1. what's the name you go by and where are you from?
My TAG name is PIKE 169, started in Atlanta GA in the early 80's but moved to LA in 85 where I got down on a whole different level.
2. Describe how you fell into this subculture. How did you get started?
I first started out in the Breakdancing scene (KID CRUZ) and used to tag my Breaker Name wherever we went, little bubble letters of it or rudimentary tagging of Kid Cruz, but I was only about 9 or 10 years old. Then I moved with my Mom and Sister to Los Angeles and ended up at Walter Reed Jr. High in the mid 80's with SPY 1000, VISION, FLASH, ELSE, MASTER, SWIFT ONE, ZONE, SELDOM, RICK ONER, SAME ONE, and many more early San Fernando Writers. I started tagging the name EXTREEM (misspelled on purpose) and joined MAK (METRO ART KINGS) with SPY 1000 and founded a crew with DAPER, DAVE ONE, FEER (not UTI), SAME ONE, and numerous others called TBS (THE BOMB SOCIETY) which lasted years past my membership.
Within a year or so I got busted for tagging EXTREEM so I changed it to KROME ONE (which I got up huge with, making the LA TIMES Valley Edition and garnering a 5K reward for ratting me out along with DAPER ONE. At that time I had joined TDK (THOSE DAMN KIDS) with SENS, ELSE, DASH 2000 and others, also joining the valley crushers JKI CREW (JUST KICKIN' IT) with SWIFT ONE and many more.
Once I got arrested for KROME and got the kitchen sink thrown at me in 10th grade, I had to switch names again to avoid Juvenile Hall which is when i took on the moniker PIKE 169 and soon after joined the iconic KSN (KIDS SMOKING NARCOTICS or KINGS STOP at NOTHING) offshoot TCF (THE CHOSEN FEW) with RAGE, WYSE, SERF, SKAR, NYSE, ESK, PYSE, KAOS,SYNC and many others, this was still only late 1988, so a lot had happened in just 3 or so years in the graff scene in Los Angeles, which in the 80's... was off the chain wild.
I dropped all other crews once I joined TCF and to this day rep TCF which is now world wide with members across Europe, UK, parts of Southeast Asia, Australia, African Continent, and of course North and South America, but the San Diego Chapter of TCF is likely the most active to date.
3. who was the biggest influences when you first started?
When I first started out my 3 biggest influences as far as Graffiti Art is concerned were VISION, SPY 1000, and my great friend GENIUS from DTK (DOWN TO KILL) who taught me a lot along with watching CHARLIE paint, who is an absolute legend in my Black Book.
4. Describe how you became a part of your first crew and describe how you became a part of the crew you are in today (if different)
First Crew I was really in was MAK (Metro Art Kings) with Spy 1000 but he and the other crew members from MAK lived more toward South Central and it was difficult to get down there to hang from North Hollywood. Founding TBS (THE BOMB SOCIETY) with Daper, Shy One, and others gave us a solid local base to rage with. Later we founded another crew with BACK ONE from CBS (CAN'T BE STOPPED) and CISCO called TUG (THE UNDERGROUND) which later became TUGK (THE UNDERGROUND KINGS) eventually changing to just UGK (UNDERGROUND KINGS). Far as my time spent in TDK and JKI those were damn good times. KROME ONE was a fun name to tag and those crews were crushing it in the mid eighties. But TCF (THE CHOSEN FEW) is the Crew I will be buried with, I did the most Art with that Crew and made the closest friendships which still last to this day.
5. How did (or does) Graffiti/street art influence your work life or regular life?
I am in the Arts/Entertainment Industry as a Profession, working as a Writer/Producer?Actor and sometimes Director, so being able to maintain some presence as a Street Artist/Graffiti Artists (I have branched out with TCF over the past 15 or so years to include Pasteup Art, Stencils, and Stickers) in the scene and will continue to do so as much as I can an/or makes sense.
6. Where is your favorite spot to paint (location wise)
Any place with a wall. I do prefer to try out obscure or abandoned locations, those are always fun, but as a Graffiti Artist, any wall is a good wall.
7. Speaking of Locations , do you have a bucket list of where you want to travel to for painting?
So far I have painted/tagged/pasted/stenciled/or stickered all over the world, over a dozen or more cities in the US, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Mexico, Belize, parts of the Caribbean, every major city in New Zealand and Australia, Japan, Bulgaria, Israel, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Lithuania, France, Holland, Switzerland, Monaco, many cities in England and Wales, so many places I lose track. But I would love to paint in Russia, Thailand, India, anywhere and everywhere, but definitely want to do a Graffiti Safari across the United States in an RV and hit a bunch of Iconic and Abandoned places, that is my ultimate dream.
