Give us a brief introduction of who you are and your history in the graffiti game.
I started writing graffiti when I was 14 years old. One of the new kids from my class in high school sparked my interest in the Hip Hop culture by introducing me to the art of lettering and street murals. Growing up in a working-class neighborhood I was surrounded by graffiti which motivated me to focus more seriously on it.
Thus far I have gone through three phases with graffiti. At the beginning I was focused on making myself be seen, so I mostly bombed with simple throw-ups and smackers. Later on, my intention shifted and I became not only interested in bombing with just two or three colors, but also adding backgrounds, highlights, auras, drop shadows etc. Essentially I wanted to go the extra mile without changing the essence. My intention was to make it look appealing to everyone, not only other writers. Currently, I’m focused on evolving my style and be as creative as possible, so I enjoy having chill walls where I can spend hours painting.
So you come from Spain, but currently live in Chicago, what brought you to the U.S.? How was the graffiti culture shock when you first moved the States? Tell us some interesting stories.
Correct. I moved to Chicago from Madrid, Spain in 2017 to relocate with my wife. Graffiti is very different here than in Spain because it originated 10 years before so it feels like it’s purer. Graffiti crews organize jams or other events alike very often and you get to meet many other writers very regularily. You write with older people and even the OGs that you looked up to from when you were back home. Two things that caused graffiti culture shock for me was that every writer asked you what crew you were with right when they met you. Something else I found interesting was the fact that there is a word for “spot jacking”, LOL. Basically when you paint next to someone whose piece has been rocking for a while, and a few days after they buff the both of you.
Can you describe your style?
My style is a mix of European wild style with a lot of influence from traditional American wild style. More precisely: detailed letters with a lot of straight lines, cuts, arrows, and color contrast.
When you were coming up who were your biggest inspirations? Who were the guys that inspired you to get into graffiti and what keeps you coming back now?
Most of my inspirations were people from my city. I grew up reading the Hipflow magazine looking at murals from the brothers Soen & Dakaneh LPS Crew, Sea162, Brake, Adios, Odio, etc. Internationally, I’ve always liked Skeme, Dondi, Bates, Geser and Revok. Among international crews, 1UP is the crew that motivated the most, and still does.
There are so many reasons as to why I keep coming back. Graffiti gives me the opportunity to express myself differently than everyone else. It gives me a feeling of eagerness to become better at it until one day I won’t have any complains about your own work and you become fully satisfied with your piece (yeah right…). If you are a demanding writer like myself, you know that you have to keep practicing and evolving your style, otherwise it will become obsolete and will lose its appeal, so the point is to stay active. I also love the idea of constantly working on your letters, your style, your colors, and your technique for the goal of, not only pleasing yourself, but especially displaying it to other people and have them appreciate it and spark their creativity.
I love the feeling of belonging to such a relatively small movement that unites us, regardless of how we look, or who we are. You meet really cool people who introduce you to other cool people from other parts of the city, the country, or the world. It feels SO right, even when everything else is going wrong. If love at first sight does exist, I can say this would be the perfect example. Ever since I started, I knew I wouldn’t stop.
In your opinion what separates a successful artist from an unsuccessful artist?
I think it’s a mix of intelligence, discipline, creativity, persistence, and humbleness. If you have all of these elements and on top of that you are willing to go the extra mile in order to achieve your goals, not only in graffiti, but in life, then you will be successful.
Do you make your fulltime living from graffiti or is this only an after-hours passion of painting with friends? How did you land your first gig doing mural work?
Graffiti has always been an outlet or hobby for me to enjoy. Occasionally I would land a gig and make a few hundred with it, but by far not enough to make a living. However, graffiti has obviously changed tremendously over the years and nowadays more and more people see the value in it. For me, I do graffiti because my body needs the art of lettering and I enjoy it even if I don’t get paid and lose money doing it. I leave the art on canvases for when I’m home relaxing, or when the weather doesn’t allow me to do graffiti. Then if I am lucky and sell a few canvases, I pay off what I spent over the month in graffiti supplies.
I landed my first job through word of mouth at an Auto Repair shop when I was very young, probably 15 or 16. I didn’t really have the skills to do a great job on the design the client wanted, but I knew it would be enough to please him, so I obviously took the job and got it done. Then a few years after I painted a bar, a gym, and a fishing shop, those ones turned okay. I believe the most I got paid was 400 euros.
What is the craziest spot you ever did?
I remember this one time when I was painting a highway medium situated between two roads on the highway that takes you to the airport. It was a hot summer afternoon and I had already painted a couple of pieces that day. Not only the location of this spot was crazy, but also what happened right before I was able to start working on my aura. This police car pulls up and my friend warns me that the cops are getting out of the car, so we take off running over this bridge. We decided to run in the opposite direction of traffic in case the cops decide to chase us by car. But surprisingly the cops came running after us! Yes, running in the highway! After 2 or 3 minutes of running (that felt like 20 min due to the adrenaline), we reached the other side of the bridge, and found the only possible way to escape. We had to jump over this steep hill that would take us to the road that was located below us, and we did. When we reached the bottom of the hill, I remember the face of the cops as if it had happened yesterday. They couldn’t believe that we had jumped! One of them screamed at us from the top of his lungs: “We are gonna catch you!” Haha…We kept on running as we saw police cars driving around with their lights on. When we found a safe place, I was so exhausted I threw up. End of the story.
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