This time The Message is bringing to you the graff-queen: rosy one. A top player in the European scene since the early 90’s. Rosy was crushing trains back in the days, and she’s still dropping iconic pieces and artworks today. Her sick style blends classic New York with a touch of Europe, making it instantly recognizable worldwide.

Get ready to dive deep into her story. We’ll explore her early days getting hooked on hip-hop and graffiti, her transition from trains to walls, and how she uses her art to speak her mind. Buckle up, because rosy one is about to drop some knowledge you won’t want to miss.

So grab your notebook and get ready to learn from a true graffiti legend.

Hi rosy! Thanks a million for joining us! It’s a huge deal to feature your story.

  1. We would like to start from the beginning, the late 80s. What got you hooked on hip-hop and graffiti back in the day?

At age 12 (in 1989) I was electrified when I saw graffiti for the first time, on walls in my hometown, but also on my older sister’s record covers. They were breakdancing and electro boogie on TV and rap mixtapes were circulating in my school. I was hooked, but pretty much alone with my fascination for graffiti. It was an incredible quest for knowledge: Where could I buy better spray cans than the bad, expensive car paint from the DIY store, which caps should I use and how do you draw straight lines without dripping…? It was only after a few miserable attempts that I finally met an older graffiti writer at a disco during a live graffiti show and peppered him with questions. It wasn’t easy to find access to the much older sprayers. But when they realized that I was serious and that I was painting alone, they accepted me into their circle as a much younger sprayer.

  1. Word on the street is you were very active on trains pretty early on, like from ’92 to ’96. Can you tell us a bit about those years? How tough was it to hit trains back then?

I think I experienced the wonderful years in the early 90s when train-writing was not yet hunted as a serious crime. I think it was the same in Europe as in New York in the early 80s. We painted every week, sometimes several times a week in the yard. Sometimes we even met there other sprayers. We all knew each other over different cities and countries. In Berlin, ten of us went into a Yard. It was like a party. The writers brought some friends, who just chilled with us. In Dortmund, going to the station was like going to a museum and here, too, the painted trains sometimes ran for a long time. Nevertheless, we were always very careful. We cleaned our cans, shook them in advance, wore gloves and masks. We spoke in code on the phone. One colleague had a police radio that we could listen in on… It was like a fun game for us. It only got serious after a few years. We had painted too many private railroads and people really resented it. So then there was a real hunt. I was once stopped while taking photos during the day. After that, they monitored me for a while, followed my every move and tapped my phone for two months.

  1. Apparently, in ’96 you got busted and things got a little legal. How did that whole trial thing go down?

I fell into quite a hole at the beginning. I had a suspended sentence of four months in prison for two years and a mountain of debt. My whole life had been focused on train painting and Graffiti and I found the idea of legal painting rather boring. Now I can say it because it’s time-barred: I then simply went abroad to continue painting trains. I painted subways or trains in New York, in Italy, in France, in Spain, etc… It wasn’t really until I had children that I became a lot more conscientious. Today, trains still excite me, but I don’t have enough criminal energy. I go for a walk in the yard on Sunday like others go to the mountains 🙂 (smiley).  I love the sound, the smell, the ambiance.

  1. After ’96, you started focusing on walls more and switched your tag to rosy one. What was that transition like for you?

The effect that the much more feminine name ROSY had on my surroundings was impressive. I had previously used names like MYSTERY, MOK LA ROCK, BASK, POKEM, TWISK, ROCKIT… My first picture with the name ROSY went down like a bomb. Everyone suddenly started calling me that. From then on, I was ROSY… I liked the attention. The fact that I was able to speak openly about train-bombing, because I no longer had to hide (I was convicted), led to lots of interview requests and invitations to jams or exhibitions. I was invited to many countries like Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, France, Italy, England, Sweden, Denmark etc…. I have also been invited to Asian countries like China before. However, this was at the time when my children were still small and unfortunately not possible for me at that time.

  1. Your style is classic but totally recognizable. Those letters, bright colors, and characters are iconic. We can definitely see the influence of new york subway legends, but also a touch of berlin and paris from your early days. What are some of your biggest influences, and how did you develop your style?

