Let’s start by setting the scene in the 80's..... You said 89 was the year you started to do Graffiti, what were the things you saw that made you
want to get into it?
Well…my dad grew up in the Bronx. My grandparents lived there, so I did see subway graffiti as a kid, I just never knew what I was looking at. I think a common answer for kids in the suburbs is checking out graffiti books.
The first thing I saw that influenced me to do graffiti was Subway Art and Spray-can art.
What was popular to you at that age?
Late 80’s, I was into Skateboarding, BMX and Snowboarding… None of which were popular at the time. As a skater in high school in the 80’s, you were basically an outcast cause that was for “little kids”, but I guess no one had seen “The Search for Animal Chin” in my town.
Did you start piecing right off the bat or was it tagging?
First night was tags, second night was simple styles on the highway, and by the end of the week I was attempting pieces. I remember the spot.. trackside, just off the highway. It was just set back enough that you could paint once it got late, and you could see the pieces from the highway.
What tags did you see the most in your area?
Doc, Era, Ced, Code.. older Connecticut writers. Only a couple spots in my area had fill-ins running on the highway and a couple DL bridge spots. Wasn’t a lot of Graffiti in my part of CT, so we went to NY a lot.
What was the tagging style like? was it small to big bus hopping style or NY subway looking?
Most everthing was pretty straight forward. Bold and readable.
Who did you start your first crew with?
I was fortunate to be invited to join a couple crews at first… BFG ( Connecticut crew ), then SPORTS and IMOK. A couple years later Sub and I started DF to be a production crew, but everyone in the crew did illegal graffiti. Seemed like a good idea to focus on productions. A few writers from out of state saw DF productions in mags, so they labeled us as a legal wall crew. I always thought the pieces and productions were the most unique and skill-full, so I liked seeing walls as well as trains in magazines. I liked seeing bombing in person, in the streets, because to me, the spot is just as important as the work. Back then you would only see the illegal stuff if you drove the highways, rode the train or walked in the city. I wonder how many people would get noticed today without the internet?
Out of the people you grew up with in the early 90's who is still painting?
Jive, Cycle, Sub, Ewok and most of the IMOK crew still paint. Writers I met mid 90’s like East, When, Scribe, Jick, & Lead… Writers I met when I first moved to Denver such as Tuke, Jher, Swek, and Voice all still paint.
I know I’m probably forgetting some people…
Let’s talk styles... where were the main influences coming from and how did you see them?
My main influence was New York Graffiti. At first I mainly saw graffiti by walking train lines and looking for spots. I really liked the pieces Vet was doing, and guys like Jest and Nes were a huge influence on my bombing. I started painting with Noble and Besm and they really influenced me to experiment with styles and fills. Then throughout the 90’s who ever I painted with was a huge influence, especially crew.
Let’s talk train life... in the 90's there was plenty of blank trains, who did you start seeing when you first got into train painting?
The first freights I saw were cars in NY near 238th street. Guys like Sento, Sien5, Jent, and Cavs. We liked to walk the tracks painting walls visible from the train, and I started to see freights laid up with pieces on them. I did my first freight in 1991 with mixed Krylon colors ( I had my own home made pastel aqua ). The second train I ever painted was a commuter train for VideoGraff. NikOne had a new camera and didn’t get the night setting correct, so we had no footage. Sad face.
Is there any other crews you have been apart of through the years? How did they begin, and end?
That’s an odd question. Do crews end? I guess some of them faded away for me especially once I moved to Denver. I try to put up the ones that are active. How do they start? How does anything start? Too much drinking maybe?
What was your main motivation in the early 90's? friends, the will power just to do art ? was there a goal? or just to paint?
Honestly I just liked painting. Loved sneaking around at night and loved being able to drive by the next day and see it. No real goal at first. Just excited for a new hobby I guess. It’s really addicting when you have so much area to cover as far as getting up. Never-ending spots is helpful. I painted in Connecticut, NewYork, DC. Also painted in New Jersey and Boston a few times.
Let's talk about magazines, what was the first one you saw ? how did that change your perspective on graffiti?
Really no idea what the first magazine was I saw. I do know, that once I saw one, I really wanted to be published. Once I was in the magazines, I felt a sense of accomplishment to be on the pages with other writers I admired. Best thing was to see various work from around the world and the bigger picture of how we are all connected through this art movement.
Let’s talk about some graffiti videos, what did you see first? How did that change your perspective on the graff scene?
Style Wars of course, and then video graff. We quoted all of it like golfers quote Caddy Shack. I don’t think it changed my perspective, just made me want to paint more. Watching video interviews, I also realized most writers were a lot tougher than me.
Where were the first places you traveled as a young graffiti writer? Did that have an influence on your style?
Traveled all over the east coast, but my main influences turned out to be my friends and crew-mates. We had similar mentalities and all wanted to try new things that were not the norm. Really the essence of 90’s graffiti, experimentation. Pretty much every modern day popular trick, technique or weird fill idea came from the 90’s. I think more aspects of style with shapes, bits, and connections came from the 80’s. Seems a lot of younger guys paint the same stuff that came from 80s-90s and have no idea where it came from. The problems of social media.
From 89 to 2021 How much of your style has changed?
I guess that’s up to the viewer to interpret. I feel my style is always evolving and I can always learn something new.
What keeps you motivated to keep painting? I feel like lots of people would have quit by now or moved the attention to tattooing or other forms of making money for their art rather than paint abandon buildings and such
I’ve certainly have had my share of “I’m gonna quit” moments. Some days just being outside with your friends is enough motivation. The adventures are still there if you look for them.
There have been years where I altered my focus a bit to find motivation. One year I did mostly “emit” outlines drawn by other writers. The year I did the DF abandoned book really got me going again. Getting back to more simple letters and schemes was really fun. No plan, no stress, just find a cool surface and go.
Please feel free to add anything you like , I'm super down for old stories , chases , anything focusing on the young emit graff life.