You grew up in a lot of different boroughs in New York; what influence did being raised all over NYC have on your art?
Growing up all over New York City, graffiti was part of the urban landscape. I lived everywhere in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx from the early 1980s until recently. Taking long subway rides in the fast-paced city allowed me to take in the little things of the environment, particularly the hustle-and-grind aesthetics.
The city lifestyle was always a rush. It was a natural transition for me to gravitate toward the street art we call graffiti. The street was a school itself – basically survival of the fittest. Almost every grade was a different school and neighbourhood, as I absorbed my surroundings and tucked them in my subconscious to years later in my adulthood when it would all make sense. I learned not to get attached to material things or people. It was a blessing and a curse, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.
How did you first discover graffiti art? Can you tell us about the evolution of your writing?
Since I was a kid we would ride the NYC subway system A train from Far Rockaway Queens all the way to Washington Heights. The A train is the longest subway line. Seeing all the art in the tunnels was my first introduction to what I didn’t even know was art. One of the most significant pieces in particular was when I lived in the South Bronx in 1991, across the street to one of the TRACY168 video rental shop shutters from Spray Can Art.
My walks to school as well as my junior high schoolyard was filled with graffiti pieces. I first discovered graffiti was a culture when I went to the public library and checked out Subway Art and Spraycan Art books. That was an epic moment for me. I started sketching characters and copying the letters in the book, keeping my drawings to myself because I didn't know how to rock a wall just yet.
During that time I did not know any writers, either. My cousins were all skaters and I would go check them out at the Riverside Skate Park. There I would see a Zephyr piece with a bulldog character in the middle of the ramp. I would later work at a non-profit organsation and meet several writers. One of them, BAZE, would teach me letter formation at the office. I would later meet female writers and other NYC bombers, but the most influential has been my partner, COPE2. He inspired me to keep my tag name and to be a well-rounded writer.
My favourite style is what I call the classic New York simple style. Wildstyle is dope but there is nothing like a simple readable piece that pops among burners. I like to keep my piece letters like that and I’m really into bubble letters. As Cope, Seen and Tilt have inspired me in that aspect, too.
You can read the full Indie 184 story in the latest issue of No Cure ' Graffiti & Urban Exploration' in news agents and available through our online store now.