I started bombing in 1988, I had been listening to hip hop and wanted to be a part of it. My cousin was a punk and he was doing punk graffiti in the early 80's, he showed my brother and I a Futura piece under the westway in 83. From then on we watched and noticed what was going on.
Who were your heroes back then?
Pest was the person who really inspired me to get up, originally. There was a crew started by Crymein called Assassinz which were the best in my opinion at that time. I skated so I travelled throughout London so I saw all sides. WRH,IBS,KTC,SBS,CW, RCS, TCA, WD, Hellraisers,CCD, BNB, Tuff City Mob. but AZ was the best for me. They bombed hard. Sham,Regret, Abel, Pest, Kors, Shred,Robbo, P.I.C, Dreph, Drax,Dest,Fiasko, Artful Dodger, Masika and Asia had the best handstyles. Sew from France did the first fat cap tags I'd seen in Bayswater around 1990, I spazzed out when I saw that shit. Throw ups Eine, IF, Shoom, Mean, Cher, Abel, Masika, Fiza, Fuel and Dane. I could go on for hours, but I was bomber at that time that is all I cared about. Busk and Skire were some of my heroes as well
What is the most satisfying bit of graff you have done?
I am constantly satisfied/ unsatisfied with what I produce I think that is the journey of being an artist. 90% of the shit I paint I hate, but I am too self critical which can be annoying, to everyone around me. I have been really happy painting large scale public murals throughout London. That has probably been my biggest joy. A lot of them have been in schools, bad areas or large public spaces, I know they change things for the better. When I was a kid I loved them, I never thought that one day I would do them myself. I think a lot of writers don't realise how important they are to there peers and especially to the younger generation, for inspiring them to better themselves or even down to contemplating what is achievable. I never thought at 12 years old I would one day be flown to another country to paint, that is still crazy to me. You can do anything you want, that is why I think our governments have such a problem with graff because it shows a lawlessness and a freedom that can't be controlled. I'm satisfied with being a graffiti writer, I may not bomb hard like I used to but you'll always see me up. Like it or not. I'm satisfied being a part of this scene and proud to know I've helped shape it.
How has graffiti changed you?
Graffiti has given me confidence and made me proud of myself. I had a hard childhood, which made me a bitter angry kid. I'm also dyslexic which made school difficult for me. I had teachers constantly tell me I was stupid or I'd not amount to anything. So I gave up on myself very early on. Graffiti & skateboarding were two things that were mine, and nobody else's. They both made me want to achieve, to better myself and they made me happy. I made a lot of friends through both and a few enemies because of it. I have taught children over the years through my graffiti, I was never trained to teach. I trained myself to paint. It made me who I am. It has made me proud of who I became. I could have used my life as a excuse to act like a cunt. Everything in this life happens to you for a reason, we will all go through tests that will either make you or break you. No matter what background your from, we all go through the same pain and no matter how bad it gets it could always be worse. Didn't answer that very well, but hey fuck it.
How would you describe your style?
As a kid I wanted to be up and have different handstyles. I guess my tags are heavily influenced by early South London/ West Coast (Cali) handstyles, maybe a bit of Melbourne thrown in there. When I met Dreph he said my brother and I had very American looking tags ( my brother spent a lot of time in Queens NYC) so that made sense. My characters are my own, strange tweeky people I make up on the spot. Top heavy throw ups. I always do different pieces, they are always easy to read. Bero from Italy said I have aggressive letters. Maybe it's the environment I live in who knows? I have always liked letters that look like they'd kick your ass or at least steal your money. Don't get me wrong, I don't agree with violence. I just like graffiti to look tough. I paint for people who stand in front of my stuff. A lot of writers these days are sloppy and paint shit that only looks good in a photograph. People look at what you do, if you don't care about what you produce, why should anyone else. I love graffiti in the UK, from old to new. In the 80's we were the second Mecca for graffiti after New York. I don't care what anyone says. We were the first in Europe. Then the rest of the world forgot us because or scene was so aggressive and violent, and that came out in our lettering and attitude. We have amazing writers here with all different styles and crews that hold it down. We keep it classy!
If 1 was artist and 10 was vandal where would you place yourself? I'm old I'd say a 5 now a days
Have you ever regretted painting on any thing?
Other people have tried to make me feel guilty for what I've done, but no not really. I don't write on places of religious rest, cars (vans are a different story) or nice buildings. Though my friend said when I was 16 I carved my name into his wooden diner table! Which wasn't that cool of me. So yes, i probably did loads of stupid shit.
