where the OG’s Hex and Skill. Los Angels Graffiti Legends no doubt! Their aggressive super fresh B-Boy styles would light up every wall they touched.
What keeps me coming back to graffiti are the dope writers I often collaborate with like Trade, Crise, Digital, P45, Chee, Bus 166, Cale and King 157. All dope artist in the game and I’m honored to call them my friends.
Any crazy travel stories you can share? Where all have you been in the world and where do you currently reside?
I haven’t traveled to paint that much but going to France to paint for Disney (ABC Studios) was probably the furthest and most memorable trip I’ve taken.
One of the craziest things that happened while traveling was when a bunch of us drove up to San Francisco for Meetings Of Styles. We had fun painting at the event but later decided to venture off to hit a train yard in Oakland. The guy that told us about the spot said it was safe and we were good to bring all our bags and crates of paint plus he encouraged me to bring my old school Lasonic Boombox so we can hear music while we painted . So about 15 – 20 minutes into painting this illegal spot, the cops rolled up on us in a SUV truck, everyone took off running and just left their paint behind, but I wasn’t leaving my Boombox. The cops came after us and we all ran, hopped walls, jumped ditches, climbed fences, slid under trucks – and me doing all of this with a heavy ass boombox in hand. The battery lid flew off and so did all 10 size D batteries. We all had split up and hid from the cops till the coast was clear. Good thing is that no one got caught and we were able to go back later on to get most of our paint. The batterie lid was never found. Note to self – when you ever wanna go paint a train yard and you wanna listen to music… just bring ear phones, they’re a lot easier to run with.
I currently reside Los Angles (818 Area).
Any shout outs you would like to give? where can people follow you?
Shout out to my crews I2W (In 2 Win), THC (The Hard Core), STP (Setting The Pace) and Supercalif.
Follow me on
and Facebook: One Saints
Interview by Wesley Edwards