Interview by Cian Walker

Bombing Science: An introduction- what do you write and what crew do you rep?

Preys: I write Preys and rep UPS
BS: Is there a literal meaning behind the name ‘Preys’? 
Preys: I wrote Juan for a few years, cause it was my nickname in school, and when I started writing for real in 92-ish it was pretty much all I had as far a name went, so I did that for a while, then in like 94 I think it was I got into a little legal and personal trouble and ended up changing my name to Preys, it’s corny now but at the time i thought it had enough elements to it that it could sound cool for more than a week, i thought it had an air of religious connotations, some danger, man of mystery and sex appeal, mixed in there, you know all the stupid shit you think is important when your coming up with a name. Typical frustrated angry young type shit. I mostly do Prey pieces as of recent, but to tell you the total truth i don’t really think about what it means much anymore, I think after a while it lost its literal meaning for me after a while and its meaning kind of becomes whatever you do with it. If i was wittier I would do more pieces that actually use the literal meaning more. Rath told me one time that he could write Sparkle and make it fresh, and I think that was when I started to realize that the writer makes the word fresh, when you start writing you are gravitated toward words that somehow reflect either who you are or who you want to be or who you want people to think you are, but once you get going and start to develop a style often the words literal meaning starts to drain away from what your up to, or at least for me, and it starts to be a symbol for what you do with it. What’s also interesting about that is when ever I see a writers work that I really like I always try to figure out how the literal meaning of their tag works into who they are. But maybe like me it is something they thought of a while ago that may or may not actually reflect anything about who they really are now.

BS: Some history, how long have you been painting and how were you first introduced to graffiti?
Preys: I started really taking painting seriously in 1992 when I went to school and met Rath, so like on and off for like 16-17 years as actually painting, but there were a few key events in my life that made me want to do graffiti, I saw Style Wars on PBS when I was in like 3rd or 4th grade and I remember after watching that and being blown away with how cool I thought that was, that night I did a “wild style ”piece with my moms watercolors and my dad’s rapidograph’s, I brought it in to the school the next day I was super fucking proud of this thing, I thought I was on to something, I showed my art teacher who was also my math teacher and science teacher and a Nun so you can imagine she was full of creative ideas, she unfolded it and looked at it and was like “this is no good”, thats when I knew there was something good about this graffiti stuff, then in 7th grade my best friend at the time had an older brother that did some graffiti and had all these pens and a they had a copy of Subway Art which I would study for hours while I was at their house, that summer my family was in London and we were at a bookstore and I saw Subway Art on the shelve, I fucking shit myself, i coveted my friends copy so bad, I remember thinking I will never see this book again for sale “I have to leave the store owning this”, I begged my Mom to buy it for me, I spent the rest of the summer copying every piece out of that book, from that point on I secretly thought I was a graffiti writer and I started really paying attention to all the graffiti I would see and made mental recordings of it.

BS: Where are you from and what’s the local scene like?
Preys: I am from Jamaica Plain which is a neighborhood in Boston MA, when I started writing for real I was in Providence, Rhode Island at school there. Providence and Boston had cool scenes. Boston had some good writers that I studied when I was younger and then once I got to Providence there was a really fresh scene kind of exploding with a lot of really talented cats. There was a tunnel in Providence where everyone went and you could hang out there literally all day and night and smoke and paint and no one gave a shit, it was a real central point for most of the writers in Rhode Island or at least for me and my friends. That place was really important because it gave you the opportunity to experiment in a public place, meet other writers and exchange ideas etc. Providence has a lot of schools in it including Rhode Island School of Design and therefore you get a lot of kids from other cities bringing there style there and some art school bullshit mixed in and combined that with the Providence local scene made for some really interesting graffiti.
BS: You have a very individual approach with your style- how has your work developed and are there any particular goals that you’d like to achieve through graf?
Preys: When I started writing I was pretty insecure in my abilities so I pretty much stuck to the typical graffiti rules and I quickly realized I wasn’t very good at them, so writers like Gaze DF, Alone OD and Futura where really huge influences on me, I am pretty sure I bit the life out of their shit, really because I felt like they didn’t play by the typical graffiti rules and their shit always stood out on the walls they were on, but more importantly it showed me that you don’t have to make letters that look like they are from NYC in order to make fresh shit, or at least what I think is fresh shit, so that train of thought got me to get my influences outside of graffiti for the most part, honestly one of the things I love to do to get new ideas for letters and color skemes and concepts is, I like to either go to my flickr account and view all the thumbnails of my favorited pictures, or go to my Cool Folder on my computer which is where I save stuff that inspires me and with just the right amount of weed to dilate my pupils I start seeing abstract shapes and weird color combinations, that very often lend themselves to an upcoming piece. I usually have an idea of where I want a design to go but then by looking at that stuff it helps mold it into something new. I guess my overall goals in graffiti really would be to keep developing new stuff that I think is good and not resting too long on one thing and getting better at design, color and technique and really try establishing myself and my name as a quality writer.

