“Many will call me an adventurer and that I am only one of a different sort: one who risks his skin to prove his truths. Let the world change you and you can change the world”
– Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
It is safe for you to assume that Saber’s iconic graffiti career parallels his warrior DNA. One that endures extreme hardship & never retreats, one that creates glory out of abandonment, one that uses his elevated platform to speak out against social injustice and the murder of innocent people. All this while slaying freeways, billboards, art shows & so much more. In the graffiti movement, he is our Bruce Lee, our Che Guevara, yet as detailed below, he is also human just like you & I. From the moment we began this discussion, we dissected life, family, technology, the magic of the Bay Area movement, his legendary spots and we laughed the entire time. – Jehu OSD
After everything you’ve been through, why do you still feel this passion for graffiti?
Saber: Dysfunctional young people, you’re talking about violence, you’re talking about so many things, creative minds, that’s it all in one act, that’s what I find interesting. So fucking weird & interesting. The fact that I’m obsessed with a toilet seat in a fast food joint, like why? Why do I want to scratch my name on a fucking toilet seat? I won’t touch it. I’ll wash my hands after! But why? Keep in mind too this was when I was younger. But, as someone who grew up with no internet, too now watching this new world unfold before our eyes. You start thinking now as human beings about coding, zeros & ones, algorithms, how algorithms are re-feeding & re-looping advertisement interests & search term coding, why are certain things geo-tagged, certain things are lumped into certain categories, how certain things are fed/looped back to you, why they’re decoding our fucking facial recognition programming, why now everything we’ve ever done is in coding of zeros & ones, it’s packaged & categorized in certain ways & terms, we’re living in a whole new world, so when you look at things from that point of view, then you say “why do people react a certain way? Why do they do certain things?” That’s why everyone’s so obsessed with serial killers because they say “why does someone want to do it? What gets them to a certain point where they want to go around & sneak around & fucking kill people?” It’s insane. Not that I’m comparing the act of graffiti to a serial killing! So, graffiti is a really nice test because it plays with the edges, in a safe way without people getting hurt. We’re just writing on walls. Nobody’s getting hurt, it’s no different than fucked up billboard built above your house. We’re just out of control. We’re little rats everywhere, running around chewing on wood because our teeth won’t stop growing you know. Not rats in the Six Nine sense, please I don’t mean that way! But think about it. So human beings, I’m an interesting person because I’ve been on this adventure for a long time now and I’ve been able to go through these different programmings, like what does this mean to me? What is Saber & what are letters? What is wild style? What is vandalism? What is art? What are laws & what is LA? All this shit! All these different realizations.
“It made us stronger & weeded out the weak.”
But it’s like what the fuck are we doing? That’s why graffiti is really interesting because you’re testing the dysfunctional edges of society in a few different interesting formats. That at the end of the day, if everyone can get along and not fall on fences or kill each other, then at the end of the day it’s just a perspective that it’s bad. Because this is how society has constructed it. That’s really interesting because you’re testing so many different realms, you’re testing the way cities react to graffiti, how they buff graffiti, the money they spent, the laws they put in place, the politicians that fight it, the weirdo vigilantes, the fucking shit that gets put in media, the beefs, the drama, the textures, the layers, you’re getting into all realms, the skin of the city, so all of a sudden the people where observe the skin of the city, the weird places, the armpits, the fucking most vulnerable spots & how to get around, the constructs of how cities are supposed to be secure, we’re finding vulnerable aspects, we’re testing the waters, we’re breaking laws openly, we’re not talking about painting murals & participating in the community, we’re talking about illegal vandalism, or yards & pits, places that grow. Now I think pits are a very positive thing because pits are no different than a skatepark, you’re dealing with different people & different elements like it’s the same idea, people are all coming together in one place to participate in one idea. I think that’s why skateboarding has become so healthy and so competitive & so extraordinary, they took all our shit away put us in jail & built laws. Skateboarding, they just took millions of dollars & built the most beautiful parks possible. We didn’t have that shit. No, but you know what it made us stronger & weeded out the weak.
Yeah for sure that!
You know, there are just so many elements to it. I always played with many different aspects, I always liked testing different waters, figuring out different ways & trying different things, I made a lot of mistakes, some of it was shit but you know I tried.
I feel like there are a lot of parallels within skateboarding & graffiti that amongst other things it facilitates a resilience, in both skating & in graffiti you fall but you get back up and it fosters this beautiful resilience.
Of all the different aspects of society, and the people that participate in it and you have this tiny little sliver you know what I’m saying, this is what human beings are, within the realm of society, and you have these fucking people, that are obsessed with running around, you’re writing on everybody’s shit, what are you doing? What the fuck is the point of this? Right?
“All these weirdos that do graffiti that live these double lives, like they’re professors or whatever the fuck they are and they go to work every day and nobody knows, they’ve kept it secret all these years.”
And this is coming from the perspective of someone in their most, you know, I’m a heart surgeon, or bridge engineer or data fucking you know compiler or whatever the fuck you are, you’re like “no, no, no, I’m that little sliver right there that’s obsessed with writing on your shit.” You’re like, why? What the fuck is wrong with you, dude?” Like seriously, “and why does it grow and why does it keep growing and why are there more of you? Is there not like 5 of you, why is there 10,000 of you, what the fuck is wrong with you guys? What else do you do?” And you’re like “you don’t want to hear that aspect of things” you know?!?! You don’t want to know what else we do.” But that’s the funny part, you’ll meet brain surgeons, you’ll meet fucking heart surgeons, you’ll meet bridge engineers, you’ll meet fucking professors, you’ll meet philosophers, we’ll meet homeless crack addicts, you know and they’re like “yeah I have that same feeling.” But I also do this and you’re like “really, no shit?” That’s the funny part, all these weirdos that do graffiti that live these double lives like their professors or whatever the fuck they are and they go to work every day and nobody knows, they’ve kept it secret all these years.
Like Clark Kent?
There are a few dudes who I’ve met where I’m like “I’ll hit you up” and they’re like “no, no, no, sorry bro.” Even me I’m like, “no I’m cool, I’m not giving them my number.” I’m like, “No shit? Good for you, keep it going.”
So why Saber, what does that name mean to you?
Originally, it was just some kid had the name. He was like, “I don’t like it” and I just happened to be standing next to him and I was like, “I want it.” He was like, “I don’t care.” That was it, I grabbed it earlier enough to where no one else really owned it. And then I was like “dude these letters are sick!” That was it and from that point on I was like, I have to own this name. It wasn’t necessarily about the literal sense of it, it’s more about the mathematics behind it which I thought were really unique and interesting. It was a very powerful name! So I just knew I had to go all out after that day, I was like “I found my purpose.” That’s pretty much it, it was pretty easy. I just happened to be at the right place & right time.
