10 Spot with WEEK - ICS crew
WEEK INTERVIEW by The Lines Don’t Lie
Q1: What is style to you?
Style is the most important part of graffiti. I spent most of my early years focusing on mastering my technique, can control, and doing unique letters or concepts with little emphasis on style. Technique and style have sort of a yin and yang relationship in graffiti. You need both and they feed off each other. Style should speak through every line, color, bit, doodad, direction, and flow of your graffiti. Your graffiti should have personality that represents who you are, what you're about, and what kind of day you had. Style in graffiti is a visual representation of yourself. I never truly realized what style was until I stopped caring about graffiti, people's opinions, graff politics, etc., and just let loose and did whatever came naturally. Now it's just completely spontaneous. I've got my colors, I don't do sketches and whatever happens, happens.
Q2: What motivates you to get up?
Right now, at this point in my life: a good color, an idea I've been sitting on for a year or longer, chaotic life situations, good opportunities, when my favorite spot is sitting tough, Glenn Danzig's lyrics, Alan Watts's lectures, chain smoking camels, burn off challenges with Keso, packing the bag with the most bullshit colors just to see what happens.
Q3: Why freight trains?
It's late at night, you're alone, it's cold, it's desolate, so dark your eyes play tricks on you. Just you and the stars. But for some reason, you are overcome with a feeling of serenity. Rigel (from the Orion constellation) winks at you as you light a cigarette and start your outline, knowing that once you finish that piece it's gone, probably forever, why bother even taking a flick because who gives a shit? It doesn't matter anyway, it's about the experience. Shared with a close friend or alone, being in a yard or layup painting freights is the only thing that's given me that feeling of “this is my place in this rotten world”.
Q4: What does your graffiti say about yourself?
There should always be a level of mystique and wonder behind a graffiti writer. If my work speaks or relates to someone it's open for their own interpretation. I do throw subtle obscure curveballs into my graffiti that aren't for everybody to notice or understand; only those who are on the same page will be like, "Oh shit! Yeah, I see what he did there."
Q-5. Who is a writer you respect and why?
We're all brothers in this weird subculture. The writers I respect the most are early influences: Lack, Learn, Mone, Ich, Norms, Monoe, Jec, Enok, Static, Silk, Buick, Much, Yen, Hope4 from my time spent in Minneapolis. Underrated writers who were up a lot like Ahcer, Bezoman, Johste, Myke, Ugly, Aser, Spud, just to name a few of many! And the old timers still doing it. I've been nonstop immersed in freights for 12 years now and I'm worn out; it's hard to imagine 15, 20, 20+ years! (TSA holds high ranking there). But what else is there in life once you've eaten from the apple?
Q6: Can you recall your first experience with the rails?
Spring '05: I was homeless living in my car. Society had failed me early in life. I ran into Keso downtown skateboarding. We had already been good friends since the late 90's and I hadn't seen him for a year or so. We caught up on lost time and I had told him about my toy dabbling in graffiti since '98 and now that I had shit to live for and nothing to lose it was something I wanted to pursue heavily and asked him if he could put me on to anyone that painted. He gave the evil smirk and said, "Yo, I've been doing graffiti! But, I've been painting trains and trains are where it's at!" So we met up at the spot the next night. I had my Krylon and pink dots locked and loaded. We went dumb hard on a gondola with our toy names Enzo and Seek and I was smitten with every aspect of the experience. I went back solo the next night after that and it's just been a snowball effect since.
Q7: What are some of the harshest lessons you have learned from graff?
Never trust a can from Walmart for your outline, and nothing lasts forever.
Q8: When were the golden years of writing for you and what were things like then?
05' to ‘11. The best cars were still around and clean, female valves on the cans so you could actually use a NY Thin properly, the best graffiti I've ever seen was running on the lines, freights weren't pop culture like they are today. There was so many spots and nooks, I would paint a different spot every day of the week. Rusto wasn't transparent and didn't sag like it does today. Believe it or not, you actually had to paint a shit ton of cars (300 plus a year), come off proper and rinse and repeat that process just to even get a hint of notoriety on freights. Painting freights was "painting freights" and it was a hell of a time.
