Firstly, thank you for your time, what’s been happening?
Well it’s winter here in NYC, Lot’s of snow and ice, so for me that means I turn into a hermit and spend weeks in my studio doing canvas type of work,video editing etc. It’s a different type of creativity I’m used to when I’m street level in the warmer seasons. Which involves more walls and the documentation of them. Currently I’m preparing for 2 gallery shows, March at “BOB Lounge” in the L.E.S. and a May show on WWW.DIRTYPILOT.COM
For those who are unfamiliar with you and what you do, can you tell us a bit about yourself and walk us through your typical day?
Typical day for me starts with either Espresso or a cappuccino, then the emails and phone calls, then I get down to the list of things I’m working on at the moment, this can last me all day, into the night depending on what time I actually woke up. In the winter my sleep schedule is usually upside down sleeping during the day and awake till about 10am.
How did you initially get involved with graffiti?
For me it all sorta came from skateboarding in the mid 80′s into the 90′s. As a kid I would love to be able to say I found this great hobby that kept me out of the streets, but in reality I was introduced to graffiti by being in the street everyday, different towns, travelling to NYC to skate with friends. And of course the impact of the book Subway Art had a tremendous effect on me. It still has a strange feeling when I go through the pages now, because my mind is more mature and I understand every facet now, how “it” works, who the people are, I can place a face to things and it all makes sense now. But in my head I can still remember the allure and mystique that was so much of a fuel for me back then. I think it’s good to still be able to relate to that younger you, I think it probably keeps me humble and grounded.
Do you think where you grew up has had an effect on your style today?
I dunno if where I came from effected my style as much as it allowed me to see everything going on from the outside and be able to asses what I wanted to do with a clear head. One thing that happens in any clustered and stressed environment is your thoughts can easily be dictated and distracted or influenced. That can cause a by product that you might not have done had you been in a vacuum sorta speak able to think freely. The other side to that is that is that in stressed and cluttered and fast paced environments can lead to a speedier culture growth and an exponential rate of style development. But there’s something to be said about being able to create things without forced influence, and picking up on things you genuinely want to pay attention to. At the time we definitely( my partner at the time) created a brand new look and style that eventually was absorbed into the scene globally and digested and regurgitated 50 times over till today I see things done that I know comes from myself and the people I painted with at the time. Today it’s common for 99% of the scene to sit around on the net and wait for that next new pop of a trend, and it’s off to the races to see how many pieces you can do in a month before it’s played out. I call them trend chasers… Very few people are tapped into free creativity not trying to copy an already successful “something” from someone else on the other side of the world or whatever. These things are what crews used to be known for, a crew had an aesthetic, not any more. Those days are long gone.
You use a lot of crazy characters in your work, what draws you to painting them?
I don’t know why others do characters but for me, it’s a separate feeling of expression in a way my lettering can’t and vice versa. I was raised on cartoons like Ren & Stimpy, Tom & Jerry, Duck Tales, Gummy bears, stuff like that, and went on to get a degree in traditional animation. So for me it’s purely a juvenilistic way of expressing emotional reactions to things we as adults might refrain from. But when we see them, we all instantly get it. I like to think so at least, maybe I’m just nuts…..
Do you put any thought in to trying to achieve a particular reaction from people when they view your work?
Hmm, I dunno. I strive to try to be something pure, different. Something that you remember or can for that moment in time be taken away from your regular day. I know the results of my brain can leave a very positive effect from people, so it’s sort of like my form of entertainment I think. I just want to be the best at what I do and hope I get the recognition I deserve before someone else rips me off and gets famous from it.
You’re also an amazing fine artist, even when you don’t have a can in your hand. What came first, graffiti or fine art, and do you find it difficult to separate or to not overlap the two?
I was held back in the 1st grade because I would turn over the class work and draw on the backs of everything. So in my earliest memories I was always drawing on things, later I traced Masters of the Universe comics that came with HeMan figures. 85/86 got into Comic books partially from a guy my mother knew who was an Inker ( Dan Green) for Spiderman, Xmen and Doctor Strange and a whole shit load of other Comic titles throughout the 80′s. One day he gave my Mom a stack of comics for me, and an original page he’d done from Amazing Spiderman 246 that I still have framed to this day. These where vital seeds planted for me in my youth that gave me things to strive for at the time, later I found graffiti and writers like Mode2, the rest was history, I just found something that made sense to me 100%. Here I am 20 years later. It’s crazy for me to really think back…. Too much to type but in person I can talk about this stuff for hours…
You have been involved with quite a few crews, when did you start painting with a crew, and what effect do you think it had on you as a writer?
The era where I come from, your crew is your lineage, so to me you just take it with you where you go. For me I got down with a few main crews in the 90′s that I still carry along with me, on the flip side there’s been crews that I no longer want any relation to for many reasons. I’m a very loyal and dedicated friend, so if a trust is broken or if my presence is taken for granted you lose that gift from me, and I dont look back. My friends know this about me, you don’t want to piss me off. Once you draw that line in the sand, that’s it…. I give everybody one shot.
What is the difference to you between someone who is known as a street artist, opposed to someone else who is known as to be a writer?
A street artist has no real rules to follow, no heritage or value of their cultures history. A writer goes out, finds his spot and respectfully avoids his fellow writer unless you have a problem with someone, but purely speaking there is a respect for one another to not go over older tags, or people who passed away. On some level every writer is a historian of graffiti, you know all the names and what is ok to go over and what to avoid. a street artist just comes along not caring of any of these things and just goes over anything for their photo, not caring for the longevity of the actual “art” they just put up. They’re more concerned with the lifestyle it coins them by doing the act of vandalism and what kind of gallery stature it can earn them, where as a graffiti writer can get nipped or gone over and he will be right back there then next night to fix his spot back to make sure his name is running cuz’ of a personal value of what they do. Street artists mostly go out, do 5 things take 25 pictures of it, and never go back, cuz they really don’t give a fuck about what they did, if they did they’d make sure their “art” never got gone over by anyone else. So it’s ridiculous for someone to call themselves some kind of street artist in a gallery setting when in reality they don’t care about what happens to their art in the street.
