Shad from Milan was here, and helped Why Style through the interview with some intelligent questions.
Pane: When, and most importantly why did you start writing graffiti?
It was the times, there was a lot of graf everywhere, so you saw it growing up and you wanted to do the same thing too, so you’re already in grade school, you’re drawing and other people is making up names and stuff. I think I did my first train in ’83, but I’ve been drawing before that for years, goofing around in the neighborhood, before you say; ok maybe I go do a train, I know enough now.
Shad: How did it happen you got to the big crews?
That comes later you know, you gotta put it to work.
Shad: How long did it take, how many pieces, how many years?
I never was really into like counting the pieces and all that kind of stuff, but I would say that I met Case by the ’86, so you figure it a couple of years since I started painting on the trains I meet some good people along the way, you know. I was already friend with the all TAT guys, before this they were already doing a lot, and I was just beginning to do my shit.
I developed a lot of friendship with a lot of people along the way, I just did my shit, my business you know.
I was close B’s; I just wanted to do my art, just like you saw people before like Lee, oh shit! You know, you wanted do that too, you see the big characters, the productions, and it inspires you to want to do.
Pane: So you started because everybody in school was kind of doing it…
Yeah is like one of those things like, when break dancing was really popular, a lot of people would break dancing everywhere, even if some guys didn’t continue and become “big time”, but there was a lot of people coming up and developing and wanting to show other people, ’cause it was popular, you know.
Shad: Who put you down with the big crew…
Well, when I got down with TFP, Case 2 put me down, he saw what I was doing and he said he wanted to meet me, so I got the word to a friend and we meet up, we started talking and than from there we started hanging out, we started doing walls, all around the neighborhood, and than eventually we wanted to do some trains.
After that I got down, I staied in contact, we get together as often as possible in between, I’m here, he’s there, that’s how to say. Now I take care of all the crew business, as far as I keep it on breast of what’s going on.
Pane: Which neighborhood where you actually from?
I grew up in the north Bronx, already from grade school, little south then we went to the middle, than we ended up in a house in the north Bronx. It was kind of cool, it was near were a lot of big time guys were, they had come up like Blade and all those guys, it was near the twos and fives, I lived near the yard and going to school I could see the trains, after school we would see them pulling out to go into the rush hour service and you saw all this pieces, “wow look at that”, I would just stop and watch for a while.
You’re already drawing the sketches, you know, fourth grade, fifth grade, sixth grade, stupid little names little shit, sixth grade maybe you get a can do something in your room, so that’s how to say, way before I hit the train I was already goofing around, just developing and shit, that’s not like: “hey I started writing when I was in forth grade!” that type of shit, you know what I’m saying?
Nico: How do you decide to bring new people into the crew?
When somebody is putting in work, you like what is doing, is cool, you get to hang out for a wile to know what the person is like, and than is always good to bring in some new people.
Shad: What is the requirement, you must have a certain style or dedication?
I don’t know, it’s people who do pieces, who got some style, and I like to see people who are painting because they like to paint, it’s not like I’m going to paint for three years, and now I’m going to be doing something else. I know people life’s progress, family and shit like that, but is good to find the time now and than to go out and represent doing something nice.
Shad: how did the style in the history of TFP grow?
Case showed a lot of people you know, and I show some people stuff, is definitely people that like to explore style, for sure. It’s like anything, if you want a crew to survive, you’re not going to have two or three people who have founded it and that’s it, you gotta pass down that knowledge or it’s lost.
Shad: It is something mandatory to adopt, to learn style from the crew…
No no, there’s plenty of people that have their own things going on, and as people get together and learn from each other and shit like that, you see that the styles, they adapt to each other, and that’s good, that’s the learning process you know, you get together with certain people and you start saying; “ho shit I didn’t see that” you know, “let’s try something like that”, and vice versa, they see some of your shit…
Shad: Since you traveled a lot in Europe, is there something you brought back to New York and was accepted over there…
Yeah you know, every group have contributed, because they all have an infancy than they have that middle, than already when the years go by you have an establish core of graf, you know, and they all contributed over all, lets say in the US maybe it starts to die down in certain areas, by people seeing what’s going on in Europe and other places, they get hi, they go; “oh shit, look at this”, and it’s helping to spark a lot of stuff, so it’s good. I mean I didn’t know what was really going on in Europe, I meet some European guys back in the days, and I was surprised; the kind of paint they had, what they were doing, the spots, and I think: WOW! I want to see that with my own eyes, and later on I went out there and I saw and, WOW! It’s really going on up here, people doing it their own way.
Pane: when you traveled abroad the first time?
I don’t know man, maybe ’89 or ’90 already, I think I went out to Germany and maybe stop to Amsterdam (…) of course I wanted to see the graf, do some graf, do my thing, and maybe see a little bit of what was going on in there, the cities in general.
I meet those European guys in New York, and that’s how I found out, OK, there’s a all movement there and this looks cool, this guys they seem OK, they understand how to take care of business in a serous way, there’s no goofing around, that’s what we gotta do, OK looks good, lets leave; BOOM! Smooth.
The first guy I can remember was Neon, from Munich at that time, and than later on I meet Milk. I met Zebster also, around that time, but we didn’t really hang too tuff, you know, we didn’t hit it off, but that was cool, than I met other people along the way here and there, but I didn’t developed like a long term relationship right away. Later on I started meeting people through them (Neon and Milk) and traveling around my self through Europe and it was cool, and than later on, they had a lot of those Jams that where going on in Europe, and I got invited to some of those, so now I’m going and they’re taking care, so was kind of nice to go more often than you usually would, because now you’re not paying the ticket, you don’t make much money but you get to paint, and you travel, you developed relationship with the people.
Nico: how did the scene in Europe change to your eyes during the past years?
Now days it’s a all new game, not only in Europe but in the United States also, you can do a lot of stuff on-line, get your graffiti materials, all your things, everyone’s posting everything on-line; “look what I did, look what this guy did”, so you just do a piece, you don’t do nothing now, everybody put’s it everywhere even if you don’t want it. People have it a lot easier now days, you can go and get your good sprays, buy the tops, buy your magazines, buy the videos, it’s all arranged for you in a neat little package.
Nico: less underground than years ago.
You got guys that off course live on the underground do their shit and don’t give a fuck about all that, but I mean for somebody coming up, you don’t have to like do all the steps of learning the hard way a lot of stuff; I learned a lot of shit from what I saw and what I heard, I didn’t have a lot of people showing me shit, even though I met Case and whatever, I was already on my own track, I just was able to by working with him to refine more of my shit.
Shad: You think is it positive the homogenization of the styles that Internet and magazines have brought?
It happens, it’s just like if you see trains running in your city, there might be stuff there that you go like; “ho shit!” but now you’re having it in the magazines, in that way is the same thing, but it’s in a way that they can spread to the masses, a lot greater than people having to travel to somewhere to see the trains going, maybe you don’t see as much innovation and stuff.
The time it’s a big issue now too, it seems for a lot of cats doing stuff, they don’t have the time to put into stuff, we are talking about illegal activity; “I have twenty minutes, BOOM!” some guys are talking: “I seven minutes!” And getting to that point I see a lot of simplification, quick, fast, speed BOOM!