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 game and what crew do you rep? What got you into graffiti?
My name is RICKS , I’ve been in the graffiti game since 1991. I started tagging and bombing in southern Florida in the early 90s under a different name, but I won’t discuss that ; ) My homies IMAGE ( UBC) , and DADE got me into crafting letters and late night mischief at an early age. I started getting into productions and piecing later in my graff career. I’ve always been a part of the culture my whole life in some aspect. Whether it’s been producing music, BBoying or emceeing. It’s just in my blood, I’m a hip hop head for life..
Do you make your fulltime living from graffiti? How did you land your first gig doing mural work?
I defiantly don’t make a living from graffiti. I honestly didn’t know you could. Lol! There was a time in my career around the year 2000 when I started dabbling into large scale murals and realism. On that side of the fence I definitely started seeing more people making dollars and getting commissioned. It defiantly started being more accepted amongst the masses. It wasn’t until the year of 2010 when I started getting gigs and making a few dollars doing what I loved. I choose a second graff name to start writing legal and doing large productions. I got to the age in my life where different things took priorities and me running around at 3am wasn’t in my playing cards. So here I am
Do you think that a regular practice of letters everyday is more beneficial then trying to come up with sick designs right out of your head when you are beginning graffiti? What kind of exercises or practices did you have when you first started that got you to where you are today?
In my opinion, simple style is that best way to practice the structure of letters. To understand the movement and the stance of the letter from its basic element. Once the letter is mastered from its purest form. Then you can start bending and stretching and trying to make that letter your own. That is just my opinion.. Everyone has their own way.. that’s the beauty of doing what we love.
One of my favorite posts you hae is of the iron maiden mural piece you did at the beginning of the year. an you tell us about how this came about, was this a commission or a wall you owned?
It’s a Rock bar in Denver, Colorado called The Brutal Poole. It was a commissioned wall that I did with the homie Patrick “ KANE” McGregor. They wanted something heavy metal.. so we delivered. I love that place, great food and environment.
For people that are beginning how does one find a wall for big mural pieces like you do? I know some people reach out to offer their services to businesses for free, is that something you do or are you someone who will paint whenever, wherever?
It depends, I think graff is a bit different from doing murals. If it wasn’t for the graffiti heads and the path they laid for all the muralist, no one would have walls. That’s just my opinion…. but anyway, if you wants wall you have to hit the streets and claim them. If you are looking to get paid and do mural work, you need to go knock on doors of these business and put in the footwork.
Another one of my favorites is an indoor mural you did with a friend of yours, im curious have you painted the interior of your place? I imagine your place looks like a psychedelic trip.
I’m a collector, so my house is filled with artwork, boomboxes, vintage spray paint, and vinyl. I like to preserve and surround myself in the history of hip-hop. I use to fill my house with my own art, but that doesn’t excite me anymore. Collecting special pieces from all my graff homies fills me with joy.
Was there any piece of advice or lesson you learned that you feel is worth repeating?
Be you and DO YOU! This graff game will chew you up and spit you out. It will test every last bit of your soul, so stay true to yourself and don’t fall into the hype…
Who are the people who inspired you when you started and who inspires you now? What kind of music do you listen to when you paint?
I’ve been inspired by so many different writers over the years from new to old school. Way too many to list. I appreciate each and every one of them for their inspiration and guidance over the years. Right now .. KAISY and TWIK have my attention. Super humble and talented guys. I appreciate their craft and friendship. As far as music.. I listen to anything and everything that the moment presents. Lately it’s been all 1980’s music..lol
What separates a successful artist in your mind from an unsuccessful one?
Putting in the work.. plain in simple. If your just a warm weather summertime writer you are missing out on exposing yourself to the elements and testing the limits of your comfort. Can you flow that nice and pretty “S” in below freezing temperatures.. lolol! Just get out and put in work regardless.
Any great travel memories you can share? What has been your favorite place to visit?
I always enjoy heading to NYC and painting with the 4’s crew. Big shouts to my homies HOACS and TRACE..
Any shoutouts you would like to give? Where can people follow you?
Interview by Wesley Edwards