Interview by S. McDonald

Bombing Science: How did you get into Graff and what were your early inspirations?

Pose: Boredom and the unbelievable urge to be up everywhere and rock burners.  In the early nineties (pre buff) Chicago’s graff scene was BOOMING!  There was so much good graffiti and so many writers, shit was destroyed, riding the trains as a child it was the most unbelievable shit I had ever seen, nothing could describe it.  With Graff visually sinking in your whole childhood you just get to a breaking point where you go out, rack some shitty cans and try your hardest to figure it out. Then comes the wildfire that takes over your life, the excitement, bombing, chases, beef, wars, court cases, racking, friends, fights, good times, stories, travels.  The next thing you know it just completely consumed the last 17 years of your life.

BS: When did you realize this was what you wanted to do for the rest of your life?

Pose: Ha, I still haven’t figured out if it is!  Seriously I’ve been asking myself that question a lot the past few years, and unsuccessfully attempting a retirement / hiatus. I have massive OCD so painting graffiti has been less about a choice and more about a life coping mechanism for me.  Either way regardless of how bad graffiti will run your life through the ringer there is nothing that compares to it and im sure il never be able to fully quit…ever.

BS: Here in the Midwest Graff had been in decline or at least dormant for a while, but for the last year or so I’ve seen a real resurgence. Has anything like that been happening in Los Angeles?

Pose: I have only been in LA a handful of times so I’m probably not the proper authority to speak on behalf of the LA scene, although I can say my AWR/MSK Fam has been holding down the west coast like no one in Graff history for as long as I can remember!

I will say it looks to me, as there is a major resurgence of graffiti globally.  For the steaming pile of shit that the internet/technology is, it has exacerbated global Graff activity to an insane level.

Although I lived and painted in Chicago most of my life I also lived in other undesirable American city’s for part of my life and always travel heavily to paint, so I’ve stayed fairly nomadic.  I will say Chicago’s back with a vengeance.  The buff (Mayor Daley’s Graffiti Blaster’s) started their highly effective campaign in the mid nineties and did quite a job on our scene and history.  Although its one of the toughest buff’s in the world thankfully in the early 2000’s OG’s made came back, new jacks began sprouting up like weeds everyday.  That coupled with our clean train scene has really put us back on the map.  So yeah, the Chi is back and although they are buffing every day, kids are painting every night.

BS: You avoided the graffiti / art gallery crossover until recently. Why did you want to avoid it, and what made you finally give in?

Pose: I never got into graffiti to do art; I got into graffiti to do graffiti so I was always against taking the medium out of its true place in the world and putting it into another. Originally I felt it would lose all its potency.  Its like taking a lion out of the jungle and putting them in a zoo, he will just turn into big pussycat on display for a bunch of morons that don’t understand him. When I was a kid I would much rather see a lion hunt and chase down a zebra and rip its beating heart to shreds, not docile and being fed in a cage. But with that said I have done art for long time completely separate from my graffiti, at this point it no longer makes sense for me to keep narrow restrictions on myself, its friggin 2009 for god sake.

Times are changing rapidly, and some of my peers are putting the work in to change the way people view graffiti writers and their life’s work.  They are opening the door to where you can still be aggressively active in the street as well as a multi faceted, successful “artist” and entrepreneur.  It’s a tough hurdle with the legal ramifications and publics narrow perception of graffiti. It’s tough but they are making it possible while keeping their integrity. So I feel opportunities are broader for us these days, if you are willing to risk it and push into new territory.

To be honest most of my personal goals in a classic graffiti sense have been achieved a while ago, and I don’t get off on the competition / race for fame like I used to. It’s all about a different sense of personal fulfillment for me now.  I don’t want to get stale holding onto shit, chasing old goals or faking it.  It is what it is, I still have fun with it im just not racing that same race anymore, other things excite me in the same way Graff did when I was a kid.  I guess that’s what im trying to articulate is that my new personal hunger is aimed at pushing other boundaries that’s why I recently decided to start showing my artwork. Also I am frustrated with the whole street art phenomenon and all the jokers milking its teat, there are people that I greatly admire in that genre, but the majority just want the milk without the work, and are reaping the benefits of other peoples struggle.  The word “street” is blindly handed out Halloween candy these days, no earning it, no living it, just anyone willing to slap up a sticker and get a flickr account.  From my experience the majority of writers that really do it and invest their life in it, struggle and mostly get stuck, period.  Honestly just want new goals and aspirations to keep me motivated, creating, innovating and pushing for bigger things.  I guess it’s the same shit as when I was a kid, time is short and Im not trying to tread water.

BS: What is We Are Supervision, why and for what purpose was it created?

Pose: Supervision was created with similar aspirations.  Create an arena for legal hustles, for talented friends / peers that have and continue to pay their dues, have the skills, and want to pay their rent and lawyers.  Since graffiti as any sub/youth culture is and continues to be a more and more a lucrative asset for major corporations and advertising agencies to coop, we wanted to get back some of that power and get the proper people paid. Despite the current economy, the past 5 years have been really good for a lot of us.  A generic description of what we do is would be… we creative problem solve, i.e. design, illustrate, paint, run events, and consult for big clients.  Beyond that we are an “artist collective” working together with similar experiences and a common goal (to not have a shitty day job working for a bunch of strokes).

BS: What have been some interesting projects We Are Supervision has worked on, and do you try to work in a graffiti sensibility into those projects?

Pose: Unfortunately not that many are interesting from my perspective, at least not worth further promotion for the companies involved, just money makers for the artists involved. 2009 is a new era though, with many books, videos and art related projects soon to drop.  We have hustled and stacked our chips for a while in order to do the less profitable to no profit jobs we believe in, so be on the look out.

BS: As you have traveled recently for TSL and Swindle, what are some things that stick out in your mind about people, graffiti, art…?

Pose:  Shit man, all of it!  To be honest there is way to much to get into specifics and I have already rambled way to much as all is all I can say is anything to do with TSL or Swindle, you know it was real good people and real good times!

BS: What is on the horizon for Pose1? …Graffiti, galleries, projects…?

Pose:  I’m still going to paint the graffiti cause I can’t stop and I friggin love painting point blank.  But a grip of my illustrations will be popping up at various gallery shows, and some really solid collective art, video and photography based projects are in the works.  Sorry, trying not to spill the beans just yet.  Just big things coming, hopefully big enough that you wont have to look, they will find you.

For more Pose pictures, click here…