In Spanish, you know what it means..
And then there’s the Star Wars reference.
And then there’s the Arabic reference, it’s a sword but it’s like, religious intent. There’s a spiritual intent behind it. It’s also like a holy war-ish intent you know, now just for Amerikan CIA purposes I have no affiliation with any mother fuckers, this is LA. But regardless, the word has many meanings. Also in anime, it’s a pretty popular name.
It’s all about the letters & the math behind the letters.
The balance, the way the “S”…
The angles, proportions, the curves.
About your LA River piece, did you ever paint it by yourself? Do you have any stories you could share as far as the length of time it took or any kind of insight about that piece specifically?
It was definitely a process. The first couple of times I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing and I kind of learned as I went. I mean there are too many stories to get into because you’ll be typing forever but definitely…one time my friends chased me out of there and I thought it was someone else so they chased me on purpose. And fuck, I got cut up by razor wire got all fucked up, fucking got shredded by razor wire and they were just laughing! I got cut up by razor wire & they’re down there in their car because they drove in the river and they’re just fucking laughing at me! I was like, “oh you assholes!” I got chased out a bunch of times. My dad just to get the photo, the one photograph I got, Cuatro Flats chased him with sticks, my Pops dude, my Dad.
On the Meat Factory Side?
Yeah, and I was on the other side. He didn’t understand I was like, “run, run, run” and he didn’t understand. He was like “what, what,” and I was like, “look, look, look” and he finally saw them. “Oh shit!” So he ran, ran his ass off and I had to run all the way back and all the way back to the car and drive all the way around.
He was just running dude, down that dead-end street. Yeah, they were screaming at us and everything. Another time I saved some homeless dude, he pulled me in the river, that was fucked up.
He pulled you in?!?!
Yeah, I tried to save him. And then I ran and got a piece of bum house, ripped it off and then he grabbed it and pulled me in. And I just got surgery on my shoulder so I only had one arm, so I was like stuck in the fucking river for like two bridges and my little neighbor kids were with me so they were running with me going “oh my God what do we do? What do we do?”
You floated for two fucking bridges?
Two bridges dude and I couldn’t get out & the water is so nasty dude, it was so sticky. There are reasons why I’m sick now you know, I was swimming face-first through the butthole of the city of LA, you know what I’m saying?! Lighting fires in Belmont Tunnel, breathing spray paint until I was vomiting, straight up. Yeah, the river was fucked, it’s a dangerous place. If you got injured, it’d be a while before someone found you.
What did your Dad think when he saw the final piece?
He was, “like you’re crazy, you’re insane.” He knew he couldn’t stop me, I told him they can’t stop me. You’re not gonna stop me. He didn’t really know what to do. So he was just like, “all right.” I was lucky though, I got along with my father and he always took care of me. Rest in peace pops.
Did he learn to embrace it out of maybe love or respect for you?
He didn’t have a choice dude, he was just like, “fuck it,” you know. I was like “the police might come to the house so be prepared.” He was like, “alright, fuck it.” I mean he never said fuck it, he just knew he had to accept it. And they were white middle class, suburban. I tried to hide it. They didn’t know, you know, conservative, they didn’t know what the fuck was going on really. I was like, “look, this is happening and the only reason that I’m out of here is that it keeps the police from raiding the house because I live in a different county. There were like, “are you serious?” I’m like, I mean, they saw us on the news, the front page of the LA Times, they were surprised I wasn’t already in jail at that point, you know?!? I had to move away. That’s why I moved to San Francisco because the police were threatening me. I was like, “alright I’m outta here.”
So you went to the Bay. What was it like out there for you? I know about the graffiti and stuff but…
I mean, that’s a long saga in its own you know.
Like a separate chapter for you yeah?
Yeah, just going up there and just saying fuck it. Going all out, trying to do everything we can to take over the place. I mean right when you roll into the bay Fate had that giant billboard, Canadian something maybe, fucking GIANT! He had a few giant billboards up at the same time.
I don’t know if you want to talk about this or not but why was there such alike animosity towards your presence there?
Because we’re fucking assholes & we were there to be dick heads.
Not just crushing but like other…
I mean you know, we’re assholes too so I mean it’s not like we’re just like everyone, all happy and shit. Things were really different back then 98? Maybe. I mean there the first day we were there, fucking Revok fought some dude in the street on Market Street, you know? The fool had a mullet too. Fuck it’s on dude, all the knives I had, Oh man, this is gonna be a challenge.
But at the end of the day, everyone got along and it became a beautiful place. And I learned a lot about life through the Bay Area. There are great people there.
Wasn’t there that crew, UB?
Yeah, United Babies? Those fucking kids. Yeah, that was Buder’s crew. You know, it was a good challenge for us. It was good that they did that. It taught us a lot about the Bay Area. And their like essence and their like, love for themselves, you know, and the culture of it. With LA it was just all out like, who gives a fuck, fuck everything. But the Bay had a certain sense of, you know this is ours and we want to protect it, and so I learned a lot about the Bay. You know, I think it’s a special place, I think there are certain aspects of it that make it a really cool place.
You know, and I love all those motherfuckers. So, you know, there’s a lot of good people up there. They put in the work and I miss a lot of people so you know. But back then we were straight assholes. We thought we were just bigger and better than everyone else. I mean, we were to a certain degree. But we had to learn how to participate to a certain degree. But you know, I got a lot of love for those people & for the city itself. I miss the spirit of that place.
Rest on peace TIE JADE, there are others.
After everything you’ve been through, I realize you touched on this a lot in various degrees. But after everything you’ve been through, why do you still have this spirit for graffiti?
I don’t know. I think it’s more like a, there are too many things to touch on. It’s the act, there’s the thought, there’s the development. You know, there’s the rush. There are so many aspects to it that I’m already addicted to. You know, the whole Saber thing I could put down, I would prefer it die off in a nice little corner than completely play it out. You know? Because of that aspect, it’s difficult but as an artist, I’d like to be somebody else. Somebody completely different than that. I’m not trying to be Saber the artist. I’m good at what I do. Like I said, it’s about the absurdity, the raw energy of it, I think it’s the path it presents. So as long as you’re doing the act or still participating in something that’s out of the box, something that’s different than everything else to a certain degree. In every aspect of it’s already been played out, squeezed dry, but there’s the rawness of it, the authenticity that’s still in it. I mean, a lot of it’s played the fuck out let’s be real. You know what I’m saying? But you know what’s authentic and feels right & has that spirit. I mean, I guess that’s something that’s unexplainable. That’s why we continue it. You know, I think that’s what needs to be protected.
It’s the act of it, why did the dude scratch a fucking you know, a mammal in the ceiling? Because he just felt he needed to exist & feel that moment. And so that’s what it’s about. I mean, that’s the key.