Q9: Can you share some of your crew's history or stories?
The original crew Keso, Foil, and myself. For the most part it has really just been the painting partnership of me and Keso. The Arkansas and Missouri flat story is a good representation of our painting together. It’s the middle of a cold New England winter. It was probably 5 to 10 degrees outside. We were sitting in the car drinking Fireball whiskey like water, trying to muster up confidence to get out in the cold and paint this extremely rare car that was laid up in the hottest spot in our yard. After an hour of going back and forth with Keso trying to talk me out of the impending shenanigans, we get out and proceed to the already sketchy walk-in. After scaling a 15' snowbank over a fence and punching through 50 yards of waist deep snow, thoughts of this mission not working out began to stir in my head. We stopped for a smoke and to assess how ridiculous this was already. Now the tables have turned and I'm trying to bail and Keso is like "fuck you, we’re halfway there and I didn't go through all that bullshit to not paint something". We finally make it to the car and one side is blazed out a 2DX e2e. We get to the other side and the left panel has some non legible ultra toy shit but dude put a lot into his creation so we got to let that ride. Right panel: faded silver toy throw, yes! So we double up on it, paint’s going on like garbage as expected. Halfway through my outline, boom! A can smashes the side of the boxcar, explodes, goes flying over our heads raining paint down on us. Keso's outline clogged up and met its demise, now I'm angry at him for getting me covered in paint and we both had enough at this point. We finished up quick, and got the fuck out because we were already pressing our luck especially for a weeknight in the yard. When we got back to the car we kinda just chuckled at the previous events and called the night.
The next night the temperature was up and they pulled a line in at our favorite spot. We got to the end of the line and there it is the Ark&M flat in the chillest spot of the line where you can just let loose on it. We didn't fix it or go over it with something better like most people would. We moved on to the next car and let the memory of that night ride.
Q10: To my understanding, you used to work for the railroad. Can you tell us a bit of what that was like when also being an active writer?
It was a real eye opener. I thought I had known everything about the lines before but what I knew was nothing compared to what I know now in every aspect. I've always been a heavy bencher, but getting to see almost every car entering and leaving (knowing where everything is going or where it came from) let me know who is really up on the lines on a nationwide scale. Granted, there are a lot of cars that we will never see. If you truly are a heavy hitter, your pieces will be rolling through our area. It really is just a big circle. I also have a huge amount of respect for people who give their lives to the RR and if you think for a second these guys don't notice when you paint a car, tag the whole line, or do something stupid like leave cans in the yard they see it and they know, because the lines are their life day and night. Some are fans, some hate graffiti, and some just don't give a shit!
Q11: What's the strangest thing you've come across along the rails, or any work related stories?
I’ve been chased by a pack of raccoons, stalked by fishercats, coyotes, beavers and wolves. Watched a homeless friend who was an ex-trucker, lot-lizard pimp tazer a 12' gator in Florida ("lot lizard" is a truck stop hooker). Had a skunk nuzzle up against my face while I was hiding in the bushes. Seen a crackhead getting a blowjob through a plastic bag from a hooker with no discretion. Had a bag with a headless, just-killed chicken land next to me out of nowhere. Had a showdown with a moose snarling at me before, that was some real scary shit; it was shot and killed just outside the yard the next day. I was dropping a cut of cars at a yard one day and ran into Juce2, Rlax, and Applehead painting; that was a pretty ironic situation.
I was watching a line go by with a highly respected conductor just moments after he was rambling comments about how he doesn't understand why someone would waste their time painting graffiti on these "shitty old boxcars". The Boston-creamed e2e Keso and I had done rolls by and he just laughs and says, "what was that supposed to be, a doughnut giving the bird? They should at least do more stuff like that." And I reply "You’re right, that was pretty cool, there should be a lot more of that stuff."
Shout outs to my lady, my kids, Keso, Foil, Enok, Jec, Juce2, Nysto, Naser, the rest of ICS crew, Phone, Ich, Lack, Learn, Rich, Mec2, Skef, Syms, Norms, Monoe, Shot, Halt, and anyone that’s crossed paths, painted, and had words good or bad with me. Stay hood, keep it real, and stay up!