How do you feel about the increasing popularity of graffiti in advertising?
The only place people are able to see what we do is in halls of fame (which are always in the worst estates) now that trains don't really run anymore like they used to, and tracks are buffed and busses are clean. I feel it is important that the general public get to see spraycan art. We are the next mural painters. I think it is great that people are getting paid for what they are good at. It opens doors for people. I fell into getting paid for graff by accident, and by saying I could paint something and having too has helped me improve. I have no qualifications, and I don't want to work in dead end jobs anymore. So if someone wants to pay for my paint and my rent for my artwork why not? Everything has to change. Graffiti is not the same as it was. I get really happy when people from our subculture make power moves, good on them. Most people that bitch, aren't doing what they should be doing and are sucking sour grapes. It's not the 80's or the 90's get over it. New York writers don't give a shit what we do and visa versa. All I know is if this is a chance for you to shine take it, most people that moan don't paint enough to even say anything or they only been in it for a minute. The more the general public see good graffiti the more likely people will let you paint street spots. Which in turn helps the scene.
What do you think is the most important rule of graffiti?
1. Don't be a dick. Check your ego! Nobody outside of our scene cares who you are or respects you. So when a kid talks to you don't disrespect them. They will never forget it. I haven't. I still hate all the wanky twats that were rude to me when I was a kid and it made me hate there work still to this day. 2. Be sneaky about your shit, you can hold down a long career if a. Your not the main person the police are after. b. You don't hang out with fools and snitches. c. Some writers are snakes and think kindness is a weakness. d. Hang out with normal people, writers morals can sometimes be off key.
What was the worst experience you have had whilst painting?
I've never really had a bad experience, besides weather, paint or getting arrested, but they all turn into funny stories. Like a guy trying to attack us with an angle grinder or glue sniffers/ crack heads trying to hang out with you. Climbing fences trying to be quiet and breaking the whole thing then trying to run when you winded yourself. Running from the police and falling on the electric rail. Holding on for dear life whilst you feel you body being sucked towards a fast moving train. Hoping your dumb ass lies are going to out fox the baddies. Realising these text death threats aren't really that scary seeing they're sent by people who like to paint pretty pictures. Underbody seal clogging every cap you brought on your fantastic solo mission. The list is endless. Hiding in a manky disused toilet for 3 hours while the police hung out having a chat outside it. Sitting in a tube with irate passengers because they aren't opening the doors for 6 stops cos you been caught tagging and BTP are waiting for you at Stockwell. Shit!
Street or trains?
I was never really a train writer, I did the odd few. I was a bomber. Busses, insides of trains/ tubes, stations,streets and tracksides. I was constantly on the move as a kid. I hated being by myself, so if I couldn't find some to hangout with I'd get up. Traveling across London tagging. So I guess streets. I like painting walls now, I want to get to a point where I can paint next to anyone and not look out of place or be the wackest guy on the wall.
Tags, throw ups or pieces?
Tags & pieces. Tags are the most important thing. Straight up. No matter how good your piece is, if it's surrounded by wack handstyles your a chump. It means you didn't bomb. I'm sorry but it's true. If you have a chisel marker hold it at 45 degree angle, like a calligraphy pen. All your lines will be fat. No one told me that, it makes sense. Pieces are what I'd like to be good at. Still learning.
What is your favourite tool when bombing?
Markers. I hate wasting paint on tags I'm a cheap mother fucker. I like tagging with paint if it's not mine. Ha ha Ink Devils
Outside of graffiti what are you into? I like spending time with my lady, friends and family. That is what I enjoy the most. I like to leave the city, see some trees. London can drive you mad, moody people everywhere you look. It's not good for your soul. If you can see natural beauty once a month, that'll keep you grounded. I like to read, I want to educate myself. I like film. I want to educate myself. I like drawing. I like buying records. I like cooking. This is starting to sound like a bad date. Um um I'm a people person, I work great in a team, I love to serve customers please give me a job!
What are your plans for the future?
I have just gone freelance again, so I'm really excited about that. I've been asked to some jams this summer in Europe. I love painting in different countries meeting new people seeing new things. I've been asked to help a friend repaint all of the old 1970's murals in south London. So they'll last another 30 years. I have my first solo show coming up in a few months. I'm just going to paint loads. Peace to 2Rise for this interview. Tizer One ID, SDM,M4C, HOD, TDO,1T, DFN, NHS, STC, SHK,ABN,LB,CBM.