This interview and images are © copyright 2007 Ador ATB. The artwork is © copyright 2007 the artists.
Tell us how you got started painting graffiti?
It was the summer between 8th and 9th grade. I had just moved from Los Angeles to San Diego. My pop still lived up in Los Angeles and every other weekend I had to go visit him. I remember staring out the window and seeing all the graffiti on the freeways of LA in the '80s. When I moved to San Diego I rode my skateboard to a ditch with a homey from school and bombed it up with some wack shit.
Who were some of your early influences?
Well when I first started I gotta say Gkae, Chunk, Siner and Brail I didn't really start doing anything substantial until I met Huge, Fokus, and Chie. I owe them a lot of credit for teaching me how to rock, and get over. Them dudes really brought me up in the game early on 1994-5 They knew everybody who was anybody in the city. They also had pretty much every freeway and yard at the time on smash.
What do think about bombing, and street writers versus legal walls.
That is a double-edged sword for sure. When I was young I did my share of freeway bombing and freight trains. The adrenaline rush of painting a billboard or a freeway spot is better than drugs, and more addictive. At the same time I don't subscribe to the "graffiti saved my life" idea. I look at it sometimes like "Graffiti Ruined My Life." I feel between jailtime served, parole, probation, and fines I'm still paying fuck! Graffiti fucks with your head. You bomb hard get popped. You get out of jail wiser to the system. So you're not bombing hard, you're bombing smarter. G-Spots, shit that runs for awhile. Landmarks and freights. Laws in California regarding graffiti are so extreme these days you gotta be smart about your stuff. Even painting legal walls can get you put in jail -- it's crazy.
How to you feel about Graffiti on the Internet?
When I started writing there was no Internet, and mags were pretty hard to come by. Really driving around and seeing people up on the freeway or at the yards was the main influence for me back then. You had to see it in person type stuff. The Internet is good, but it's a false sense of reality fame.
Any good chase stories?
In like 1998 I was living in Berkeley. I was with some friend bombing in the city like downtown San Francisco. My boy told me about a chill freight yard in Oakland. We took the BART out to the Oakland flats. Shit was ghetto as fuck like 2pac video. We were rocking this train and about 100 yards away there was an El Camino, or some kind of lowrider type car. There were a few people in the car, they weren't cops they were like crack heads or something. They weren't sweating us so we weren't worried about them. We finished one freight then, moved to the next one on the line. I did my fill-in. I started outlining my piece. I started outlining the "R" when one of the people in the car across the parking lot, yells out some type of gang shit at us. I just kept rocking my "R" About a millisecond later 2 shots were fired. We all ducked down of course. One of the bullets hit the freight train. The sound of that shot hitting the train was fucking crazy. needless to say we were out. I didn't even pick up my cans, I was out. I jumped the hitch between the cars and ran the line. I got to the BART station to take the next ride to Embarcadero Plaza. On the way there We passed the same layup, and seen our half-finished freights and laughed about it.
You have collaborated on some pretty big-scale walls, how do you feel about rocking with different artists?
I love rocking big walls and productions with themes and backgrounds. I learn something new every weekend. There are a lot of really talented kids who never get to voice or show their skills. Painting with different people has helped me a lot. Some people paint beautiful color schemes and have wack letters. Some people have incredible tech styles and have crap color schemes. Everybody has their own funk they put on it. You can learn from kids and toys, as long as you look at people's ideas and learn from that. Painting with a variety of people keeps me on my toes as far as progression of style.
What writers or artists influence your art now?
I'm a big Mac & Retna fan for sure. Rime, Persue, Reyes is a killer, Pres, Serk, Surge, Huge, Verse & Fish. I like the pieces Ruets, Hablo, and Esque do a lot too.
Have you shown any of your work in galleries or museums?
I have mixed feelings about art shows. I don't rock letters on canvas. If I paint a canvas it's a character or something of that nature. When I was in college learning Photoshop, my teach said some pretty real shit to me. He said, "Evaluate your work. Could you sell it?" I figured unless someone was a big fan nobody wants a Dorms piece on a canvas. So I started focusing on characters and objects as subject matter. I've made some money selling art, but more illustrations than canvases.
Do you have any advice for new kids who are just starting now?
Yeah, be smart about your craft. Wherever you live learn the history, and hierarchy of your city. Don't be afraid to take chances and do something different. Be aware that the better you get at this shit, the more people will be jealous and hate. that comes with the territory.
Anything you want to say in closing, or shout outs?
First and foremost I wanna thank my girl: I love you, and thanks for staying by my side thru good times and bad. Bump my little homies Pinky and Sadie. Big shout out to my homies from ATB. Rest in Peace W49er and Dism. Praise Jesus!
with Trans, Molp
with Trans, Molp
with Molp, Surge
|Art Crimes Front Page|