Kweenz Destroy has been blooming since 2006, and with her new Bubble Gum Hottie line, Indie 184 is bound to have her name ring bells.
Interview by Aleida G. Garcia
Tell me a little about yourself and how you became interested in graffiti art.
Indie 184: I’ve been living in NYC for 30 years, graffiti has been quintessentially in my environment. When I was 11 years old, I went to the NYC Public Library and discovered Subway Art and Spraycan Art, I was completely blown away and started to copy the letters that spelled out my real name. I lived across the street from the video store which Tracy168 painted and that appeared in Spraycan Art, I would always see it and just fantasize of one day putting my art in the streets. But that was then and years later I would pay close attention to my subway rides. I’d see all the Revs, Smith, Sane and JA that embellished the dark tunnels. I started to investigate who these writers were and where else they got up. I would later meet writers like Casino142, Ceaze MSK and Baze PCB, who would teach me the fundamentals of graffiti. The most important would, of course, have to be Cope2.
The legend grew up involved with gangs in the South Bronx in the early-70s. After being shot, TKid traded the gang lifestyle and became devoted to subway graffiti.
What is the story behind your name?
TKid170: I came up with TKid 170 while laying in bed in a hospital room recovering from gunshot wounds back in 77.
Who were you influenced by?
TKid170: I’m a bastard son of many fathers when it comes to graffiti style. My biggest influence was Padre DOS (BOC); when it came to style he showed me the ropes and made it simple for me to understand that a piece is something that moves and flows like rhythm in music: letters sing to you and tell you a story. Then Tracy 168 influenced my characters style and showed me composition and broadened my mind by telling me there is nothing that can’t be done when it come to letters. He also showed me the commercial value of graffiti. Gotta say: Tracy168 was a genius in his day.
This Boogie-Down blaster and style master is on a mission to defend the faith of graffiti. Getting up with tags, throw-ups and burners, he does it all – with style.
What do you write?
Did you ever or continue to write anything else?
Yes2: I did and still do.
He has been called “the Nucleus” of ‘70s subway graffiti. Boots was there since the beginning because of his desire to burn and influenced many of today’s great writers.
When did you start?
Boots 119: Early-70s, when I was just a lad about 11 years old.
What crews are you down with?
Boots 119: MGA, Wildstyle, MG Boys, TDS, MAFIA Inc., OTB and TMTs.
The scene is so crazy and dope that it’s hard to stand out in Europe. Serch is one international writer who catches our attention.
What’s your background?
Serch: I have been writing graffiti since summer/fall 1985. I first started out drawing and practicing my hand style on paper and only did my first piece in 1986. I am down with so many crews but at the moment, but I mostly push NES, ZF, SUK, C2 and WSU, and I was so fortunate to be put down with several legendary crews from NYC like TDS, TMT, TM7, MAFIA, BYI and MTA… I started out in my hometown, Zwolle, which is a medium-size city about an hour north of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I kept my focus on that city until the late-80s when I started bombing the rest of the country a little bit. In late 1989/early 1990 I got into major problems with justice because of my creative hobby and the result was a one and a half year retirement from the active scene, during which time I only painted an occasional legal wall and I kept on taking pictures of other people’s work.
Quickly getting his style and rep up, the kid is definitely making his mark.
Where are you from and what is/was the scene like there?
Pear: As a writer, I’m from Washington, D.C. The D.C. scene was dead when I started wandering the streets. But, luckily for me, there was a lot of graff still running from the heydays of the 1990s, so I got to see a lot of dope shit from the likes of SMK, Cert, Some, Exist, Cast, Svev, Sycle, Mesk, Ultra, Clear, etc., etc. Within a year of my starting, D.C., began their buff campaign to revitalize certain neighborhoods I frequented. I saw rooftops smashed with sick pieces vanish, original D.C. hand styles washed away, even cutty piecing spots whitewashed. Before I knew it, not only was D.C. dead, but it was clean. I was an angry, depressed kid and heard my calling to pick up the slack, so I went for mines. Then these dudes Koma and Nore came back to town a year later and started smashing again, eventually leading to us beefing for about three or four years, give or take.
A writer’s hand is often described as his trademark. Tone IYA gives his advice about the hand scene.
Photography by Michael Francis
Crews: IYA OAL IAO BMD
Experience: 20 years (in 2010)
Arsenal: Rusto fats
I started writing Bleek in 1988 on paper and walls in my neighborhood and in 1991 I switched my name to Tone. My biggest influences as far as what I saw in my neighborhood were Bark, Krane TUK, Chicago, Men, Slice, Kers, Sam, Nolski, Crack 7, Boza, Fax, Kad, Kair, Oz, Ozo, Nark, Cose, Zash… and any writer who bombed North Philly and Kensington when I was coming up. I, like any other good Philly writer, have that whip – you know, the whip you get after writing your name like, a million times. A dope hand has got to have that whip, it’s gotta be uniform, good proportion, and should be an expression of your own personal style.
The Seattle native, Lewy BTM, is crushing some ill spots throughout the boroughs of New York City.
Experience: 15 years (in 2010)
Arsenal: Master Blasters
I fuck with that big Big Time Mob. I was more wild a few years back, now I’m more focused, plus I’m sober for six years, so I feel more aware and I can do what I want when I want. That’s like a rule I’ve been living by, do what I want when I want. I want to paint and so racking paint and stackin’ scrill is my only job. My record is dumb long so I don’t get the sweet deal or the ROR – none of that.
Fontographer/Graffiti foreman Much has been punishing the freights for years with rare ferocity.
Crews: HM IBD
Location: The Frozen North
Experience: 16 years (in 2010)
Arsenal: Pink Dot
Much was featured in the Trains intro in Issue 2 of The Infamous. This is the extended, off-the-wall interview. The first two questions were asked by Nmph; the rest by Snickerdoodles McPoppycock.
For as long as I’ve known you, once we get to the train, you have always been the guy who is up for whatever and always the guy to ask “so where do you want to go?” You’re never afraid to tackle the bar or to dodge the numbers, so what sort of car or situation would you say is the most undesirable for you to paint as far as the train itself goes?
Much: Probably just the car that I know isn’t going any damn where. I’m not real picky, as long as it gets out there. And it doesn’t need to be on a hotshot to Miami – just seen by somebody. Other than that, anything that I foresee as being atheistically displeasing. Like scrunching five people on a holy roller, or having someone go on the door just to fit in. Actually those big floaters above other people’s pieces really don’t look that hot, but I keep doing ‘em. Dumb.