With your high profile graffiti career and existence, you went and used that platform to shed light on police brutality and the unnecessary deaths of innocent people at the hands of police. I really appreciate that personally as an activist. I feel like it put you in a vulnerable spot. And at the same time, it’s kind of like well fuck I’m a man, I’m not afraid and whatever. And I’m going to stand up for what’s right. There’s that side of it, but as far as wanting to maintain your own existence, I feel like it put you may be in a vulnerable spot. I respect it a lot. So what made you go that route so fearlessly?
I think it’s part of the heart behind it, to be shared, the energy behind it, there’s a lot of energy, so it needs to go somewhere. I always felt that because we knew how to do things and we knew how to paint, we knew how to use our voice to a certain degree, we tested those waters & it was important to us it. We felt the need to and some things would just make me fucking mad. And I would just be like, dude that sucks. And I had a lot of energy so I was like the energy has got to go somewhere and this is what I’m emotionally responding to right now. And if I put my energy out there, then I would say well, I’ll put my heart out there or the truth or what I believe was the truth & try to be as honest about it because I didn’t want to tarnish Saber or the crew, but putting myself out there. I always figured if I was doing something that mattered or doing something that had a purpose or from the heart then it was acceptable. You know what I’m saying, like for me as an individual because then I can say, ok well I tried.
For sure, how about the aspect of, it just puts you in a vulnerable spot as far as your real life, your real name, your address and your personal life. When you have this high profile graffiti existence, and then you’re out there, basically uncovering something that the police don’t want to be publicized at all.
Well, I was willing to take the risk and I don’t know why honestly, I don’t know why I never went to jail. I got away from it because I always complied with their bullshit. So I did the community service. You know, at the end of the day I had like over 600 hours buffing. I liked my palomino beige. We used to have to get police escorts in the hood to buff the gang graffiti. I liked the buff detail. I learned a lot about the city through community service. One time my mom paid for a lawyer. She’s like, “I’m not letting you go to jail, fuck that.” I was like, “ok, you know, whatever, do it.” I was willing to go you know, but she was like, “no, you’re not going.” Because I was going to go to a….I was going to be in trouble. Back then they had a green light on all taggers 594 so going in posed some major issues. But honestly, I don’t know why I never went to jail. I was always expecting to go, I was always expecting the house to be raided. I think too because people liked my shit because I tried to make some things look pretty.
“We got in a lot of beef. There was a lot of threats. Other people got their lives ruined.”
So I had to move; I moved, I was about to go to jail. So it was always like, well, I’m going to put myself out there and I might have to pay for it. But when you test the waters, you know, it’s like Donald Trump. He just keeps testing the waters, but how much more you can break and destroy and keep going and going until someone stops. So with that, how much more can we get away with? How much more can I put myself out there? How much more you know, before it resulted…there were lots of problems for doing it. You know, keep in mind again this was a long time ago. We got in a lot of beef. There were a lot of threats. Other people got fucking, their lives ruined. You know, but that’s when everybody started putting themselves out there because of the internet, that’s when the internet first started. So it came to a point where we all came to the conclusion that there’s going to be no way that we can avoid our identities. There were too many people doing too much shit so…I mean, Gkae was on the cover of the fucking LA Times with his face. So I mean, it was already out. And I knew that a lot of people liked what I was doing. So I was like, well if they come after me they might look bad. You know, to a certain degree and I can use it to my advantage. I worked hard on a lot of big walls and kept them up. We all tried to keep our walls up. It takes a lot of work.
It would seem like you guys played that fine line.
People went to jail.
But it would seem like you guys play that fine line really fucking well.
Well, we’ve had a lot of practice, a lot of time to venture into those waters. And we had guidance from older people that wanted what was best for us.
Was that Eklips?
Yeah. He always wanted what was best for us. He didn’t want to guide us in bad places. He wanted us to be successful.
That’s really tight.
You know, he wanted us to be productive and successful. I mean, it’s great we all want to go vandalize and wear this badge. That’s to that individual and their little mission. Somehow the big picture lies to why the fuck are we all doing this? But his reason to hold on to it, it’s his own personal reasons. He’ll tell you. He always was ahead of the game. Creating things out of what he learned from graffiti. I mean Seventh Letter did a lot. Started a lot of people’s paths into other things. We learned a lot from those days. I learned a lot from Eklips. He is like an older brother. But think about though. You know, I mean you’re 40 years old and your spraying walls like, for the thrill of it? Clearly you’re a dysfunctional human being but at least you figured out something. You know?
You’ve been somewhat public about not only your journey but some of your challenges. And phrases like, “come hell or high water” or just this level of perseverance that however you safeguard it, however, you hold on to it, and the level of perseverance that you’ve grown into, in your journey. It’s almost a sadistic level of perseverance that you must assume to maintain your every day and have a healthy perspective in your mind. and have a healthy perspective in your mind.
I mean, it’s something I have to work on. It’s perpetually, something you have to do is work on you. Honestly, I want to paint more, I want to do more things, I want to create more things, I want to experience some nice things with my family. So it’s like just tripping out on being human. It’s kind of crazy when you think about the big picture. I don’t know. There’s parts that I’m still learning about how to keep going, and I think there’s more I want to do. That’s kind of key to it. I found something I love and a lot of people don’t get that. So the fact that I’ve been able to spend so much time with something that I love, it’s kind of like extra points. Some people who spend lifetimes trying to find something that they love. So I was lucky to find it early.
And blessed with the ability to recognize what you’re passionate about, and having the vision to see it through, in various stages of life. Like, I think that’s something that you can say also.
Well, that’s part of the creative process. It’s like, you have an idea and how are you going to manifest it and some ideas take a long time to manifest. So it’s about the full process and continuing to challenge that process is what’s kind of most interesting, I think, being a graffiti writer and understanding it from that process point of view. There’s a lot of interesting aspects to it. And I think that’s where some of the things that we can offer as a culture into the next language of a visual into abstraction or whatever it is. And there’s a lot of interesting things that we’ve developed that textures, visual languages that I think haven’t fully been explored yet. I really liked that aspect. Honestly, it’s just a weird obsession with just loving paint. And like, fucking with it constantly. I mean, it’s weird. It’s like this weird obsession. I think that’s why people do what they do. You know, some people like fucking engines, I don’t know some people just love something, you know? I’ve learned, though through this it’s made me love other things too so…I mean, I’ve got so many ideas it drives me nuts. There are so many different ways to take the language. There are so many different ways to do this, you know, but if you’re not that individual who will put in that work, I think that’s only going to last for so long. Because we’re going to be in such a digital world that you’re gonna have to be a fucking hacker and a fucking dysfunctional motherfucker all at the same time just to go spray paint. The future is untold. You don’t know where the fuck this is going to go. You know, we’re just at the beginning of this. I was just in Bangkok for three months watching graffiti and it was in its infantile stage, but at the same time you have all this religious fucking writing and you have fucking weirdos who have gone psychotic, drawing everywhere and fucking math formulas and we had our crew – Cider, who helped start painting out there. You had a lot of dudes from the western side of the world, you know, doing Western graffiti there but it still had raw background. It’s still had raw brick and still had raw concrete.
