5Pointz

Meres One on Life after 5Pointz

September 18, 2014

Meres graffiti on canvas Meres One on Life after 5Pointz

It’s been almost a year now since we awoke to the horrific news that our beloved 5Pointz had been whitewashed overnight. What has life been like since for Meres, its founder and director, who had devoted just about every waking hour to this world-renowned aerosol art Mecca?  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to Meres.

We miss 5Pointz so much. I’m eagerly awaiting its rebirth! Is that likely to happen?

Time will tell. It’s an open option.

Meres street art graffiti NYC Meres One on Life after 5Pointz

What do you miss most about it?

I loved having a space where I could bring all the elements of hip-hop together. And I loved having so many opportunities to educate others.

Were there to be a rebirth of 5Pointz, how would you approach it differently?

I would want to work with a landlord who embraces what 5Pointz represents and is committed to collaborating with me in assuring its long-term success and survival.  I would, also, want to establish enduring relationships with art-friendly politicians.

Meres graffiti NYC Meres One on Life after 5Pointz

Is there any specific neighborhood or borough that you would prefer as a potential site for a new venture?

Some place that is accessible to folks from all boroughs. I’m open. Anywhere but Long Island City!

In what ways has your life been different since the demolition of 5Pointz?

I never used to have time for myself.  Lately I’ve had.

Meres street art Bushwick Collective 2 Meres One on Life after 5Pointz

What’s that like?

Very weird! At first I just felt very angry, and I was trying to come to terms with my anger. Now I’m looking forward to painting in my new Brooklyn studio in the months ahead.

Anything specific in mind in terms of your own work?

Yes, I’m interested in recreating the Old New York, the New York I once knew that has disappeared.

Meres painting street scape Meres One on Life after 5Pointz

Although you may not feel all that busy, your last few months certainly seem to have been quite productive! We’ve seen your work both on the streets and in galleries. What have you been up to?

I participated in WALL WORKS: The Art of Graffiti at Great Neck’s Gold Coast Arts Center and in W H I T E W A S H: A Requiem to 5Pointz , curated by Marie Cecile Flageul, at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery and several other exhibits both here and abroad. At the Galerie Rue de l’art in Lyon, France, I exhibited — along with ShiroAuksPoemSee TF Cortes and Just One — in NYC Subway Map – 5Pointz, I’ve also painted in several festivals and events including: Living Walls in Atlanta, Georgia; the Jersey Fresh Jam in Trenton, NJ and this past weekend at the Allentown ArtsFest. I’ve had numerous commissions, including a gym in Long Island  and a new restaurant opening in Brooklyn.

Meres graffiti crown heights NYC Meres One on Life after 5Pointz

It sounds like you’ve been quite busy! What’s ahead?

In addition to preparing work for an upcoming solo show focusing on the NYC in which I grew up, I’m working on involving 5Pointz artists in a number of events — including a festival in West Africa.  On November 3, Marie and I will be the recipients of the Arts & Activism Award at the Gold Coast Arts Center Gala 2014. And one of my artworks is featured in STRADA VELOCE, an exhibit featuring Italian automotive-inspired art and furniture, opening tonight at the Dorian Grey Gallery in the East Village.

Wow! Good luck with this all!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos 1, 5 and 6 by Lois Stavsky; 2, 3, and 4 by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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meres 5pointz white wash canvas W H I T E W A S H: A Requiem to 5Pointz at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery with Meres, Cortes, Zimad, See TF, Shiro and more through June 8

On November 19, 2013, 5 Pointz, the world’s aerosol art Mecca, was whitewashed overnight.  Its heartless destruction profoundly saddened not only the artists who called it home and those who traveled there from across the globe, but all of us who loved the creativity and camaraderie that 5Pointz represented. Currently on exhibit at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery, just a short walk from the site of the “art murder,” is W H I T E W A S H.  Curated by Marie Cecile-Flageul, it features the works of nine aerosol artists and two photographers.  Here’s a small sampling of what is on exhibit:

Another by Meres One

Meres graffiti whitewash 5Pointz W H I T E W A S H: A Requiem to 5Pointz at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery with Meres, Cortes, Zimad, See TF, Shiro and more through June 8

