If your addicted to Instagram like I am, you can agree that it has it’s ups and downs. One of the upsides in this particular case is the explore page. It brought my attention to Smock. His vibrant colorways and letter funk kept me looking for more. And I’m a sucker for dope color combos! After scrolling thru his page, I was far from disappointed and you won’t be either. One day I thought why not hit em up to find out about the man with the can in his hand named Smock.
Let’s get the basics outta the way, shall we?
Name, preferred spelling-Smock
Crew/s you rep-AOS 713K TPS
City or State your from-Houston, Texas
How long have you been active?
I picked up my first can in 1999. I took a break from the scene around 2007 when I had my first son and picked it back up in 2013.
Why the name Smock? Is there a certain significance?
No significance..I just liked the letters at the time and thought it had good flow…definitely not the coolest letters in the alphabet..so I’ll change it up with a Smawk every once in awhile to keep things fresh.
On average, how many hours do you spend sketching?
I try to draw everyday, it’s mainly just ideas and scratchy pencil sketches not complete pieces. I can’t even count how many unfinished outlines I’ve drawn. Sometimes I fall into a worm hole and spend my entire evening sketching. Recently I’ve just tried to freestyle at the wall. Always depends on the sketch though, it can limit you at times. Definitely something I think I need to do more of.
Who did you look up to as an up and coming writer? What drew you to their work?
It’s a long list…pretty much anyone that was up, doing shit in Houston in the late 90s early 2000’s motivated me to pick up a can. I’d say the one with the most influence on me coming up was Keli..his shit was the first graff that caught my eye and led to me stealing my old man’s left over krylons out of the garage to go catch tags of my own…dude was up every where in my hood..couldn’t go far without seeing a tag or throw…
Do you mainly paint permission walls or random illegal spots?
I mostly stick to permission walls now but I will still occasionally get out there and do a little something. I’m more focused on progressing my paint skill and letters then getting up at this point in my life. I have a lot more responsibilities then when I was younger…so staying up all night roaming around the city isn’t an option anymore.
For illegal street spots, do you prefer tags, fills or burners? (all depending where they are).
Hmm…well as a spectator I like it all..as long as it’s good quality.
As a spectator, who’s work do you look forward to seeing and why?
I always like seeing the guys I came up with still out there putting in work. Like my boy Shef, he’s constantly pushing the bar when it comes to hitting new spots here in Houston. My dude Yahew as well, he’s always putting in work with a unique style. I also enjoy seeing all the guys from out of town roll thru and kill shit. There are lot of different styles and takes on spots they hit ie: Konqr, Niets, Ich are a few that stand out in my mind.
The color combos you come up with are fire, where does your inspiration for them come from?
Thanks..most inspiration comes from every day life..keep your eyes open there are cool color combos everywhere. Or I’m just throwing random cans together I have in my garage and hoping it comes out cool.
You’re in a couple different crews. Which one came first? And do you play a certain role in any of them?
AOS came first for me, it’s actually a crew I started with 2 others friends back in 99. We had a few rough years but we’re back and kicking now! I wouldn’t say I play a specific role in them but I do try to keep people motivated to paint and progress there skill level for sure.
You’ve painted with numerous writers, is there one person in particular that really pushed you to the next level? What made that experience different than any others?
Oh man…yeah…everyone I’ve painted with has pushed me to get better…learning new techniques and ideas…or just not wanting to totally suck painting next to someone that’s better then you…but I’d have to say Coler…he’s one of those guys I think everyone in Houston has looked up too..shit is so effortless to him…he definitely makes me want to push myself to the next level skill wise.
You throw up Heavy Goods (a clothing brand out of the UK), what’s your relationship with them?
I’m part of their writer team, kinda like a mini sponsorship.
Who else is on the writer team with you?
Skey, Akume, Taste to name a few…
If you could go anywhere in the world to paint a wall, where would it be and why?
I can’t really think of a specific place off hand. I’ve always wanted to rock a piece on the beach though, somewhere with nice ocean views.
What’s your take on the graff culture now versus when you started. Good vs bad…
It’s definitely a lot different from when I started…with social media and shit…but I think it has it’s ups..I’ve met a lot of writers and painted with a lot of people I thought I never would have thanks to the Internet.
What’s one thing you get out of graff compared to other things you might be involved in?
Keeping my brain creative! I think staying creative keeps your mind young…so that’s a good thing…no one wants to get old.
When your not out painting, what do you like to do to clear your head and unwind?
Exercise…I try to stay fit and healthy..
What line of work are you in?
Let’s just say I’m a blue collar guy…
How do you balance life at home being a graffiti writer?
It’s tough between working long hours…spending time and taking care of my family..then squeezing a piece in on Sunday morning..to start over at 4am Monday morning. I don’t think I’ve actually found a balance yet….
Yeah..all my homies..whatup!!
Follow SMOCK on instagram
Interview by attng3tr
Photos by: Smock and Nick Whittemore