Beam TC5 Interview

Photos © 2009 TC5 crew. Interview conducted by Aevon.TC5 and Louis Coupal in August 2009 for the Official TC5 30th anniversary show.

In terms of style, attitude and philosophy, what defines or makes The 5?

In my eyes The 5 was always a crew of individuals, vs. technicians or specialists. Diversity was our main ingredient.

What is the crew’s hierarchy structure? How has that played an important part in the crew’s longevity over other crews?

FolkLore told me that Comet gave Seen power to recruit and put folks in and down. Period, that key fact was a changing of the guard, this is before graff shows, book fame and the Internet, it was one generation reaching out to the next, the old fashioned way, one car at a time.

Did all graffiti crews back in the day have a President, Vice-President, and so on?

To my knowledge the larger crews always had that structure, unless they were gang affiliated and it was more like you were appointed the ”tagger” to put up the click and do the R.I.P. thing

How did you get down with TC5? Were there any initiation rites or official formalities?

Race went to school with 2Near who lived in Doze’s building. We hung, we saw, we conquered. After a few times hanging bombing, Doze put us in TC5.

What was the influence of Art & Design High School on The 5 and the world of graffiti?

It was the holy grail and let's not forget Music And Art, Puma Kid Voit, Bok.

Who were The Crazy Five?


How did TC5 come to be?

I do remember that they were a band first.

How have TC5 influenced graffiti?

Are you kidding, how haven’t we influenced? Doze (the original triple threat) alone has set off enough trouble and turmoil to launch many a career, the real, Seen killed em so long he inherits a crew, making us one of the longest in history with real “new” members, and Doc, picking up the banner when trains were still in and showing em all how it was done, honorable mention, Web, Ebn, Staf, And lets not forget Juice, total unsung hero, bridging the gap between art and what ever else graff could do. And Beam, well what can I say. AND LASTLY BECAUSE IT WASN’T DOCUMENTED MOST TIMES WE DON’T GET CREDIT, BUT FOOLS KNOW….

How did you get your name?

I was writing everything, then I just tagged the alphabet and picked the letters I liked and Beam kept sticking out. Then I looked up the word and it was me all the way, with all of its meanings, and I wasn’t trying to be any of it, it all made sense, Because Everybody Admires Magic.

How would you describe your style?

My style is like my life: Transparent with overlapping layers, what you see is what you get, but make sure you study before you step to it, it could surprise you.

What are your favorite types of paint and colors?

Yellow orange to red with that purple embellishment, it’s a sunset baby, or a sunrise, it’s transitional, and paint. If Belton was out back in the day, whoa nelly. But my favorite historical colors are black and silvers, and that aqua green Mitch used for his whole cars in the '70’s –WOULD NOT BUFF.

What are you doing these days for work?


How would you describe the evolution and or destruction of graffiti in New York City over the past 30 years?

Graff, where to start, TAKI and them for the press, STATIONS OF THE ELEVATED and THE AVANTE GARDE, all of my favorite wars TNT vs TMT, TCP vs TLP, REAL WRITERS REAL BOMBERS, COS 207, DONDI, MITCH, EN005, BAN2, SHAKER, ZEPH, REVOLT and, don’t get me started on THE FIVE COMET and BLADE, THE ORIGINAL DYNAMIC DUO, then OK HARRIS and the world got smaller, toys met their heroes and the gods met the common folk. ART AND COMMERCE met, so much came from that show. Then to fast forward all the books and the Internet feed into this generation's sad sense of entitlement. Because you saw me in a book or on a site, you some how know me or share my pain. BS. I ran from the workbums, I climbed the barbwire fence, I got jumped, not you. So graff is alive but not with the same spirit, I know you can’t go home, but the One Tunnel was my weekend hangout and I started as a nobody and ended as a somebody, ya heard.

Any stories you'd like to share?

MICHAEL STEWART was unknown and maybe even a toy, but a human being none the less. Not enough coverage. If you don’t know, look him up. Keith Haring Was not a tradional graffiti artist but got street cred cause he hung out with real deal cats, sharing the pain without any of the bleeding. So when Dondi passes it’s like “oh” BS, Dondi changed the game, he was the purest graff artist of that set who toured and did all that stuff, No dis to none of the others, but his yard work was his street cred, all those names, original outlines, he burned trains and canvases, he put the work in, he was not a huckster or snake oil salesman taking advantage of his guides, He was not an anecdote, nor should he be treated like one.

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