Christian Cortes

chris cortes whitewash 5Pointz graffiti W H I T E W A S H: A Requiem to 5Pointz at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery with Meres, Cortes, Zimad, See TF, Shiro and more through June 8

Zimad

Zimad painting 5pointz whitewash W H I T E W A S H: A Requiem to 5Pointz at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery with Meres, Cortes, Zimad, See TF, Shiro and more through June 8

See TF, close-up 

See tf close up whitewash 5pointz W H I T E W A S H: A Requiem to 5Pointz at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery with Meres, Cortes, Zimad, See TF, Shiro and more through June 8

Shiro

shiro 5pointz whitewash W H I T E W A S H: A Requiem to 5Pointz at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery with Meres, Cortes, Zimad, See TF, Shiro and more through June 8

Also on exhibit in W H I T E W A S H are works by AuksHans Von Rittern, Jerms, Just One, Orestes Gonzalez, Poem and Topaz.   The exhibition continues through June 8 at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery. Located at 2137 45th Road in Long Island City, the gallery is open Friday – Sunday 12-6pm and by appointment, 917 767 1734.

Photos of artworks by Lois Stavsky and City-as-School intern, Dea Sumrall

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Zimad and Meres graffiti artists great neck WALL WORKS: The  Art of Graffiti at Great Necks Gold Coast Arts Center with Meres One, Zimad, Shiro, See TF, Kid Lew, Hunt Rodriguez, John Paul O’Grodnick and more

On exhibit through February at Great Neck’s Gold Coast Arts Center is WALL WORKS: The Art of Graffiti featuring works by 5Pointz (Rest in Power) curator and CEO Jonathan “Meres” Cohen and other artists who found a home at 5Pointz. Here’s a small sampling:

Meres

Meres on canvas blue WALL WORKS: The  Art of Graffiti at Great Necks Gold Coast Arts Center with Meres One, Zimad, Shiro, See TF, Kid Lew, Hunt Rodriguez, John Paul O’Grodnick and more

Shiro

Shiro portrait on canvas WALL WORKS: The  Art of Graffiti at Great Necks Gold Coast Arts Center with Meres One, Zimad, Shiro, See TF, Kid Lew, Hunt Rodriguez, John Paul O’Grodnick and more

 See TF

Seetf art on canvas WALL WORKS: The  Art of Graffiti at Great Necks Gold Coast Arts Center with Meres One, Zimad, Shiro, See TF, Kid Lew, Hunt Rodriguez, John Paul O’Grodnick and more

Kid Lew

Kid Lew graffiti on spray cans WALL WORKS: The  Art of Graffiti at Great Necks Gold Coast Arts Center with Meres One, Zimad, Shiro, See TF, Kid Lew, Hunt Rodriguez, John Paul O’Grodnick and more

Hunt Rodriguez and daughter, close-up from sculpture, “Rest in Power, 5Pointz” (Click on link for video clip with full view)

Hunt Rodrigues sculpture WALL WORKS: The  Art of Graffiti at Great Necks Gold Coast Arts Center with Meres One, Zimad, Shiro, See TF, Kid Lew, Hunt Rodriguez, John Paul O’Grodnick and more

John Paul O’Grodnick

John Paul O Grodnick art WALL WORKS: The  Art of Graffiti at Great Necks Gold Coast Arts Center with Meres One, Zimad, Shiro, See TF, Kid Lew, Hunt Rodriguez, John Paul O’Grodnick and more

Zimad

Zimad art on canvas WALL WORKS: The  Art of Graffiti at Great Necks Gold Coast Arts Center with Meres One, Zimad, Shiro, See TF, Kid Lew, Hunt Rodriguez, John Paul O’Grodnick and more

 First image of Zimad and Meres, close-up from photo by Richard Alicia; all others by Lois Stavsky

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South Bronx native Luis “Zimad” Lamboy began gracing walls with his graffiti skills at age 14, and had his first exhibit at Fashion Moda in 1984. Since, he has exhibited his artwork in galleries world-wide and continues to share his skills on public spaces across the globe. Tomorrow evening, he  will be showing a series of new paintings – alongside James Sexer Rodriguez – at Rogue Gallery Chelsea, 508 West 26th Street.