“LA is like, Armageddon already happened. You know, New York, Armageddon already happened.”
You know, there’s 10,000 layers on one wall here in LA. So it also exposes to a certain degree where a certain city is on their own, with their language and their reactionary aspect of how graffiti causes the city to deal with it. You start dealing with all sorts of aspects. Being a traveler is interesting because then all of a sudden you start seeing where cities are within their urban development. You know what I’m saying, including their laws and how the locals deal with the aspect of graffiti. I find that interesting. You know, LA is like, Armageddon already happened. You know, New York, Armageddon already happened. Certain cities have already just already been turned over. You know this is one of them. I feel like a time traveler sometimes, you know which is kind of interesting. That’s an interesting feeling culture-wise. But honestly, my biggest mission right now is to figure out how to explore this language in a new way. What’s new? What’s really going on? Who’s doing what? What’s happening? There’s so many fucking ways. And I appreciate & have always loved spray paint, there’s no doubt. But you know, that’s one aspect. But if you have that credibility, you’re able to translate that credibility into other things? Like, where does that take you? Some people do cars, some people are tattooers, I don’t fucking know. But how do you translate that? For me, it’s art, painting. Translation of ideas.
“I love painting. I want to be compared to the great masters somehow, someway.”
I want to make sure that there’s a legacy within graffiti that’s recognized by art to say, well this was the round table then and it was misunderstood because it was stuck within the hip hop format. So everyone thought we’re just Hip Hop’ing you know what I’m saying like, we’re just Hip Hop’ing, bro’ed out hip hop’ing, get the fuck out here. You know, yes, there’s truth to that, but it goes a lot deeper, you know? And there’s a lot of blue-chip artists who have capitalized on the textures and language that we built that really made a lot of money and have capitalized on ownership of creating that visual format and textures. I used to not like that shit. So now, I like it more because I try not to be as angry about everything. So I see it as an opportunity to say “hey, oh, by the way, we did that too. And I’ll hang off bridges to do it.” And they go, “whoa, that’s crazy.” Because now I can show them me & be like, look. I love art dude. I love painting. I want to be compared to the great masters somehow, someway. But they’re going to forget us real quick. They’re going to roll over us. Banksy will be remembered, Kaws will be remembered because they made a lot of money. Banksy opened up a lot of doors. He opened up the British language of their communication via debate and an absurdity. I mean, if you understand the Brits, you understand why Banksy is so brilliant. It’s not the way it looks, but it’s the language he’s able to convey. It’s fucking brilliant. There’s no doubt you know, does it look like shit? Yeah, who cares? But he created a message and that’s what’s cool about it. It’s the discussion that can carry on behind it, nobody can talk about what we’re doing. Nobody knows what the fuck it is. It’s a secret language. And then we get mad when street artists win and fucking get cashed out because they did a character with a message? And then we get all jealous and talk shit. Who gives a fuck about that we’ll still crush him anyway. It doesn’t matter you know? So we have to decide what’s most important to us. The cornballs have no clue what the fuck is going on that somehow wants to capitalize on me. I could say yes, street art, groovy & everyone gets along. I can’t bring up graffiti and I don’t want to. I’ll lie straight to their face and be like, “yeah street arts fucking groovy.” It softens the discussion and if they want to open up the can of worms and they want to hear it, and they’re cool enough to hear it then I’m going to scare the shit out. We’re going to talk about some real shit. So I try to hide that, you know.
“I think that’s probably a good route to take when it comes to just the business of things.“
Yeah, that’s the business of things, you know your art and what it is used for. Street art opens up a broader discussion for that so if you are a graffiti writer with other talents then it gives you an opportunity to say well it’s STREETART Duh! So let’s avoid the whole fucking discussion about why I am a GRAFFITI WRITER. And I’ve used my energy into something else different and I can get away with it now because I’m calling it “street art” and nobody else can say shit because I have a reputation as a graffiti writer so come test me, motherfucker. You know, that’s a good position if you want to go paint and hustle opportunity. But really you know, it’s us that destroy ourselves, it’s not other people. We eat each other, that’s kind of the whole part of it. Fuck it, capitalize dude they’re going to capitalize on us and all the hard work we built, all the walls we tested, all the spray paint we fucking dusted, all the fucking laws that were broken, all the fucking dick heads with their t-shirts. Like we tested all those waters before street art even existed. So fuck it, I’m going to capitalize on that.
As you should.
That’s not going to make me sellout because at the end of the day, I’m going to say well, I’m trying to keep them separate.
It’s interesting that you say that. We almost are our own worst enemies within our movement. Reminds me of like within activism, how they’ll have black and brown animosity or just that dynamic and how we’re ultimately stopping ourselves from progressing?
But what is progressing because all we do is celebrate being fucking miscreants in the middle of chaos. So what are we trying to celebrate? Like, how stupid is that? If you think about it, we’re like vandalizing and then we’re going to be like, well I’m trying to celebrate something. It’s like dude we’re writing on people’s shit, you know?
You’re funny dog. (mad laughter)
Like we’re trying to get fucked up. We’re trying to fucking steal, we’re trying to do a bump in a fucking dirty bar bathroom. I’m trying to bang your girlfriend and we’re trying to write on your shit. I mean, come on, dude. That’s what makes this real. That’s what makes it you know, we’re hotheads. We’re dysfunctional, grown motherfuckers dude.
You want me to include that part?
Yeah, I don’t give a fuck. Now, to anyone, I don’t participate in any of that.
Generally speaking though
You know, I had my days. I was out there a lot. But, you know, like you said, if you’re out there doing that shit and you got a family out there waiting for you to come home then what kind of dickhead are you really? And that’s fine, go be a dickhead. That’s on you because we’re all gonna pay the consequences for our actions. And my kids have to see me have these fucking seizures and see me foaming at the mouth, arm dislocated & me fighting an ambulance and then panicking about it and this shit has happened hundreds of times. So I’ve accepted my own mortality. I’m lucky to be alive at this point. And it is from the spray paint and all the injuries but no doubt the spray paint had fucked me. So now if I can grow from here, then I can be successful. I have the tools, I’m the best there is bro. Translating this art form into a…I was the first to ever paint a Saber canvas. Nobody had ever painted a wild style into a piece of abstraction or a small few before me. Like I can show you one of the first ones, the first to ever outline a piece with a roller. Nobody had ever done that. They’re like “whoa, what is that?” The first characters to put paint into a fire extinguisher. We’re the first to create a visual format that can translate over into something different. Like a lot of people were taking the same thing and putting it on a canvas. Now you couldn’t build from that, you know, you had to do that in order to build from it is what I’m saying. So by all means, you know and some of its brilliant and that’s what makes it classic and important. But to get a bigger idea, we’re some of the first to do that. Some people have tested those waters but as a visual movement and as a format, we’re the first to do it and I’m one of the first people to be there early enough to do it. No doubt about that. And I just didn’t understand the politics of the art world. I didn’t understand any of that. That’s where I made my mistakes. If I could still win somehow that would be great.
