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How did you get involved with graffiti?

I got involved with Graffiti very young. I got my tag in 1988 from SHOW MSD. I was 10 years old. He lived in Bushwick (NOT the Bushwick of today…the crazy Bushwick of the late 80’s and early 90’s…where you didn’t see white people and hipster hangouts…lol) Every block had drug spots, abandoned lots and houses, and crazy fiends and gangstas everywhere. My older cousin brought me to SHOW’s house for a blackbook session one night. That was the first time I ever saw people smoke weed. Honestly, I didn’t even know what it was. Lol. While I was there ASP WTO came by. After taking his pulls off the blunt he passed it to me. SHOW got mad and stopped him, saying I was just a kid. Then SHOW asked me what I wrote. I had a corny 6 letter tag. He laughed and said, “you can’t write that if you’re gonna bomb. There’s too many letters…you’ll get caught.” So he came up with the tag GIZ. I’ve been GIZ ever since. That night he did a GIZ piece for me in my blackbook on the cover with a 1988. That’s how I know what year it was. First thing I ever wrote on was an inside on a train with my cousin in 1988. I’m not sure which train it was, but it was in Manhattan. My older cousin, TR used to take me and ride the trains to look at graff. We would ride the first car and peep the tunnels too. While we were riding, he pulled out a mop and told me to cop a tag. I did, even though there were mad people on the train. I remember the feeling of rush I got from it. The adrenaline got me hooked. I started going out on my own to the train stations with other writers from my hood. We would ride the train and cop tags on all the stations on the M Line. Stations used to be bombed hard. I used to stand on my friends shoulders to get high spots. Lol. I loved the high spots. The M Line stations were one of the last to get cleaned up in the city. I used to cop tags here and there on the trains

Is graffiti more about bombing or doing wildstyle burners for you?

BOMBING! Although I do pieces, I get so much more satisfaction from a simple fillin than I do from a piece.

What makes a good piece?

I think many things. Style, letter form, creativity and originality. But most important is it has to have graff style in it. That’s just my opinion.

What would be your perfect day?

Winning the lotto.

If you could change something in graffiti, what would it be?

I think there are a lot of people that don’t know the real deal about graff. Today Instagram has become the new form of fame. There’s also a big grey area forming between street art and graff. The big difference between real graffiti and what I call ‘art/gallery graffiti’ and street art is that real graffiti writers are out there risking their lives in most cases. They don’t get paid. They risk arrest, fighting, injury, etc…. for nothing more than fame and respect. They have to steal paint because when you bomb (really bomb) you can’t buy shit. You wouldn’t be able to afford it. When I was bombing in the early to mid 90’s, Me VE and SN would each burn through 20 cans every night we went out. When you go bombing 5-6 nights a week that’s a lot of paint! That meant a lot of racking during the day…bombing at night…partying hard…and school mixed in somewhere. Lol. We would take the trains all over NYC, sometimes carrying a 25 foot ladder with us for high spots. LOL. You couldn’t do that today. NYC is a different place now. The old school NY flavor is GONE. L Getting up was a lot of work, especially street bombing! NYC is a big place and you got a lot of ground to cover to become king. And if you’re not trying to become king, then what’s the point? There are so many risks involved with illegal graff. I guess that makes it one of the rawest forms of art because there’s a passion that real graff writers have that is rare. It’s a lifestyle that most people don’t, and will NEVER understand. Graffiti writer’s that never earned street credit know nothing about that…. maybe they just heard about it. They might be very talented, but never risked anything. I think writers that have street credit and do the gallery thing should get more respect…that’s just my opinion. Not hating on anyone.

Is it more important to get up in your own city or to travel and do as many different systems as you can?

Graff has definitely developed into a worldwide phenomenon. I think getting up all over the world if you can is the move.

How is the scene like in New York these days?


Can you be active and still have a normal life?

NO It’s one or the other. Being active is a full time job. No room for anything else when you’re ‘really’ active.

Any good stories that you can share?

There’s so many stories. One that just came to mind was kinda funny. I was with VE, Desa, and I forgot who else. We went to do streets under the 3 and 4 trains in Brooklyn. I think it was 1993, maybe 94. We were driving around feeling the place out when we got caught at a red light. A very young black kid on an undersized BMX bike pulled up in front of the car and stopped. He stared at us for a while. Then he pulled out a gun from his jacket and started shooting it into the air. We all looked at each other and were like, ok…this is a good spot. Lol. So we parked, got out and did fillins. We figured if you could shoot a gun and nobody cared, it’s definitely safe to bomb.

Plans for the future?

I just love to paint. It’s my stress relieve valve. As long as I paint, with friends and have fun, and it comes from the heart, I’m happy.

Any final words? Shoutouts?

XIST VE DG ASP and all the fallen friends

more pics here

2 thoughts on “GIZ RIS INTERVIEW

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