Zimad graffiti South Bronx nyc Speaking with Luis Zimad Lamboy

When and where did you first get up?

It started back in 1979. I grew up in the South Bronx on 156th and Courtland, and that’s where I first got up.

What inspired you?

Throw-ups and bombs were everywhere. I especially loved what I saw on the handball courts.  There was FDT 56, KID 56, Mad2 and the Bronx Artists crew.

Have you any early graffiti-related memories that stand out?

I remember the time I shocked my arm in the lay-ups. It became numb, but I continued bombing. That same night we got chased out of the lay-ups by workers in the middle of the night. I remember running down Pelham Parkway, while the MPC Crew were throwing rocks and bottles at us.  That was a night!

Did you represent any crews?

Crews I’ve painted with include: BA, OTB, DWB, TCM, CWK and TD4.

Zimad street art at the Bushwick Collective Speaking with Luis Zimad Lamboy

What is the riskiest thing you did?

Hitting up a white train on an elevated track wearing a red bubble coat in broad daylight. I had people yelling at me from the street.

How did your family feel about what you were doing?

My mom said, “You better be careful.” My father never acknowledged what I was doing. I really don’t know if he knew or not.

Have you ever been arrested?

A few times. Not too many. I remember when I was locked up with Sexer for painting a handball court right across from a police station.  Just as we were finishing it, the entire precinct came out and surrounded us. We got off easily, though. We were charged with criminal mischief and had to pay a $50.00 fine.

Do you work with a sketch-in-hand or do you just let it flow?

I used to sketch out my letters before hitting a wall. But I mostly let it flow.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece? 

Lately I’ve been. But I have mixed feelings about some of my earlier pieces

Zimad at 5Pointz Speaking with Luis Zimad Lamboy

Do you have a formal art education?

I’m self-taught. I’ve been drawing since I was five years old. I learned just about everything I know from the streets.  And in my mid-20’s, I attended FIT. The classes that I took there helped me fine-tune my skills.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

The spiritual life has been my greatest influence. I’ve been particularly inspired by Sacred Geometry.

Any other inspirations?

Basquiat.  Just watching the movie inspires me.

Do you prefer working with others? Or would you rather paint alone?

When I’m outside, I prefer working with others. I collaborate lots with Sexer these days. But when I’m in my studio, I like to paint alone.

Zimad on canvas Speaking with Luis Zimad Lamboy

Any thoughts about the graffiti/street art divide?

Graffiti writers often feel that street artists disrespect them. And, unlike graffiti writers, many street artists have formal art educations.  This, too, leads to tensions between the two, as street artists have a different take on it all and are more accepted by the art establishment. Their work is also more accessible to most people.

Why do you suppose the art world has been so reluctant to embrace graffiti?

Well, it’s the only element of hip-hop that’s illegal. And that’s a problem. Gallery owners don’t want the police knocking on their doors.

Any favorite arists?

Doze Green, Mars1, Dondi and Basquiat.

How has your work evolved in the past few years?

I leave graffiti for the walls. In my studio I continue to move in the direction of fine arts. When I am painting in my studio, I am building a legacy.

zimad graffiti action at 5Pointz Speaking with Luis Zimad Lamboy

Have you any thoughts about the movement of graffiti into galleries?

I think it’s great, but once it’s in a gallery, it’s not graffiti. It’s aerosol art.

How do you feel about the role of the Internet in all this?

On the positive side, it gets my work out all over the world. But it also makes it too easy for people to imitate one’s work.

Have you any feelings about the photographers in the scene?

Some are good; some aren’t. But I think if a photographer sells his photos, he should share his profits with the artists.

What do you see as the role of the artist in society?

To invite the public into their world. To share their story with others.

Urban Convictions Rogue Gallery Speaking with Luis Zimad Lamboy

What do you see as the future of graffiti?

Graffiti is the biggest art movement in the world. It will continue to grow.

What about you? What’s ahead for you?