As mentioned, I very much romanticize downtown LA and how it was so long ago in this land that time forgot. Considering you’ve put in a lot of work down there, what sort of images come to mind, stories, anything that relates to downtown LA.
I mean, downtown LA was always kind of a no man’s land, so I was always afraid of straight downtown. Broadway. I never fucked with it. I knew I didn’t belong there. I knew I’d get caught slipping. I knew I was taking a great risk by lurking around there. I knew I stuck out like a fucking sore thumb, this gleaming ass fucking cute white boy walking around downtown LA with these zombies with hatchets, missing eyeballs, and shit, you know? Downtown’s gnarly bro.
“All of them strapped, I was like, “oh my God, someone’s gonna die.”
So a lot of shit went down with a lot of people there so I knew I had to tread lightly. But I liked Santa Fe. So I’d always try to find ways to make a mark on Santa Fe. And then that’s when we had the GAT factory. That’s where we were friends with Mr. Cartoon and his spot, that’s where Risky had his spot. So we had places to go that we could be safe, and test waters and lurk around there. And then start feeling safe by being there, you know. And you know, like I said before, the first time I ever got drunk was in fourth grade on Santa Fe at my cousins illegal loft, you know, a lot of crazy shit went down there, you know especially on Santa Fe because you have to cross over from East LA, and you had all the lurkers from the south and then you had everybody trying to get fucked upcoming from Hollywood. Just getting lost, so you’d always run into crews too. I was always trying to avoid OFA, KWS, fuck it, you name it dude. I remember the first time I met Mozart, I was like, this dude gives LA its reputation. Fucking Mozart KWS, straight G, straight fucking G. I remember one time I ran into like all of OFA on Santa Fe. I was like “oh my god,” it was at least 100 fools all with those little tails, they had their little tails and their bald heads, all of them strapped bro, like all of ‘em strapped. I was like, “oh my god these dudes, someone’s gonna die.”
“What the fuck are you doing here? You have nice skin, you’re not rotting. Your eyeballs are not falling out. You don’t have typhoid or some shit.”
You just run into so many lurkers, you know. You had that freedom of expression down there too because it was kind of that no man’s land so you can kind of get away with shit too. But Risky was down there so he was already painting walls and testing the waters, you know? So it meant a lot of fun going down there, it’s always a lot of fun. And then when we get bored we can go into the river, you know. I’d avoid south LA, I wasn’t stupid. You’d get smoked in south LA. Although I had probation in Compton and that sucked. They just laughed at me. They were like, “what are you doing here? and I’m like “graffiti” and they were like “get the fuck out of here.” Two years of probation, 100 hours of community service. There was fucking gang blocks on the courthouse. Yeah, I had a definitely interesting perspective because I was from the suburbs and I was just a fucking blue-eyed white boy and LA was just like…out, you get caught and it’s on. So a lot of people would be tripping like, “why the fuck are you here?” Like seriously, they’re like, “wow, why are you here?” Because I’d be by myself, I’d be like, one or two people but I’d go to the craziest places. And they’d be “why are you here?” And they always liked the fact that I was trying to paint and they’d be like, “Oh that’s cool you’re trying to paint so fucking paint.” So I’d always be with a group of people, I’d always be with a diverse crew. You know? So people are always tripping on me like, “why the fuck are you down here?” Dudes are building like homeless encampments. And they’re like, “what the fuck are you doing here? You have nice skin, you’re not like rotting. Your eyeballs are not falling out. You don’t have like typhoid or some shit.” You know? “Why are you here?” I’m going the tunnels all the way in the tunnels. I come across homeless people and they’re just like swamp people and they’d be like “what are you doing here?” I make friends with them, you know. I come back to bring them food. I miss the old LA. That shits gone, it’s a different world. So more credit to you if you’re still painting and you’re still out there. More credit to you, be safe. Do what you gotta do, just learn from the experience.
“I allowed the idea of not finishing the piece to take over my safety and well -being and I was like, “I’m gonna die.”
What’s going through your mind when you & your homeboys are painting those train bridges, like the one on the 710?
That was Gkae I mean, Gkae is crazy.
But you did that one on the 710 too.
Yeah, and I spent way too long doing it dude. I thought I was gonna die that night. That’s when I realized I need to stop doing this at this level because I realized I was risking too much. I’m surprised I didn’t fall really, I way overdid it. And I allowed the idea of not finishing the piece to take over my safety and well-being and I was like, “dude I’m gonna die.” I did a lot of dangerous shit after it but the 710 was the most dangerous thing I ever did because the ledge was the smallest. There was a certain point where there was nowhere & nothing to grab. So you were floating. It was so dirty that the dirt created a film. So that did all sorts of shit. You were lower to the freeways o the rush from the semis and everything, the air that sucked you back was a lot closer. And the bridge would shake way more…the 5 freeway was really fucking dangerous but the ledge was at least 9 inches. So it was enough for my feet. Maybe I can get 11 inches. I can get most of my feet on there and then I can grab the corner. But the 710, I was like…this is way out, way too dangerous. But I finished it, when we finished the sun was coming up. Gkae just kept yelling at me. He was like, “dude, finish this shit. We’re going to go to jail finish it” because he’s fast. As the sun was coming up and I finally finished it, a fucking security guard was just standing there in the bushes, just with a white face, just like shook because he watched the whole time. And he was like, I can’t believe I’m watching these kids do this show. He didn’t call the police. I think he was just in shock, we walked right by him. He didn’t even look at us, he just was in shock. It was the weirdest thing. I almost got shot off the 5 freeway bridge. After it got dissed by some kid in East LA. I put motor grease all over that fucking thing. I went out there in the daytime twice. And my boy Siva was painting the other side like a fucking idiot, stupid ass. I told him not to. And sure enough, a security guard on the other side saw him. He was aiming at him dude, he was trying to pick them off. I thought he was gonna get shot off, we had to run. He was aiming at us. That was kind of scary. But I climbed out there in the daytime that photo I have. I climbed out there in the day and then turned around that was crazy. Because I had to move my body & if you fall you die. That was it. There was no in-between. You’re like falling on top of the freeway. One time the bridge caught on fire, it was on every news station. Burning on fire & the Gkae was melting off. I’m trying to find that news footage. It’s the coolest footage too. All these helicopters circling and you see the Gkae & Saber and the whole freeway shut down and there’s a gas tanker just crumbled in half just burning the bridge. Mine didn’t get burned, just Gkae’s and he got charged for it too. I didn’t get charged, he got charged. They were trying to build a big ass case against him. For some reason they left my shit up just up & just buffed him.