BS: What’s your ideal painting experience?
Preys: Ideal painting experience might be getting an insanely early start like have the wall rolled by 9 am, maybe, in a perfect world my ipod playing some relaxing bullshit, staying 100% focused through out the day, nice big ice coffee, 75 degrees with sun, no wind, all my friends there painting away, quietly working and having that nerviousness with each step that you could fuck it all up at any point and then not fucking it up that would be the ideal day of painting for me
BS: Do you have other artistic outlets and do they relate to your graff?
Preys: So I am a designer for work, I mostly design advertising and websites and stuff like that, so that is a great outlet but I also do a lot of drawing and a little printmaking, I would say that it is all related to my graffiti, in fact the more advertising I designed the more it made me realize that graffiti is advertising, and each writer is a brand, a brand name is one that is recognizable and usually written in the same way every time you see it take Nike for example they have a font that they use and they never really break from that, that is pretty much the sam as a tag, and the cool thing about that is if we are advertisers we don’t need to play by regular advertisers rules, we don’t have to buy the space to put our name there, we can put our name on top of some one else’s without getting sued, I know a lot of writers look at their work like they are a name brand and you see how it becomes more than just a kid painting something. like I was saying the advertising world has been influencing my work as of recent.

BS: What other artists- graffiti or otherwise- do you most admire? 
Preys: Futura is one of my all time favorite graffiti writers, I feel like that dude was 10 years ahead of his time in the 80’s and never looked back, he has always been on some different shit and it is amazing to me that no one ever catches up with him, and he is one of those people that the literal word that he writes actually reflect who he is and what he makes and always has. The other people I admire in the graffiti world are my friends, their passion and skills have motivated me to get back into painting every time I drift away from it, Rath UPS, Kem5 3a, Ges 3a, these guys take graffiti like it is their profession and I have learned most of what I know from hanging out with them, talking and debating about the world of graffiti art.

BS: What is your view on the current graffiti scene- both locally and globally? 
Preys: Locally, its a pretty soft scene, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of hardcore bombing going on here in Boston or at least nothing insane, however there are a few real standouts in that category and in the piecing category as well, I guess it is a pretty typical smaller scene, my favorite shit going on right now is either one the west coast or in europe, I have had the theory that because European kids get exposed to more and higher quality art and design through their childhood, when they get to the age of trying out graffiti their visual vocabulary is pretty big and refined, so they tend to take graffiti into new and exciting places, I should probably lump some of the latin american guys in there too, I must admit as an art form over all the US might have invented it but the Europeans mostly are taking it to new places and that is a big influence on me, back in 96 I went to Italy, Florence to be exact and met up with the PR crew their, and watching them paint, and bomb was really interesting to me because their approach an style was very different than what I was doing back home,
BS: Do you approach the wall with a clear idea of what you want to achieve or do you add an element of freestyle? 
Preys: I almost always either have a rough sketch, a print out of a color skeme or influence or some kind of an effect in mind that I want to try, with that there is always some happy mistakes that happen along the way, and usually a bit of freestyle added based on how it is coming out, one of the things I have noticed recently is that I like my pieces better the more I concentrate on them while I am doing them, its really easy for me to lose focus, and get catch up in some bullshit, but when i really pay attention to what I am doing and really concentrate through eat step I dig the results a lot more

BS: I noticed on your Flickr a photo entitled ‘Montreal 80’s metal band’- is Canadian metal from the 80’s your primary musical influence? I’m a metaller but am hard-pressed to think of any Montreal groups from the 80’s… 
Preys: Hahaha, thats awesome, yeah, no Kem told me he thought my piece I painted it in Montreal, reminded him of a metal bands like some Motley Crue album cover from the 80’s, I grew up listening to Hip Hop pretty much until i met Rath and then he turned me on to Dancehall, and I have kind of been getting into random electronic shit recently.
BS: I really dig the drawings over photo’s- is there any sort of picture in particular that you’re drawn to for this work? 
Preys: Usually it is something that catches my eye that has some kind of nice composition that begs for my bullshit filled in there somewhere, at my old job they had a really nice color printer so I used to steal images from the web and then print out like 10 of each and then go home and experiment on them, good fun.
Rath UPS, Kem5 3A, Ges 3A, Jimboe YL, Pats GN BTF, Sick 156, Target IMOK BSB,  Above(emyt) UPS, Pro,