For me, I will continue to create every day of my life and share what is on my mind through my art for the world to see.

Interview by Lois Stavsky; Photo 1, Zimad as a young teen, courtesy of the artist; photo 2, Zimad at the Bushwick Collective by Tara Murray; photo 3, Zimad at 5Pointz by Lois Stavsky; photo 4,  Zimad at 5Pointz by Tara Murray; photo 5, Zimad on canvas by Lois Stavsky

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Dozens of new artworks, representing a wide range of cultures, styles and approaches, have surfaced this summer at 5Pointz. Here are a few from NYC’s ever-evolving open-air gallery:

Veteran graff artists Bis and Vor 

Bis Vor graffiti mural 5Pointz NYC At 5Pointz    a Fusion of Cultures and Styles with: Bis & Vor, Christiaan Nagel, Shiro, Part One, Yes1, Meres, NDA & Bishop, the Har Crew, Zeso, Joel Bergner and Dase

London-based artist Christiaan Nagel installs his iconic mushroom with a little help from Meres

Christiaan Nagel mushroom installation Pointz NYC At 5Pointz    a Fusion of Cultures and Styles with: Bis & Vor, Christiaan Nagel, Shiro, Part One, Yes1, Meres, NDA & Bishop, the Har Crew, Zeso, Joel Bergner and Dase

 Austrian artist Roofie

Roofie street art 5Pointz NYC At 5Pointz    a Fusion of Cultures and Styles with: Bis & Vor, Christiaan Nagel, Shiro, Part One, Yes1, Meres, NDA & Bishop, the Har Crew, Zeso, Joel Bergner and Dase

Japanese artist Shiro with PartYes1 and Meres

shiro partyes one and meres graffiti 5Pointz NYC At 5Pointz    a Fusion of Cultures and Styles with: Bis & Vor, Christiaan Nagel, Shiro, Part One, Yes1, Meres, NDA & Bishop, the Har Crew, Zeso, Joel Bergner and Dase

ND’A and Bishop

NDA Bishop street art 5Pointz At 5Pointz    a Fusion of Cultures and Styles with: Bis & Vor, Christiaan Nagel, Shiro, Part One, Yes1, Meres, NDA & Bishop, the Har Crew, Zeso, Joel Bergner and Dase

The Mexican Har crew, close-up

Hor graffiti close up 5Pointz NYC At 5Pointz    a Fusion of Cultures and Styles with: Bis & Vor, Christiaan Nagel, Shiro, Part One, Yes1, Meres, NDA & Bishop, the Har Crew, Zeso, Joel Bergner and Dase

Har Crew, complete mural

Hor graffiti at 5Pointz NYC 2 At 5Pointz    a Fusion of Cultures and Styles with: Bis & Vor, Christiaan Nagel, Shiro, Part One, Yes1, Meres, NDA & Bishop, the Har Crew, Zeso, Joel Bergner and Dase

French artist Zeso

Zeso mural art at 5Pointz At 5Pointz    a Fusion of Cultures and Styles with: Bis & Vor, Christiaan Nagel, Shiro, Part One, Yes1, Meres, NDA & Bishop, the Har Crew, Zeso, Joel Bergner and Dase

Brooklyn-based international muralist Joel Bergner

Joel Bergner art 5Pointz At 5Pointz    a Fusion of Cultures and Styles with: Bis & Vor, Christiaan Nagel, Shiro, Part One, Yes1, Meres, NDA & Bishop, the Har Crew, Zeso, Joel Bergner and Dase

Barcelona-based artist Dase

Dase street art at 5Pointz NYC At 5Pointz    a Fusion of Cultures and Styles with: Bis & Vor, Christiaan Nagel, Shiro, Part One, Yes1, Meres, NDA & Bishop, the Har Crew, Zeso, Joel Bergner and Dase

Photos by Dani Mozeson, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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The walls at 5Pointz continue to showcase some of the most vibrant public art in NYC — or anywhere. Here’s a sampling of some artwork that has recently surfaced:

Puerto Rican artists Rimx and Nepo

Rimx and Nepo streetartmural 5Pointz NYC Its Happening at 5Pointz: Rimx & Nepo, Kid Lew, Jasper, Demer, Rain & Kasso, Nok Crew, Serrano, Mas Paz, Rimx & Cortes and Zeso

Queens-based Kid Lew’s tribute to Trayvon Martin

Kid Lew graffiti at 5Pointz NYC Its Happening at 5Pointz: Rimx & Nepo, Kid Lew, Jasper, Demer, Rain & Kasso, Nok Crew, Serrano, Mas Paz, Rimx & Cortes and Zeso

Jasper — in from Queensland, Australia

Jasper graffiti 5Pointz. NYC Its Happening at 5Pointz: Rimx & Nepo, Kid Lew, Jasper, Demer, Rain & Kasso, Nok Crew, Serrano, Mas Paz, Rimx & Cortes and Zeso

New Jersey-based graff masters Demer, Rain and Kasso

Demer Rain Kasso graffiti 5Pointz Its Happening at 5Pointz: Rimx & Nepo, Kid Lew, Jasper, Demer, Rain & Kasso, Nok Crew, Serrano, Mas Paz, Rimx & Cortes and Zeso

The Parisian Nok Crew

Nok graffiti 5Pointz NYC Its Happening at 5Pointz: Rimx & Nepo, Kid Lew, Jasper, Demer, Rain & Kasso, Nok Crew, Serrano, Mas Paz, Rimx & Cortes and Zeso

Serrano, Mas Paz, Rimx and Cortes fashion letters “PROC” for the Artist Process, a 5Pointz annual project coordinated by Marthalicia Matarrita 

serrano mas paz rimx cortes art 5Pointz NYC Its Happening at 5Pointz: Rimx & Nepo, Kid Lew, Jasper, Demer, Rain & Kasso, Nok Crew, Serrano, Mas Paz, Rimx & Cortes and Zeso

Close-up from huge mural by French TD4 member, Zeso

Zeso close up Its Happening at 5Pointz: Rimx & Nepo, Kid Lew, Jasper, Demer, Rain & Kasso, Nok Crew, Serrano, Mas Paz, Rimx & Cortes and Zeso

Photos by Dani Mozeson, Tara Murray & Lois Stavsky; image of Ked Lew’s mural courtesy of the artist

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Speaking with Wes21

June 24, 2013

A member of schwarzmaler, a collective of outstanding graffiti writers, street artists and illustrators, Swiss artist Wes21 creates stunning, detailed works that blur the boundaries between reality and fantasy.  We recently spoke to him during his visit to 5Pointz.

wes21 semor onur kkade 5Pointz ROOFTOP Speaking with Wes21

When did you first start getting up?

I was about 11 years old when I hit my father’s garage.

Where was this?

In a small town near Berne.

What inspired you at the time?

Graffiti was all around me. I grew up without a TV, and I was always drawing. So it seemed like the natural thing to do.

Wes21 street art Speaking with Wes21

How did your parents feel about what you were doing?

They encouraged me.  My father used to bring me photos of graffiti.  They love it.

Have you any preferred spots?

I love painting anywhere but I especially love rooftops and places near water.

Have you ever exhibited your work?

Yes, and I do many exhibitions every year.  I’ve shown my work in both group and solo shows in Switzerland, Germany, Hungary and Italy.

wes21 art Speaking with Wes21

How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries?

I feel fine about it, so long as it’s well-done. Showing in a gallery pushes me to the next level. And then I’m a better artist when I paint in the streets!

Have you a formal art education?

Yes. I studied graphic design and illustration in art school for four years.

Any thoughts about the role of the Internet in all this?

I don’t pay much attention to it.

wes21 11 Speaking with Wes21

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

Not completely. If I were, I wouldn’t be motivated to paint another one!

Is there much of a graffiti/street art divide back home

Not really. Most of the artists who hit the streets are open-minded.

What do you see as the role of the artist in society?

To capture a moment — real or imaginary — for eternity.

All photos courtesy of the artist

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Speaking with Kkade

June 10, 2013

Swiss artist Kkade shared his splendid skills with us last month at 5Pointz. While he was here, we had the opportunity to find out a bit about this talented member of the Schwarzmaler Collective.