On the 710 you did more than just your name though.
I tried to do a wild style like an idiot, like a multi-color fucking thing. I let the task outweigh my will being, you know? “A kid from Thousand Oaks falls off a bridge in Long Beach and fucking dies and kills other people because it’s fucking cars crash and two children were killed because they were with their mom and the fucking coming home from the hospital and some dickhead spray painting on a fucking bridge.” It’s retarded dude, if you think about the whole thing. I’m just glad I did it and got away with it. Lived through it. That was definitely the most dangerous other than being impaled.
Do you want to talk about your crews, MSK & AWR?
Some people have completely destroyed themselves and other people are trying to become better humans. But we all come from the same path, the same inspirations. So that’s kind of what we share. The fact that we share this chain of events and inspiration. I think it’s important, I think that’s why we care about each other you know. Some people are doing some good things, you know. Like I said, my boy Revok he’s a real inspiration. Some people can hate on it, some people can love it. Some people could not understand it, some people can eat it up, it doesn’t matter. He’s taking the risk on his own and doing what he fucking wants to create his own language. Following his inspiration. And that takes a big step too you know. He’s becoming a lot bigger than Revok. He’s broadening his language and you got to be a real master to own your own language, to develop your own language. My boy Zes is one of the greatest painters I know. You know, actual painters, an abstractionist. Like something that can be compared to two great masters that are hung in museums. You know why? It’s because he’s beyond authentic. He paints with his true heart and his true experience. Some people can understand it, some people could love it, some people could hate it. It doesn’t matter, it’s from his heart. And it’s his own visual language. A true living master. I like a lot of different work too much to even absorb. Graffiti wise there is a lot. Rime, Reyes, too many to think about, katsu with his fucking spray drones, I like how Defer K2S has beautifully translated his own language from LA writing style that they developed, really cool. I think what’s important. Myself, I’m building my own visual language. I wish I could do more right now. I’m always working to do more.
I think it’s safe to say you’ve done that for yourself, despite wanting to always do more you know?
Yeah, I think I’ve done it. It’s just never enough, never be enough. And I still need to get better. I always need to get better. As much as I’ve done, I’m still not good enough. That’s just, that’s the adventure. That’s my choosing my own adventure. But I’ve done some things and I got some good benchmarks in there. I mean, I’ve still done some things nobody will ever do again. Nobody’s ever going to paint the 5 freeway, nobody’s ever gonna do that. That’s never gonna happen, at that level, at that illegality, at that risk. And even if they do, it’s already been done so fuck it who cares. But it’s a new world, you know? Instagram’s changed the whole game. There are so many people out there, so many it changed the whole game. There’s so many layers to it now, that didn’t exist then that are part of this new world. We don’t know what the outcome is yet. We’re living on algorithms we don’t even realize it. Assholes are fucking doing face photograph filters, not even realizing their fucking data is being, their face data is being recorded and shared and used & shit on. It’s a new world even as you read this now. And it’s so normal to everyone.
But when you step away from it & look at how much it’s invaded our lives you go, “holy shit” and that comes back to the idea that I can remember a world without it. So ok.. fuck. How does graffiti fit? Where it’s a…it’s a physical hacking to a certain degree, it’s physically hacking cities. Think about it.
“So I’ll paint the world’s largest illegal wild style that you can see from space, risk my life and freedom and well -being and then still worry about the fucking Del Taco bathroom toilet seat.”
I don’t know man, at the end of the day you know, there’s going to be community builders and there’s going to be villains, there’s going to be fucking toys, there’s going to be lifers. So what does it mean? We don’t have to get all like fucking righteous or Hip Hop’ey or whatever the fuck, but we need to be careful. Because then who are you as a human being? It goes back to I want to scratch my name on toilet seats, why? What makes me feel so compelled and so shallow and so fragile that I need to see my name the next time I go into the Del Taco, and see my name on the toilet seat. What the fuck is the point? That’s the question why? I do I read every scratch I see. Then you start realizing it’s everywhere.
It’s never enough.
It’s never enough. So I’ll paint the world’s largest illegal wild style that you can see from space, risk my life and freedom and well-being and then still worry about the fucking Del Taco bathroom toilet seat that trannys sit on what the fuck is wrong with me? And I apologize to anybody who, you know what I’m saying I’m all open except all you right wing mother fuckers, I’m open for everybody as a person I can’t judge you I’ve seen too much crazy shit to pass judgment on… well, unless you’re a fascist fucking Nazi you know, I’m open to everyone I don’t give a fuck. But still that was Highland & fucking Santa Monica so you know. I don’t know if we need to include all that but…Why? So if you’re going to read this and think to yourself why, what compels me? Where am I going to be in 10 years you know?!? You’re on the path now. So where are you going to direct it? Or you could just be somebody that doesn’t want to think about those things. And are you going to live now for the moment only? And sometimes those are those are the strongest individuals in this room. Those are the ones that kind of don’t give a fuck. And you know what, by all means, focus your energy. That’s great. Go crush it, you know. You have a mission. But we just can’t act like there’s no consequences. Our actions count. They also compile over time.
You’re a parent now, you have kids.
The entire time these guys been alive. They don’t know, it’s really who I am & the amount of energy I really have. And they’re like, “we don’t understand. And I go “because I have to show you.” “We don’t know what that is.” And I’m fine with it.
Your kids are quite young though.
My daughters old enough to understand.
Children are brilliant and they understand things I think before we realize they understand.
They don’t understand the context because they weren’t there.
I would imagine they would put the pieces of the puzzle together when it comes to understanding their father’s life and they’re like, my dad is like an acceptable outlaw. He’s like a cool superhero.
No, no, no, no, definitely not. Definitely not because they’ve also seen me at my most vulnerable state.
But they see you as a survivor.
No. That’s a bad position as a parent.
How could they not?
Because I’m Dad and that’s good because that’s the normalcy that I want to have. Because then it’s like, I’m trying to lead a normal life.
For sure, but with all that coming together I would want my child to see me as a survivor.
But how could they not draw that inspiration?
