You’re from Halifax, Nova Scotia. How long have you been writing, and what’s the history of your name?

I have been writing for about 16 years. I don’t really count anything before that, as I had no idea what the hell I was doing (and still don’t) ha! I wrote a few different names before changing to Space in ’04. I took some flack for a previous name that was too close (in letters) to another writer at the time. I ended up staying up all night in Coder’s basement, trying to come up with a new name. When I woke in the morning, the first word I saw on this handicap sticker that Code had on his wall was “space” so I gave it a try and the rest is history.

How did you get into the scene, and what was it like when you were starting out?

I got into graff from seeing a friend of mine doodle on his notebook, in grade 7. I asked what he was doing and he said, “I don’t know, I just like this word,” so I figured I’d pick a word and try it out myself. It’s too bad he never stuck with it, he has sketches that burn most people around town today. A few years later, in high school, I met some other people who (kind of the same scenario) saw me doodling my name and asked me what it was. I told them that, “I just write this on things,” And then they, too, jumped on board, and thus ABK was created. When we came on the scene, Halifax graffiti was bumpin’. The downtown core was smashed by HW and the surrounding lower income areas were smashed by CBU.

 

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Despite being the largest city on Canada’s east coast, Halifax often seems overlooked; why is that?

I feel like it’s not hard to over look Halifax. There isn’t a whole lot going on here, and when you are young and can choose between cities like Vancouver, Toronto, or Montreal it only makes sense to go to one of those places, where shits always poppin’. Aside from some cool scenic spots, the most exciting thing you might see in a day is a container ship roll in or out of the harbor, or some bums drinking fax on Barrington street. Although Halifax breeds great writers, it’s hard to make a name for yourself out east, without traveling, so I try to get out at to a different province or city about once a year to jam and push the name a bit further.

Who influenced you, and your style development?

Well, my biggest influences, I’d have to say, were style master Sketch and Estr the 1st. Estr (Rifle) was the first already-established writer I had ever met in, I’m gonna say, late 2002. He showed me how to do oneliner tags and throws, and just a bunch of other shit. I’m pretty sure I still have the Bristol board that we doodled on together. Of course, Sketch was super up in the most redic spots with wildstyle throwups that burned so hard. The hood was on smash and I wanted to be part of the action.

 

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Your pieces are well known for their wild fills; how did that develop?

That’s a good question. I’m not really sure where it came from, or who really influenced it. I feel like my shit was boring for so long that I just tried to jazz it up with wingdings and shit and I guess it paid off haha.

What kind of spots have you been painting recently? How often do you paint?

Well, since around 2007, we have been steadily losing spots around town, and for those of you who know, it doesn’t make it any easier to be a writer here. It’s a small city with a somewhat vicious buff and pretty much all of the abandoned buildings get torn down immediately. The tracks that I grew up on used to be so chill that you could get drunk with your granny there, and now its hard to even sit at the writer’s bench to have a beer without getting chased out by 5.0 or CN police. It’s fucking stupid. So, its pushed me and my crew to be a bit more creative in finding spots to jam. This year, in particular, I’ve been smashing virgin walls like its nobody’s business. I put in a lot of time searching out spots that are within two and a half hours of the city, and we usually ride out at least once or twice a week. I set out at the beginning of this year to paint 50 burners, aside from the normal 30 I usually do, and I’m currently at 47, so by the looks of it I’m gonna smash that number out of the park.

 

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Who are you painting with these days?

I’ve been painting pretty much solely with my crew. I have little to no interest in painting with people who I’m not down with, or who wasn’t someone I came up with who has moved on to bigger and better things. I love to get my old friends out now and again for the old jokes, but as for the new jacks, “I like your hustle, but you’re cut.”

Many writers from Halifax have achieved a lot of recognition. Is that kind of recognition important to you?

Nah, I don’t care. It’s just what I like to do with my spare time and share experiences with rad friends.

 

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You’ve painted with some really heavy hitters. In terms of skill, technique, or talent, are there any writers that shocked you?

Umm, I wouldn’t go as far to say they have shocked me, but it’s cool jamming with new dudes from time to time, or people you looked up to when you were growing up. In a lot of ways, I hate meeting writers that I looked up to as well. Most of them are pieces of shit haha, but there’s some cool ones too. I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t meet your idols. You will more than likely be sadly disappointed.