Semor and Kade graffiti mural at 5Pointz Speaking with Kkade

When and where did you begin writing?

I started writing in my hometown of Murten, Switzerland in 1999. I was 16 years old.

How did you get into it?

I used to love looking at graffiti magazines and watching films on graffiti bombing.

semor onur wes21 kkade ROOFTOP Speaking with Kkade

How did your parents feel about what you were doing?

They didn’t like the police calling them. But they were always supportive.

Any early inspirations?

My crew members Kese 27 and Mower gave me my first, big start. And, since, I’ve done lots of writing and traveling with them.

Kkade graffiti Switzerland Speaking with Kkade

Have you any favorite writers?

This is hard to answer, but crews like HA or JBCB are dope.  And my favorite Swiss writers are Kesy, Irons and Toast.

Besides 5Pointz here in NYC, where else have you painted?

I’ve painted throughout Switzerland and in many European cities. Among them are: Milan, Berlin, Cologne, Amsterdam and Budapest.

kkade graffiti Speaking with Kkade

Have you exhibited your work?

I have my first solo exhibit coming up on June 27 at the Trace Gallery in Zurich. And I’ve exhibited many times with the Schwarzmaler Collective.

Any thoughts about street art and graffiti divide?

Street art wouldn’t exist without graffiti. Graffiti started on trains and made its way onto the streets. Some people think they can do stickers and stencils and that they’re graffiti artists. But that’s not what graffiti is about. These days, street art has a bigger hype than graffiti. Back in Switzerland, the media recently promoted Wes 21 as a street artist – rather than as graffiti writer – when he was exhibiting his work in a gallery. It’s scene thing. But we don’t let the hype get to us. Graffiti saved my life. It kept me from doing drugs and behaving aggressively.

How do you see the Internet in all of this?

I think it’s really good in connecting people with the art. But it also exposes people to too much crap. And not everyone can tell the difference.

kkade graffiti mural switzerland Speaking with Kkade

Do you have any formal art education?

I went to art school and got an apprenticeship in graphic design. I studied it for three years. It taught me to be more open-minded, and it did push me to do better and better.

What’s ahead?

Perfecting my letters and sharing my skills with others.

Interview by Lenny Collado. First photo by Lois Stavsky; all others courtesy of the artist

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Of the many new pieces to surface at 5Pointz since it began its 11th season last month, a particular stand-out is the huge mural by Phillip Perez aka Article. Curious about the artist behind this singular graffiti aesthetic, we posed some questions to him.

article mural at 5Pointz NYC Article Brings His Skills from Houston, Texas to 5Pointz, NYC

When did you start getting up?

I first started in Houston, Texas — back in 1992.

What inspired you at the time?

It started when my friend Big Mark aka KRAM, a B-Boy (Rock Skittles Krew) and a graffiti artist, showed me a video that featured break dancing and graffiti. Before then, I hadn’t seen anything like it. Two days after watching that video, I went bombing. I spray-painted in an alley behind my house.

Any memories that stand out from those early days?

A neighborhood hothead, SKEEZ 181, invited me to paint in a train yard for a graffiti battle. I don’t know how he got my number, but he did. He gave me a call one day and said he’d even pay for the paint and pick me up at my place. I was young and crazy, so I agreed. It was me and Ceroe against all of Hou-Tex freaks in a train yard in Denver Harbor. And as we were painting, a couple of train cops rolled up on Ceroe at the end of the car and start shooting at us. We all hopped about six sets of train tracks while dodging the bullets. Everyone got out of there alive. We even became good friends after. Never did like train yards, but I did it that once!

article begins graffiti at 5Pointz LIC Article Brings His Skills from Houston, Texas to 5Pointz, NYC

Have you any preferred surfaces?

No favorites. I’m a city bomber; any surface will do. The laws here don’t allow graffiti to live too long. A month maximum and bombs are buffed. So as a writer in Houston, you have to be very selective where you bomb. Location is key!

What’s the riskiest thing you’ve done?