I have tried, I showed them. I don’t hide it from them. They’re just uninterested for now. They are young, but I take them places to see things sometimes. I point things out. Sometimes they ask “why did that guy call you Saber?” And I’ve been on fucking TV. They’re like, “why are you on TV?” I just straight vandalized a TV show.
That was like some mainstream TV show right?
Yeah, a lot of people saw it. And there they don’t even give a fuck, they’re just like whatever, Dad’s on TV. You know what though, but that’s fine. Because things have been hard to a certain degree. So if I can create a sense of normalcy where they’re into their own shit and they don’t even know what I’m doing I’m fine with it.
Everything’s safe and solid and secure.
Yeah exactly because that only lasts for short spurts for me. Just follow your gut, follow your gut, and then at least examine your actions. So go ahead and fuck up. But at least examine it why? Then if you want to be an outlaw, then go be it. But minimize your drama for other people & do it right. You know, because we’re talking about graffiti, I’m not talking about bank-robbing or killing people. We’re talking about writing graffiti.
“If you’re going to commit real crimes, if you’re going to be bad to people then you’re going to accept the consequences at some point. At least graffiti has a purpose, has a mission as a mode of self-expression.”
So anyone else who says I’m promoting people to do bad things can fuck off because I’m giving somebody who’s having challenges in life a new…. I’m not giving it to them, but the conversation is supporting them to say, go down this road then because your other options in your head are a lot worse, you know what I’m saying? So I think that’s why I won a lot of space in LA was because a lot of dudes were my age and older pretend sometimes and use me as an example for the younger brothers to be like, “nah, you’re not gangbanging dude, you’re gonna do what this guy did.” And I got attention that way. My goofy ass got a lot of passes because a lot of dudes will come up to me and be like, “you know what, you’re approachable enough to bring my little brother by. Is it cool if he comes by and watches you paint?” And I’d be like “hell yeah.” And I will always have material and always something to share with them, try to give them something. And I always talk, I’ll be like, “yeah, what do you want to know? Let’s talk.” And lot of times, a lot of times those kids use that path as a way to not gangbang, as a way to not get into drugs, as a way to not chase ugly things, but used as “ok well now I know I want to do this and fuck it, I’ll take the risks. The risks are acceptable for me because I have a reason.” If you’re just dealing drugs – the risk…unless you stash that money away that risk is highly…It’s not equal. Plus what you’re doing to everyone else in the process. But if you’re going to commit real crimes, then it’s like, if you’re going to be bad to people, then you’re going to accept the consequences at some point. So at least graffiti has a purpose, has a mission as a mode of self-expression. So that’s where we can get all cheery and cheesy and happy about it, and say “well, there’s something good in it.” So, therefore, I can openly promote it. Regardless if I’m telling somebody to break the misdemeanor law of vandalism 594 you know, go ahead and do the community service and you know, if they’re charging you a felony, get a fucking lawyer. Just understand what you’re doing. Understand why you are going to carry this with you? Your name? How much are you really going to live up to it? What are you going to do with it? If you’re going to crush walls, by all means, please, please go do it. Please. But if you have other things you want to do then great. As long as you put your heart into it and you’re smart about your actions. You’re going to pay the price though. There’s a price to pay. If it’s your health if it’s your psychological well-being if it’s family members if it’s.. whatever it is, you’re going to pay the price. You’re going to pay a price. And you know other people that might want to talk shit and say you’re a fucking sellout, you know I get them every once in a while.
You’re a bitch, or this or that, somebody will say something. I go that’s fine you know. I would hope you’d understand the results if you said that to me in person but by no means do I need or what any conflict with anybody.
I don’t see the sellout angle though unless someone’s just like mad.
I’ve made mistakes. I don’t think I’m a sellout. But I always use that as a biometric for what’s right and wrong for Saber, you know. For the culture of graffiti and I made a lot of mistakes there. We were some of the first to package this shit. But I needed money and if there was another way to make money I’d do it so..All of a sudden our art was popular, people are like “can we use you for something?” Ok, then all of a sudden I had to learn what was right & wrong about the art. Some of this didn’t really exist yet.
That should blow up so hard though.
Yes & no, it did but at the same time, we didn’t know what we were doing and we got taken advantage of.
With GAT? I remember seeing mostly GAT.
Well GAT always did. Fucking Louie. But he showed us new things. Yeah, Louie was always a scumbag. Most people in the clothing industry’s scumbag. So I got a good taste of scumbags trying to use you for your art. But I learned some things and a few people came out of there.
I used to see that shit everywhere!
Yeah but you know, it never turned into Ecko, I mean it never turned into a multimillionaire thing. It was just the first.
About Tie & Ayer, what would you like to share about them as far as, not just their graffiti because it’s pretty well documented, but like their spirit and your interaction with them, things like that, stories, etc.
They were on a whole other level. I mean, they both are writing a certain wave that only a few people have ever ridden. You know, nobody’s ridden the path they were on successfully without, I don’t want to say dying out but, going away afterward. It was one wave they rode, the rode it as they rode it. And when the waves stopped, that was it. They as human beings were gone. But they rode so hard and so fast that, and so honest with their true heart that their lives meant something. Very few people on the planet get to ride a wave like that. And it’s maybe its music, maybe it’s an invention, maybe it’s addiction, I don’t know what it is dude. But it’s a wave that had a creative spirit behind it, and had a sense of outlaw behind them. And a certain sense of authenticity just can’t be matched. And they rode that wave as hard and as fast as long as they could. And to watch people, to watch somebody do that and be next to them. You know, it tests you because then you know that they’re doing something that you’re not. I’m still riding the wave. I rode it hard as fuck but they rode in a certain way.
“He tested the authenticity, the love and the heart of graffiti, and the development of it in a way that nobody can match ever again.”
There was no veils behind who they were as human beings. It was their full expression as people were out in the open. While most human beings hide all their intentions, and hide their feelings, and hide their waves. These were two individuals that rode it out in the motherfucker open as hard and as fast and mean and as cool and as innovative as they could until that was it and they were gone. And I’ve seen quite a few people do that. And graffiti is that venue, graffiti is that adventure. I mean, there’s no comparison between the two. Other than they rode a tidal wave. And it just kept going until it crashed. And that was it. You know, Tie was maliciously and unjustly murdered. And so was Ayer. Graffiti wasn’t enough. That was the tragedy behind it. He was special. But he did it and that’s something that can never be taken away. Tie was another ballgame, he was a whole other level. It was no stopping, it was too much. It’d drive you nuts. I think he was autistic possibly, or he had Asberger’s or something. He had something like that because that motherfucker was crazy. Straight up. He’s as crazy as it gets. But he put all the energy into the act of graffiti, so it was something that we all supported. The dude’s unstoppable. This little dude, this little guy, this little fucking guy, this little dude with bright green eyes who was completely nuts would challenge us like, straight nothing. And he would get away with it because we knew we couldn’t beat him. He was just a whole other ballgame. I mean, he was obsessive-compulsive on a level that was unheard of. So he put all that into graffiti. That’s why he was special because he could’ve got into something else. And so he tested the authenticity and the love and the heart of graffiti, and the development of it in a way that nobody can match ever again. But you had to be there to see it, because there’s no way to put it in context. Because there’s no way to see the environment that he was doing it in. There’s no way to see his energy unless you saw it. With no idea, he was like, 10 people’s worth of energy. Like straight up, there was no stopping him. Except the fucking bullet by William Porter. Fucking blew his back of his brains out in front of the whole neighborhood. And no one gave a shit & the cops fucking covered it up. That was a real tragedy, a real tragedy. That’s how he was gonna go out. People like that just don’t become old. People like that go fast. Because there’s like I said, they’re riding a wave. I’ve known a few people like that.
