When did you first notice graffiti?
Early ’93 ’94 I was taking the bus to school and I would see peoples scribes with lava rocks and stuff pretty much peaked my interest. I really liked the idea of just getting over. Doing something illegal and leaving your name so you can see it over and over and knowing you exist. Mid ’94 I started writing FROS, best name ever. There was a crew I used to kick it with, FS crew, DESEASE, and DWARF were the two main guys that tried to teach me how to do the early to mid 90’s flow styles.
What crews have you been in?
GTB, UC, KMH KOLD METAL HOLOCOST, that was when I spent some time in ******* painting with DESK, SOFA, and JOLTS. I was basically going out to ******* and I meet up with DESK. I went out, handled some stuff, these guys are really cool guys so yeah that’s how that went.
How did you get into TA?
I was going to high school in ******* and I meet that dude SLAVE and he introduced me to TAPE when they were tagging on the ** line. I went to a TA meeting in ’97 ’98 and meet all those guys. I really looked up to them a lot, they were some of the biggest taggers in the area and they really handled their lines professionally. I actually didn’t start pushing TA until a few years after kickin it with everybody a lot more. When I first meet them it was BURNT, TAPE, KINE, SIBL, and DEPOE.
What’s up with UC?
UC is just a bunch of really good friends that just kick it. Smoke, drink, go to parties, paint every so often, just really a close knit set of friends. It stands for UNBROKEN CIRCLE. It was DAVID, KEDR, and KINE.
When did you start writing HINDUE?
I started writing HINDUE in ’98. I just liked the letter structure, the way they are put together, the way you can connect them or just flow them, and the fact that, its kind of a silly name, but in the graffiti game it’s all about being remembered and being able to work it right. With that name you only need to see it once because nobody else will be crazy enough to write that name. Also most of the letters have a left and a right back bone. With an H and a U they are almost the same so you can do some symmetry. You can add an E to it or you can do it with a Y. It makes it more versatile for me.
How would you describe letter structure and how it is important in your piecing?
Man, I cannot stress enough, letters first. Just like a lot of the old graffiti dvds say, you can add a million colors into a piece and have some shitty letters and just really try and hide your style. Letters are very, very important. If you don’t have letters you can’t really make your piece flow to well. It makes things fun too. Different fonts, different ways of writing stuff makes it more flavorful, your not so stagnant.
When did you get down with GTB?
GTB was 2001, of course I already knew most of the members from the old TA but that’s when I was getting more serious. Went through different stages of seriousness but that’s when I moved to ******** and handled out there pretty well. TAPE moved out there for a job and I started painting with him more. GTB is just basically a set of the coolest motherfuckers I’ve ever meet in my life. We all back each other up we are all 100% down for each other. Which is great, I think a lot of crews out there can’t actually say that, a lot of crews just kinda know each other. GTB is a real special crew, a lot of people have different styles in the crew. I really got to know everybody in the crew on a real personal level. I’ve always looked up to these guys style wise and personality wise. They are just some real smart dudes. Getting down with GTB there was a little bit of a wait period so they could feel me out and see who I am and I could see who they are. We are the same spicies.
In the KINE interview we talked about the mindset of GTB and how you guys work together with such different styles. Can you speak on that?
The very, very first thing, there are no rules in the crew or anything, but the unsaid A number one rule is having good times. Regardless of whether you paint good graffiti or bad graffiti, I’m not saying anyone in my crew is bad, it’s just all about good times. You can obviously tell people in the crew, KINE especially, really try to go out into left field with using different mediums. I think he might be one of the originators of applying house paint with aerosol, even using streak in some cases. That was mid 90’s he was pushing that kind of stuff. SIBL defiantly has that old school feel, he has been around forever and he’s seen a lot so his styles are really developed a lot and in his own way. MAT is just amazing with his pieces, his structures and everything, there’s just so much detail to everything. I think a lot of people in our crew just put a lot of heart into everything that we do. We aren’t just going out there to do it and have someone else see it. We are out there doing it because we love seeing it and we love the feeling of doing art.
Why do you use stock tips for most of your pieces?
You can do more with stock tips than when you’re using one of these little specialized painter caps. There’s so many different techniques you can use to manipulate the can. Doing certain fades, even doing cracks, to get something more realistic plus they’re free. You don’t have to go out and buy them or look for them. If you have thick paint you don’t have to get your caps clogged. Mostly I think I got forced into it because I didn’t want to travel to a hip hop store and mix in with all these people or buy something online and put your name out there and attaching it with some graffiti utensils. Just get out there and do it man, graffiti’s not really about how clean you are it’s about having a good time and enjoying the finished project. Sit back and look at it and if you stare at it for more than 30 seconds I think you did a good job.
What about filling in with stock tips? You seem to have a very methodical slow filling style….
It’s just kind of an escape for me from the reality of conforming or the ‘life grind’ a lot of the time those horizontal strokes all the way up and down letters no matter how big the letters are or how big the fill in is, my mind is pretty much somewhere else. Completely enjoying what I’m doing using the medium but just thinking about good things in life, bad things in life. Using stock tips for a huge fill defiantly takes a lot of patience but as we all get older we all achieve patience.
How did you get connected with SB and OH?
I pretty much grew up with them in *********. I’m a little older than these guys and I think a lot of it was teaching them the ropes. I guess any important crew to any graffiti writer its all about, before anything else, just kickin it and having good times. Drinking a lot of beers, a lot of fighting, I don’t know, they are just dudes I really grew up with.
The three of you seem to have a very grimy ******** style that you don’t see with anyone else from ******* or any other place. Is that aesthetic something you taught them or is it something you guys cultivated together?
I think I was always into letters and always trying to push that on them but what comes with youngsters is not a lot of patience. They really need instant gratification. That’s why I think a lot of the destruction looking bombing kind of came into play with those guys and it was good for me. That just comes into the same topic as quantity verses quality. When you come into a place like San Francisco or New York and there’s a lot of spots to get and you’re not really anything unless you get a good majority of these spots. It takes a lot of effort, a lot of painting, and a lot of not so intricate pieces. Initially I think that’s what that crew was based upon. Just getting your name out there and being savage with it. Painting over whole doors, painting over windows, painting over anything. Any spot as quickly as you can get in and out. And the next day when you’re driving around you see a whole path of destruction instead of just nicely placed strategic pieces here and there that might get looked over.
Why don’t you do outer outlines?
I think it makes it look more realistic. I’m really into making it look like the letters are popping off whatever I’m painting. I think that sometimes when you are adding a halo to the whole thing, just the face that it’s not only the bottom half of the three-d or only on the top sides like any shines or anything like that. I mean I’ve done it before, in certain cases it can actually bring your piece out like if you have a dark outline and three-d and a dark background you are gonna have to throw some kind of halo on it just to pop it out so you can see your three-d. For the most part if you use a good background strategically in certain places where the three-d’s are more important I say fuck wasting the time or paint or making the corners look a little more hazy on the inside corners just uh…. Fuck a final outline.
How did ROTEN crew start? Did you start it?