Interview with SYE.TC5

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?

TC5 is exactly that; a crew that practices the traditions of style, attitude and shares in the philosophy of graffiti during its golden era. We are one of the last crews that emphasize letter structure.

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

Crew structure gives the crew identity. Structure is extremely important in terms of continuity of tradition and crew practices. It bridges past, present and future. Without any semblance of order, crews die out and become shells of their former selves.

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

As with any organization, there is a president, usually the person who originated the crew or was given the crew by an elder retiring writer. A vice-president, usually a person who would continue the tradition, shared the same crew ideals and be able to assume leadership responsibilities should the president be out of commission. Additionally, some crews had recruiters, people who sought new members and were also in charge of their chapter or faction within the crew.

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

TC5 practices the traditions of graffiti, which means that to get down with a crew you hang with the crew, piece with the crew, have something to offer (muscle, graffiti skills, etc.)

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

I didn’t attend A & D but I can tell you as an outsider looking in, at that time, that school was extremely important because it helped nurture some the city’s most stylized writers.

Who were The Crazy Five?


How did TC5 come to be?

DEATH started it

How have TC5 influenced graffiti?

Since coming into the TC5 circle, I’ve come to see first hand how members of the crew help shape and form the culture in ways I never knew. Crew members have held or are currently holding positions in fashion, media and music, i.e., PNB in the '90s, Sean John, Rocawear.

How did you get your name?

It was two-fold. A friend on my block had SYE as a side name and he couldn’t rock it so I took the name with his blessing. Also, whenever I was upset or a little pissed I would sigh. It became a play on words and also another alias for me

How would you describe your style?

Queens style because of simplicity and letter thickness. Since my return it’s been my mission to continue to evolve and incorporate it with the TC5 style

What are your favorite types of paint and colors?

In the '80s it was Rusto for bombing and Krylon for piecing. Now, I like Molotow because it has the best of both worlds.

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

To me, when I initially stopped writing in 1985-6, I felt it became too saturated in NYC. Everyone it seemed like was a writer or wanting to be and I think because of that it may have gained too much attention.

Graffiti’s destruction and evolution were caused by the loss of traditions and maybe that’s because the trains died and graff moved above ground, which caused its aesthetics to change. Now, what I see most since my return in 2005 is the lack of letter structure. The new cats are more schooled in fine art, and they apply that to graff and abandon lettering; concentrating more on colors and background…I think when that happens graff loses it’s raw energy

What is your view of the news coverage of graffiti over the years? How has the Internet affected graffiti?

It’s a blessing as long as it’s positive in both instances. It has helped market graffiti on a more global scale.

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