That’s something really special when you’re able to generate that momentum because you’re so passionate like you have a healthy obsession kind of…
No, it’s completely unhealthy, completely dysfunctional. There’s nothing healthy about it,
But directed in a productive way.
It’s anti-productive, you’re just creating so much vandalism. It’s like an entire armies worth. I mean, there’s nothing positive about it dude, other than he’s not completely destroying his life faster. You know, we can’t romanticize this shit, it was a whole nother level of holy fuck. I mean straight up, we can paint pretty wild styles and do our little fucking hip hop events, and everyone can get along. But that was a whole nother ballgame, straight up. That was a whole nother level of dysfunction. But that’s why it’s special, but there was a lot that was not positive about it. It was just good that you know, we view it as positive but the rest of the world really doesn’t like it. It’s like a glitch in society.
I view it as positive because when you think about a person’s reality, their home life, their childhood, whatever might have happened in their childhood. I am going to forever romanticize and love graffiti because of what it did for me so that I didn’t choose all these other avenues like suicide or drugs or gangs. And so for me, oh yeah it saved my life.
Yes, that’s the safety net. But we can’t turn our backs from the idea that we have to corrupt ourselves first. In order to have that authenticity, you can’t be some happy ass fucking kid and be like, “yeah, I crushed graffiti.” You’re a fucking degenerate, dude. Let’s be real, fucking drug addict thief. You can’t stop banging girls, you’re out of your mind. You thrive on conflict, you thrive on dopamine dysfunction. But that’s at that level. You’re not a healthy person if you’re sitting there trying to hack something, I guess depends on the mission. And there are some aspects of gangbanging that somebody would say is completely fucking fascist. Other parts would say, well you created a brotherhood? Right? So it depends on your point of view but you can’t deny the fact that if you’re going down this road that you have to be open to some chaos and tragedies like there’s no doubt about it. But now it’s different so I don’t know what the fuck is going on, people are worried about putting shit on Instagram. But there are some real mother fuckers out there. There’s some real dudes you know. Anyone can do whatever they want dude, as long as they care. You can’t ask we can’t act like we’re fucking crusaders. Dude, we’re trying to go to cities and be fascist and write our names on people’s shit. And then turn around and be like, well don’t do that to my shit & if you touch my shit I will hunt you down. It’s fucking retarded. I mean, if you really think about it, the energy you can be putting yourself out there for. “I want to learn mathematics. “Okay, go for it.” Like “I’m gonna steal paint & then I’m going to go write on someone shit.” That’s why pits are cool because at least it allows discussion to grow & the development of it to grow by sharing ideas. Vandalism is vandalism & I love it too.
Any last words you’d like to share?
Right now it’s just about what’s best for me and my family and how to continue. Really, I’m in a transition. Part of me is like I already did it, I already expelled it. You know, what the fuck else am I going to do? And then the other part of me is like, well, I’m just getting started so I gotta get healthy first. I don’t know where it’s going to go, I just got this fucking machine put in me. I mean it’s fishing out every two weeks, for like the last 10 years. So all this shit’s catching up with me now. I can’t do shit right now. I mean, I do things that are important, but I have to really conserve that energy. I have some things I want to do. I always wanted to write a book about all these adventures and my challenges as a creative person with these health challenges. I thought that’s kind of an interesting thing. But right now, I don’t know honestly. Because look what’s happening in the world.
So making art and putting it on Instagram and trying to sell it seems so small now. You know what I’m saying compared to what the fuck is happening on the planet. So I don’t really know. I’m almost like kind of waiting to see what’s going to happen. Like, I see everybody expelling that energy. And I see it as this selfish little thing now. Like I’m not it’s like, losing interest. I almost wish I could disappear & not let anyone see what the fuck I’m doing & just live a little nice life somewhere and paint on my own terms. Just don’t even let anyone know what the fuck I’m doing, that’s what I would really like to do because then I can do it for the pure of that, the purity of it, not to survive, or compete. Fuck all these galleries, fuck them. If you want to package my shit, I hope we can get along well and you’re going to make me some other fucking money. Project wise it’d be nice to have a lot of resources to be able to do certain things. There’s a lot of things I would love to do. But those are what-ifs at this point. You need a lot of money, you need to start talking millions before you can really play ball. You can go spray & that’s cool and all, but if I do it for myself. I wish I could just disappear. Live around trees and shit and play with the language. That seems the most fulfilling when I think about what I could do as a person. Now it’s just living this new life. This digital life, this survival life of living this, you know, post-capitalist like, pseudo fascist fucking, this fucking landscape that’s growing on us that I don’t even think we realize what we’re in for. We have no clue. So let’s use these face filters. Let’s post on Instagram. Let’s share our personal data. Let’s have a profile for our kids. We’re living in a whole new world and we don’t even realize it. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I want to do more. I want to get better. You know, and I could say I’m successful. I’ve done some things. But what’s sustainable success? And that’s the problem with this whole culture. Not graffiti writing. Yeah, you have wins, but how do you have sustainable success? There’s only a few that’s done that. That has to do with banking & value, art business, art politics, wealthy people. The same people we’re criticizing we’re helping to support by selling our work. It’s a fucking conundrum dude if you think about it. Let’s go do art, graffiti art for the corporation. That sounds great. You know I do it half the time because I need to, I don’t want to do it. As long as I set the terms. So you’ve set the terms first and then figure out what you want to do with it. You have to learn business to a certain degree if you want to be an artist. Over the years I swam in the swamp trying to navigate on my own. It’s slimy as fuck, mega drippy motherfuckers. But there are so many different aspects of it, graffiti writing is completely different, totally different. And if you’re smart, you’ll keep those worlds separate. I crossed over lot of levels because I like doing all these different things. This culture is going to only live for so long really, it’s going to evolve into something else, the rebellious nature of it. So like really, it’s not all about me but what YOU are trying to do?!
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