I painted a wall along this railroad track with a couple of friends. Soon, the police rolled by and we were forced to hide in this ditch of muddy water amidst a horrible stench and a swarm of mosquitos. We couldn’t move or sneeze. The cops knew that there had been painting going on, as there was that strong smell of paint in the air. When the police left, we jumped out of there and ran. When we did, a police officer saw us, and hit full speed. To get away, we had to jump over barbed wire gates. We made it, but we separated as we dodged the cops. We met back up again about an hour later.

Have you ever been to jail?

Yes. When I was young, I went to jail for a lot of crazy things, but not for my graffiti art. I’d never go to jail for that. I’d feel too awful getting caught for my art.

Article paints graffiti mural 5Pointz NYC Article Brings His Skills from Houston, Texas to 5Pointz, NYC

Can you tell us something about some of the other writers down in Houston?

When I started out in the early 90’s, there were hardly any graffiti bombers. There were a few graffiti artists, though.  Nekst and Vizie started here in the mid ’90’s and moved on to work with MSK — from what I understand. I respect those kids. They could have done anything in life, but they chose graffiti as a lifestyle. Episode, Color One, SKEEZ 181, The One Lee, Cease, Dual — are a few cats that live the lifestyle and keep things real in the H.

Who or what inspires you these days?

The lack of real graffiti nowadays is what inspires me to keep at it and teach it — when possible. This new generation needs to learn the foundation and history of this culture before they try to rub elbows with self-made artists. It’s a big let down when I meet a cat who can rock a 3-D but can’t paint regular letters or write with a nice hand style. But there are still sick artists coming out of the woodworks.

Are you down with any crews?

I’m in Hyroglifx Krew 182. We’re like a family here and help each other out. I don’t see it happening these days with many other crews. Internet crews have members who don’t even know each other. We were all born and raised in the North Central Houston.

Have you exhibited your work?

I have in the past few years, and I’m looking to exhibit more regularly.

article paints at 5Pointz Article Brings His Skills from Houston, Texas to 5Pointz, NYC

Do you have a formal arts education?

No. My art have been my true education. It has taught me to write proposals and contracts, research history and conduct business. Art has taught me everything. When in school, I felt like the institution was misguiding me.

What’s the attitude of your family and friends towards what you do?

My mom bought me my first can. She has been supportive of the graffiti art, but not of the graffiti bombing. It’s a life style and culture. For me, graffiti is a rare art form. I often find myself explaining it to friends. I never get any real negative feedback from them, though.

What percentage of your time is devoted to writing?

It’s a balance. I have to maintain my commercial works and still fit in my street time. My heaviest bombing years were throughout the 90’s. I’ve had to slow down in the 2000’s because of paid gigs, which took up a lot of time and energy.

,Have you a steady day job?

Yup! I have an in-house art gig for a corporation. It helps me pay the bills and buy paint supplies. When I’m not working there, I do commission work for various people. Along the way, I’ve met a lot of actors, musicians and politicians who are interested in what I do. So luckily, I get to work for them and anyone else who needs art of any kind.

Article graffiti mural at 5Pointz LIC NYC Article Brings His Skills from Houston, Texas to 5Pointz, NYC

What about other interests?

Anything that is even vaguely art-related interests me. I’m also interested in history.

How has your work evolved throughout the years?

It’s evolved a ton. I taught myself foundation, structure, color schemes and balance. And through that learning process, my work naturally evolved into what it is today.

How did you connect with 5Pointz?

My boy Episode gave me Meres’s number and I texted him. A thousands miles later — with a hundred pounds of paint — I presented my layout to Meres, who approved the sketch and got me straight to work.

Can you tell us a bit about this image?

It’s a memorial wall — a tribute to the building representing the kings, the OGs of New York City graffiti. I don’t want to see the building torn down. With its gold background, the piece represents the significance of 5Pointz. The hieroglyphics are actually names of important writers such as Stay High 149, Dondi and IZ the Wiz, to name a few. And overall, the work represents the style of my crew. It’s an offering to the 5Pointz community and its importance in the movement. Even in Houston, we know its value.

Interview by Lenny Collado; photos by Lenny Collado, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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