I recently went up to Milwaukee to interview STAN IJPC.
Why don’t you start by telling us how you came up with your name?
It’s funny because it started as a joke. Graffiti is like a bunch of harsh names and my friend who writes Brian thought it would be funny that we write regular names, and it stuck.
How did you get into graffiti and how long have you been writing?
I started writing in 2004. I used to go into a skate shop down the street from my house. A lot writers used to hang out there and one day I walked in and saw a writer drawing in this black book. I said that’s dope.. I can do that! That writer, who to this day is one of my crew mates and a good friend said, you can do whatever you want to do. He let me do some busted ass letters in his blackbook which are still there. I don’t ever want to see them again (LOL).
Obviously you’ve progressed from that blackbook – How have you grown?
At first it was about bombing, and fucking shit up. As I got older, I realized there’s more to it and I started to build my letters and skill set with hopes of potentially becoming something in the game. I think that’s what drove me. I wanted to show older heads that I was in this for the long run.
I think it’s very therapeutic and overall, I want to get better and better and continue grow. To me, it’s about skill now. I’ve done the bombing and all that shit – I just want to get better.
Tell us about your crew and how it started? Are there any other crews you’ve been a part of?
I am IJPC, DWA and 2CIK. When I was growing up, 2CIK was a crew I looked up to. I eventually met EMPHR and other members and we instantly clicked. A few years went by and they put me down when I was 17. I’m honored to be 2CIK.
I started DWA in 2005 with a group of friends. That was more of a bombers crew – Damage With Aerosol. Then in 2014, I started IJPC to try to bring in a new generation of writers.
How about your style and how do you feel it has evolved over the years? Who or what has influenced your style the most?
My style is traditional funk – NY style graffiti. My influences would probably be my crew members the most, but outside of that I would say TCI, ATT and MSK crews. I also like MAST TGE and HM crew. From overseas I like Wildboys, Zeus and Opium. They are style innovators.
My biggest mentors are EMPHR and my other crewmates.
What was it like growing up in Milwaukee and how do you feel the graff scene here has changed?
Growing up, Milwaukee was crushed with graff and a lot of gang and drug violence. Over the years a lot of names moved out of town or fell off. Now, it’s a lot of gentrification. Milwaukee is gentrified to the neck right now and a lot of areas that used to be bad are very nice but with no graffiti. The buff is really active here.
Besides “know your history,” if you could teach something or tell the new generation of graffiti writers anything, what would it be?
I’d tell them to learn the rules of graffiti and the process of elimination. I’d also tell them to work on their letters. Letters always should be first – ALWAYS! They should listen and take advice. Also don’t be afraid to push boundaries and don’t to be afraid to paint that spot, yanno, that different spot! Always go the extra mile!
How does graffiti play into your personal life and “day job”?
I’m a barber. Fading hair, like fading colors and backgrounds – that fade has to be right. That plays a major part in my graff. My crispy lines and fades are huge in graff and in my barbering.
I realized I was an artist in the 3rd grade when I copied some images onto some paper for a project. People noticed and I realized I was good. I ended up doing a lot of school programs and projects with art. In the future, I have plans to go to school for cartooning and graphic design.
Graffiti was an outlet to get away from negativity and the street. Maybe one day some kid on the block might see me and be influenced to be a writer or artist. I think that’s most important to me.
I know you guys travel down to Chicago, do you travel other places to paint? Any upcoming trips you are looking forward to?
I like active scenes. I love Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, the Midwest. I know that the south is active too – Memphis, Louisville, Atlanta, you know, the south period. I don’t know much about the West Coast, but I have plans to go west as well.
I travel to go paint, but also go to just check out events. I’m a student of the game, and I just love to watch people paint and learn different techniques and hear stories. Writers have all these stories and I love listening to them without even painting at some of the events.
How do you feel the internet and technology has affected the scene? Good? Bad?
It has its pros and cons, but I could live without it. It’s good for connecting with people, but I don’t like that it gives a lot of negative people a platform.
Got any crazy bombing stories?
I think the craziest one would be when I was under a bridge with two of my close homies. All of a sudden, we saw like 3 or 4 different sets of flashlights coming down the hill toward the bridge we’re painting. We’re like oh shit! and we start running. We had to clear this fence and I had a hoodie on from one of my guys that was shot and killed the week before. It had his name and RIP on it. So we’re climbing the fence and my hoodie got caught and ripped in half which sucked but we got over. We ended up on one of the blocks and we noticed some guys on a porch. We asked if we could hang out and kick it there for a bit. We didn’t even know them, but they were cool. We were just chillin on the porch when one guy was like why are you painting? We said it’s just dumb shit we do! They were like you know some girl just jumped off the bridge and killed herself. Turns out, it was at the exact spot where we were painting. We couldn’t see anything, but that is where the police were checking for the body. We were just minding our business painting and had no idea we were a painting by a dead body.
How much time do you put into your craft on a weekly basis and was there ever any advice you received when you first started out that has stuck with you?
I try to paint every week at least once, sometimes twice, but paint for sure, whether it’s legal or illegal, as long as it’s anything graff related. The first piece of advice that stuck with me, was to work on letters and take my time. Don’t rush! I still stand by that advice.
Do you have a favorite brand of paint?
I think LAK changed the game! From all of the promotion they do, sponsoring events and promoting really good writers, down to the quality of paint and valves.
Who are your favorite artists or writers that you follow today?
AWE2, TEACH FCR TCI, EAST ATT DF and RAPES ATT (RIP)
Do you have any shout outs? Where can people follow you and what can they expect next?
I hope to have a solo gallery coming up sometime later in the year. You can expect a LOT of graff and I might come to city near you! I hope to travel a lot and just non-stop painting. You can follow me on Instagram at @stanley_sprays.
We recently held SummerSprays Graff Jam Milwaukee in July. This is our annual event which started in 2017, and brought writers from all over including Indy, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Chicago as well as local writers. We want it grow to be an all-city event and get sponsors and vendors involved.
I want to give a huge shout out to EMPHR, CRUPT, my girl that holds me down – VELVET IJPC, my crew and TEACH.
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me for Bombing Science!
Thank you Melissa and Bombing Science!
Interview: STAN- IJPC – By Melissa Brand, @LissAhhB on IG