8. Describe how your styles evolved in your career.
Starting out as a Break Dancer I began with the original graffiti style of bubble and block letters representing one of the 5 Pillars of Hip Hop, the Art Style. (the other Pillars are: Dance Style, DJ Style, Dress Style, Rap Style) and repping as many of these Pillars as you could was being Hip Hop. It was very different then where the art form went after Break Dancing became more or less taboo.
Then it was about lettering and character style, wild style, throwies, one liners, all the goodness the scene provides. Then entered the Street Art scene in the late 90's and I took up Stencils with SERF ONE from TCF and Paste Up art, then Stickers, it is just an explosive scene full of potential.
9. Where do you see graffiti art going in the future and how do you see your place in it?
I see it taking over the fine art and mural scene, I see what RISK ONE (WCA - WEST COAST ARTISTS) is doing and how his art shows look in comparison to traditional art forms and there is no comparison to the stunning beauty and interactive nature of the art form.
10. What inspires you to paint today versus when you started?
Today it is more of my self definition that is at stake. I have been in this scene for so long it is a part of my character and I am not full unless I am still painting, tagging, putting up stickers, scribing, paste ups, all of it, it is just who I am underneath.
11. Do you have any good chase stories
In 87 DAPER and I (KROME ONE at the time) had gridded the entire San fernando Valley and were 2 of the most up writers at the time. We decided an even faster way to get up would be to break into Jr. High's and High School's late Sunday Night and bomb the Quad areas and anywhere else we could, sometime it was a rooftop throwie above the auditorium like at North Hollywood and Grant High. But after about 6 weeks and 6 schools they put us in the Newspaper with a 5K reward for each of us, so 10K total. The next day in my Math Class in 10th grade the Cops came in and arrested me, and unfortunately for myself not only had I got up like not many others in the Valley at that time, but destroyed the interior and exterior and 6 schools, and.... tagged the Garage Door of a Suburban Garage belonging to one Judge Gold of the Juvenile Court System. I was in deep shit. In the end, with all the other shit DAPER and I got canned for, we had to take a Private Police Tour of the entire San Fernando Valley and surrounding areas and paint over every tag we could ever remember tagging. It was devastating. Not only did it take every day and every weekend of a summer a school year to accomplish, we likely still would have had tags floating around to this very day had we not been forced, literally at gun point LOL to buff our own hits.
12. Have you wrote any stories based on the graffiti life that maybe a movie one day?
A book titled VENICE HIGH found on LULU.COM
loosely based on my life growing up as a graffiti artist in North Hollywood but set in Venice Beach.
13. what is the best graffiti movie in your opinion.
The best Graffiti Movie hasn't been made, not even close. Documentaries are great, but no fictional or non-ficion account of a Graffiti Writer/Writers has been made yet in my opinion, but I would like to make it.
14. Did the internet kill graffiti or give it more life?
Internet blew the roof off Graffiti, gave it so much more of a voice, I see regular folks benching trains all the time and they never would have noticed the box cars if it were not for the explosion of interest on the internet. in my opinion.
15. Do you see a big difference between American graffiti and other countries?
I don't see much difference at all in Graffiti around the world, which is why it is like a Secret Society, we all speak the same language and use the same symbols, we welcome our brothers and help them get down. it is the best art scene on Planet Earth.
16. What are your favorite mediums to use for your art and why?
I like Aerosol...
17. How do you think the youth views graffiti art in today's high tech world?
I think today's youth is far more interested and appreciative of the Graffiti/Street Art scene, it is the new voice for the art world, painters doing murals now on large scales and dumping brushes for cans for more than one reason, but mainly because if you didn't use aerosols on that burner, you're a toy. lol
18. Do you have any advice for someone just starting out in this game?
Only advice I have is: GET UP
19. do you listen to music when you create art? and if so what genre of music is bumping mainly?
Music that scores my pieces depends on the piece, the vibe, the setting, sometimes the weather or the time constraint, but mainly Reggae Dance Hall of Dub Step are my current favorites.
20. If you had to do it all over again what would you do differently in life?
Yes, I likely would not have got into a street gang in 88' and cut myself out of most of the Graffiti Yards in Los Angeles due to Gang Beef. (shrug)
SHOUT OUT TO MY WHOLE CREW WORLD WIDE TCF - THE CHOSEN FEW, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. DON'T STOP, NEVER QUIT!!!