This interview, photos and artwork are © copyright 2009 Neon. Many of these pieces were done in Cuba during CubaBrasil. Others were painted in Germany, Russia, the USA and other countries. In his 25 years of writing, Neon has done it all, been everywhere, and often he got there first. - Susan

I was born in 1970 in a small north Italian village. After four years my parents moved to Munich, Germany. I didn't really like that, but what can you do at that age? Once I was able to analyze the world around me, I realized how wickedly things were arranged, how suspiciously life was organized.
I was warned and kept observing what happened. You know, basic things for a kid, like: what are my folks doing to make a living, how much are they sacrificing to get around? Why are they trying to achieve certain things, status symbols, cars, furs, new this and new that? Why are they forcing themselves to create a social illusion of wealth, power, importance? The world looked like a tribe of monkeys battling each other by showing their erections, just to get status.
Later I informed myself about the system's methods, such as tax laws. I found out that it was cleverer to spend money on bullshit than to give it to the state at the end of the year. But, naively I asked myself: isn't it the state that's responsible for infrastructure, education etc., at least theoretically? As a father, why won't you give the state tax money, so it can build schools? The answers I got made me understand the system better. This game is based on egotism, betrayal, maximizing, and playing your best cards regardless of what the consequences may be. This is what I understood as "THE SYSTEM."
At the age of 14 I had my first contact with the style-writing culture. It was brought to us mainly by media, but also by US military sons hanging out with us or guys who went to NYC with their parents on vacation, where they saw the bombed trains running. I slipped into it without really understanding what happened. It was a breakthrough to freedom. I did my thing without owing anybody any explanation for what I did. Much later I understood writing reality was a real alternative to average social identity, but on the way there I was busy imitating what I was taught, meaning: Take what you get, be the king, be the first, be the monkey with the biggest dick.
Whatever. Things like some kind of secret brotherhood among writers, trust your partner in crime, taking responsibility for your actions, watching each other's back, and so on, left a deep influence on my way of thinking. By transgressing established laws again and again, I realized how powerfully they are embedded in society. There is no doubt about these conventions. They are seen as a given, as truth.
Once I thought that by being part of a society that is able to evolve its own rules and regulations outside the establishment, it would be a logical step to think further. After someone decides to question the norm, he should be able to go further, to question the rules he made up to ameliorate it. Eventually that process will lead to understanding that there is no end point, there is no good system that must be followed. So, if you think, as probably most writers do: "I'm just gonna take what's mine; Gimme that" and so on, what does that mean? Why do we have to take it by force, and what are "they" keeping from us?
You must try to get a precise picture of what you think "society" or "the system" is failing to give you. Is it a sense of dignity and respect that you miss? Do you want to be considered a complete individual by being included in societal decisions? Whatever it is you discover you need, try to find another way to get it. I'm not saying stop bombing, no way!! I just try to find an additional opportunity to make our goals a reality. Being out there and "doin' damage" is a good feeling, no doubt, but I'm afraid not everyone is getting the point of it.
Again, instead of just taking my right to attack others' property, I started to think how property has been distributed throughout history. It is the same bunch of people managing wealth. It's a power passed on from one generation of landlords to another. So to attack this system is an attempt to change this reality. Right?
In what way can it really be changed? By painting and bombing? Maybe. What I think would be helpful is to gain a larger understanding of what we do. To understand the deeper meaning of things we are doing, we truly need to analyze our motivations. As I said before, it's not just defacing others' property. Depending on the awareness of the individual, it could be more than just going wild.
You need to be able to explain why to the biggest Babbitt who wants to know what the bloody hell you are doing. By doing so, my experience shows that some of them start to think and to understand the reasons. They may not concur with the way we show society that things are going very wrong, but they can start to understand that we are not the primitive, driven vandals that they thought. Sometimes.
Another argument I keep hearing is: We should enter the system and change it from the inside. I've never heard of writers going into politics and personally I doubt this would make any sense. Maybe we could penetrate the educational institutions, to reach the scholars and the intellectual elite. Perhaps they would understand the fundamental social criticisms and spiritual reality shown through painting letters on "public property."
Anyway, this discussion was brought to me mainly through considering the bidness thing. Trading the hiphop culture. "Yo, we take over the biz thing, we going to bomb the next level!" If you ask me, that's straight-up bullshit. The rules of the economy are way more restrictive than the ones in politics. In fact, the economy rules politics. It has enormous power and you have to submit. So in the end, you turn out to be the usual idiot trying to play the game -- inventing extravagant things nobody needs in order to improve your business. I don't think this method will be effective to increase the tolerance and understanding for the writing culture among the average citizens.
We need to grow our spiritual knowledge in order to prosper and create a reality in which everyone benefits. Really. I'm not joking. The system we are trying to change can't be changed by force, because it is more brutal then we are. Did you ever try to talk to "the system" to solve a problem? Every individual involved in it needs to change. You can't convince a system. You need to convince yourself. Don't be afraid to reach a more enlightened understanding of the possibilities that are given to you, even if often it means leaving your beliefs behind.
What was KRS1 saying?: If you want world peace, take it, because a lot of our leaders fake it!
That's the way we should handle every need we have. Take it. Make it true by being on top of it. Spiritually aware, because you know everything else will lead to war and destruction. You may say: This idiot, blah blahing all that BS," but I know exactly what I'm saying.
That stupid cross-out war in the late '80s was the real and final cause of the trains being cleaned forever. It was the loss of power and concentration among the writers that sealed the fate of train writing. So it was self-hate that concluded that era. Imagine what self-love and awareness could have made possible.

Neon, Part, Rew
"Poor idealist crank," you may argue. Fuck it. I'd rather be a nut than to die in whatever war and have a heart attack, stress syndrome and bad, bad karma for the next few lives.
Peace out.


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