How do you think Graffiti has changed or evolved since you began writing?
Do you think the younger generation of writers have the same intentions and mentality as you and those who came before you did when you first started? Writers today lack longevity and that reflects in their output because their goal is to get it in, and get it in as much as they can because they won’t be here next month. So they’re spending less time developing their craft. I spent like 2 years in black books before I tried to do a piece on a wall…
I guess the aim of the game when it comes to graffiti is to get up and be the biggest, in turn crushing other writers, and battling it out with the can, did it ever go past fighting with paint for you?
That is maybe the purest description of it, but you eventually grow up a bit and your goals change, I’ve been in fights, beefs, fought security guards, writers, the vigilante superman types all on the physical level. but growing beyond that you begin to think longevity, and you realize less friction allows you to move faster and get ahead faster. Being streamline means less interaction… Some people realize this more then others, some people find graffiti purely to boost their ego, writing once a year, but trying to get in fights any chance they can just for the rep, but it all depends on what fills that void for you…. Some people are more insecure and cause problems to feel important, some write graffiti for the actual recognition of all the hard work they put in, some in my opinion should’ve went into acting instead, they might have made a name in the real world instead of trying to be a “graffiti superstar”, that shit sounds stupid to me.
E W O K seems like it would be a difficult combination of letters to put together and make look cool, why did you start writing Ewok?
That’s exactly why I picked it, I wrote SERO before that and had to change due to local police problems in the earl 90′s. But mostly because it was a random name no one would have. Now it’s EWOKONE or EWOK 5MH. it’s NEVER just EWOK, that’s property of George Lucas and I’m not trying to ride his coat tails in any way in relation to his EWOK character. If you ever see any press or interviews or products online or anything that’s just EWOK, it’s not me, plain and simple.
What inspires you to go out and paint?
Creation, and my own goals. This is what fills my personal voids, completing big goals, executing when I know 90% of my haters are too lazy to get off the couch more less do what I do on a weekly basis year after year after year.
Do you think that graffiti will go down the same path as tattooing, from a frowned upon (at least in the last 100 years) underground scene to a mainstream movement?
Nothing is sacred, but that being said their will always be those who cherish said culture, the purist at heart no matter how many reality shows pimp it. Whats sad to me is that the general public only ever pics up on the surface level of things. Like here in the states your average 17 year old in highschool’s version of what graffiti is is only what makes it into Juxtapoz Magazine or a clown like Chris Brown posing in pics with spray paint getting diamond spray can necklaces. Shit is a joke. Just read any comment on youtube under your “favorite” writer’s video clip. It’s actually sad. I cater to an older audience who can appreciate the substance.
What’s in your pockets right now?
Absolutely nothin’ but my integrity.
To the general public and authorities, there is a very fine line between what is considered art and what is considered vandalism and/or crime, I know of one case where a writer got a longer jail sentence than a rapist on the same day of sentencing, what are you thoughts on that?
The court system is completely fucked in those regards, we all know this….. When I started writing I was just a vandal. Now depending where you live and what you write on, you’re a felon, when in reality nothing is permanent, every tag fades away, and painting over graffiti costs a minute fraction of what they say it costs to cover it in the media. We all know this….. Who would ever think an ART GALLERY opening in New York City would have staked out Cops taking pictures of people with cameras from tinted parked cars, and creating a database on writers like they did to the Mafia in NYC in the 80′s. Really? this is what you want to make us out to be?? It’s wasted tax payer’s money… We ARE the Picasso’s of tomorrow, the ignorant just don’t realize it yet, we are the legacies that will be spoken about in the future the way we glorify outlaw Cowboys back in the day now. You’ll see, we’ll all be long gone by then probably. Who knows.
We live in turbulent times, what are your views on the world and society today?
Nothing is what you think it is, and awareness is probably your best defence against liars in the media and search out independent sources to gather your facts. Aside form that, sometimes it’s better to sit quiet knowing you know something everyone else in the room doesn’t know, instead of publicly outing yourself and being scrutinized for being different. Timing is everything.
Advice to up and coming artists?
Know and understand why you do what you do. and if you have the love or the passion for it, really nothing else matters. If you’re doing it to impress people it will get boring for you and you will be another “hey what ever happened to that guy?”
Anything coming up that we should know about?
Struggle, sacrifice and the results that come from it.
Word association, you know the deal, say whatever comes to your mind when you read the word.
Australia -Boomerangs and Atome INC TFP
Kevin Rudd -who?
America – Fuck yea!
Obama – Deception, but poor guy….He seems so nice.
England – -Spice Girls and Abbey Road.
The Queen – Looking for a king? I know somebody…..
Legal -But it’s gonna co$t ya…
Illegal -Free, but its gonna co$t ya…
Religion -A crutch for the weak minded followers of of all societies.
Time – Don’t remind me..
Greed – Gordon Gecko
Humanity – Doomed.
Peace -At what cost?
Freedom – At what sacrifice?
Art -Errrbody’s doin it…
Graffiti -Errrbody’s bitin it….
Life -Pretty fun, for some.
Happiness -Yes please.
Where can people follow what you’re up to and view your work?
Anything you want to say?
Welcome home SINCE BTC GOD.
Thanks for the Aussie love, hope to touch down one day.
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