You have been a member of numerous influential crews in Halifax, what’s the history there?

Well, there’s quite a bit, but although we have repped a few different crews over the years it’s been the same group of friends for the most part. I mean ADX (Adict Crew) was created from ABK and some of the remaining writers from CBU in the beginning, and then it got pretty big. We came from all kinds of different walks of life, but we all got together to jam and have jokes all the time. Those years were thick, but as time went on most of the dudes started to fall off and there were only a few of us left that were still active, and some new faces came on the scene, and thus, BME was created.

Then, as before, time moved on and some the other dudes fell off and it was back to me, Yron, and Rifle. So, we then, for the final time, decided to resurrect an old crew from way back (ICM). Since deciding to bring that back we put down some new members (Skum, Foes, Premo, and Olsen) and this time I think we nailed it. The new crew is more active than any one in the past and the new jacks on our squad are hungry. So, its really interesting to see what’s gonna happen in the up coming years.

 

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Among local writers, who is highly respected in the scene?

Well, pretty much our squad runs shit around town. Aside from that there isn’t much going on. A few of the cats that we came up with still get down from time to time, and I got respect for that. If I had to shout anyone out, I’d say cool Cabe, Ceas, Aeso and Fuze would be on the top of my list, for respected writers out side our click that still get down from time to time and do their thing.

It has been suggested that the East Coast graffiti scene is somewhat stuck in the past. Do you think that this is true?

I don’t think that’s true at all. I feel that it’s arguable that our scene is at its best peak in years. The people who are doing it, are doing it right. If you have ever peeped Nfld., that place is on smash. I feel like there’s more action going on there than there is in Hali and I’ve got mad respect for that, because St. John’s is even smaller than Halifax and the fellas there are crushing it. I’m seeing something come out of there every day that makes me go “damn that’s a great spot!” The styles aren’t quite there yet, but in a few years I think the rock will be producing as good, if not better writers than Hali. As for PEI or NB, I haven’t seen much potential come from around those parts in a few years, so hopefully that will change!
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Any stories that you want to share?

Well, shit. There’s soo many, it’s crazy. From cutting trees down to make ladders to get to rooftops, to taggin’ bank vaults and drinking 40s in underground tunnels in Montreal, it’s been a fuckin trip. I never knew, when I started this shit, where it would take me and I’ve seen some things and places that most people never will. I’ve made life long friends and have the best memories of times spent with them. They are what keep me going and without them who knows where I would have ended up.

”Graffiti, the places you will go.”

You were dropped in NFNC. How did that come about?

Well, my boy Endzo moved to Ottawa for work and met some of the local writers there, one of which was this wild child Slots, and the two became good friends. So much so, that Slots started coming out east with Endzo when he came home for a few days. I also had a good childhood friend who moved out that way, so I found myself going yearly and after meeting Slots we decided to link and jam whenever we were in each others city’s. He introduced me to his crew and we all just got along really well. I got mad respect for those boys and the rest is history.

Are any artists catching your eye at the moment? Do you see anyone really pushing graffiti forward?

I don’t really pay too much attention to who’s doing what, to be honest. It’s about the people I know. I really look forward to seein’ their new shit pop up.

It doesn’t seem like there is much love lost in the move to rural walls. When PEI had its peak years ago they were hitting bridges and rural walls too, for the most part. Do you see this as a defining feature in Atlantic Canadian graffiti?

I feel like its definitely important. Everything changes and you either learn to adapt or you fall behind, so we adapted. And others will have to as well if they want to keep up. But time will tell on that one.

 

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Has the freight scene been significant in Halifax?
The freight scene here has always been great. People who know about it come from far to peep it. A lot of Hali famous writers made their name here painting freights. We have the best spots and get a lot of cars that other places don’t. It’s not something I’ve put a large amount of time into, but I always enjoy smashing out panels, and when I do it always leaves me hungry for more.

Any final words before we finish?
Graffiti isn’t for everyone. People don’t realize what it costs; friendships, relationships, health, money, time, and its all for nothing more than a flick that you will probably lose anyway. The memories fade the same way the paint does, and after time you are left wondering what the hell the point to it all was. But, for me, I wouldn’t change a god damn thing.

Interview by: Luke Beirne

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