Just like you said, these are my main influences. But I have to thank ZAMBO and TARES, my best buddies in my hometown, who introduced me to the whole philosophy of hip-hop and their own unique take on graffiti. When I think back, it was like a magical world for me. In 1994 I traveled first time to New York, where I met people like DAZE, PART1, LEE, the BAD YARD BOYS (which is why I then painted BAD YARD GIRL as part of the crew). At Henry Chalfant I was allowed to leaf through all of his unpublished photo books. There are four copies of Subway Art in my studio still today. The energie of the pieces in it are still unattained and still an inspiration to me. Back in 1990/91 I was in Berlin with my family and met a few painters at the Berlin Wall. This developed into a pen friendship. We wrote each other letters and exchanged photos. I traveled to so many jams in the mid-90s, where I met many Writers that impressed me very much.

  1. Your love for music, especially hip hop, definitely shines through in your work. How has your passion for music influenced your art as a writer?

When I was sneaking in the yard and painting on a train, I always had the soundtrack from Wild Style in my ears. Wow! That beats, I like them so much. Graffiti was perfect to me because of its connection to music. When I wanted to express my feelings, I often referenced lyrics from songs that I enjoyed and incorporated them into my pieces. However, my focus was never solely on rap. I’ve always had a deep love for various genres of black music, such as funk, jazz, soul… Additionally, I’ve cherished the Beatles and all sorts of 70’s music since I was a little kid. How Musicians achieved to packaging important themes in their songs, is my goal as I work on my visual language. I’m still grappling with myself on how to achieve that. That’s why I experiment a lot, painting not just my name but often addressing social topics or themes. I would love to let people feel something, when they look at my pieces, like if they hear a good song.

  1. Your walls are a mix of raw, classic, funky, and even a little cute. We also love that you use your art to speak your mind. You’ve tackled issues like war, police brutality, capitalism, and good ol’ fashioned chauvinism. Have you always had this rebellious streak?

Even the fact that you choose graffiti as an art form is political and rebellious: You go out onto the streets, appropriate private property, and shape the public space. You’re confident enough not to wait for someone to ask for your contribution because your work is liked, but you decide what is valuable. The desire to please is repugnant to me. I know exactly how to paint to please people. I know exactly what is decorative and well-received. But I paint as I want, and that’s why I have to go out without being asked. When it comes to discrimination or injustice I feel the urge to express myself. That’s why I often advocate for political issues in my artwork. But even more often, messages also hide subconsciously in seemingly innocent images, such as my female characters never being reduced to only feminine attributes, my men and women characters hardly differing, engaging in the same activities, dressing alike, because it is a personal matter for me… 

  1. You’re one of the few female graffiti writers out there who’s been killing it for the past 30 years. Unfortunately, even in 2024, graffiti still isn’t exactly known for its gender equality. How has your experience been as a woman in a scene that’s often dominated by boys?

I don’t agree. Today some of the best Graffiti Writers are female. The scene was or still is dominated by boys, just as horse riding is dominated by women. It’s not simply the fact that there are more boys that indicates a lack of progress in gender equality within a scene. When I was in school, I wasn’t allowed to go to the woodworking class, I wasn’t allowed to join the football club and teachers told me to dress more female. In Switzerland, where I live, women’s suffrage wasn’t fully implemented until 1991. Marital rape has only been a criminal offense since 1992. The graffiti and hip-hop scene was a liberation for me. There, it was only important how many trains I painted and how my style was constructed… But yes, I need to add, stupid persons exists in every scene. Don’t give to much attention to them…

  1. You are very dedicated and consistent and throughout the last 3 decades you have been consistently painting. Now that graffiti is your full-time hustle, can you tell us what is the difference between your work on the streets and your studio production?

It would be nice if it were my main profession. But it still is my main passion. My graffiti career has always been characterized by highs and lows. Once, it went fantastically well, and I couldn’t keep up with requests; then again, I struggled through lean periods. That’s why I’ve been working since 12 years night shifts at a homeless shelter. I can also use my beliefs, my experiences and strength there, which proves advantageous for me.

Thank you Rosy for taking the time to chat with us! We truly appreciate it.

Take care. Peace! ✌️

Follow ROSY @rosyone (

The Message @the_message_zine

You can read the interview in Chinese here: