-Thanks for the opportunity, Let us know what you push and how many years you’re been in the game. Your crew has been a force down here for a long time. Being that you’re not one of the more known members, can you tell us how you got down?
Trek 6. I joined STV in 89-90, the crew had just become it’s own crew ..we used to be a crew made up of other crews. Much and Brim were old skate partners of mine and when I got to killian myself, weel33, twice, own , and Rook were trying to get down with STV ( which at the time was Boost , Brim and Much)..brim at first said no and we all formed a crew called LNV (late night vandals)..we went heavy for a moment and then brim decided since we all were hanging out anyways might as well be STV. Most of the crew was heavy on the bombing side of things..I love bombing but I was never too good at throwies and stuff but I loved doing burners and characters. I did my share of bombing but never really took it to the level everybody else was at..but my letters and characters were solid and I had no fear of doing large scale productions on my own. In 94 things in Kendall got real nasty, most of my friends from Edgewater park where I lived were all gangsters and I and most my STV brothers got caught up in that and it seemed like I was dodging a bullet every other day, friends were dropping like flies..we even started one of the first hip-hop clubs in south Florida in the grove called “The Zoo” but eventually had to shut down cause of violence. STV had migrated to Gainsville and North Florida so I felt alone and left. I traveled most the states and ended up in Puerto Rico, so while the next generation of STV was in the mainland holding it down I was in another country completely detached from the crew. I was always quiet ( a bit of an asshole too) and never really social so a lot of the guys that the Generation that is now calls old school never really got to know me because I was gone before they were even writing…But the people whom were around in the 90’s know me.
-I’ve heard stories about how tough it was out there back then. Can you go into detail about how the culture of today is in contrast to what it use to be?
It’s constantly changing, when I first started if you had beef you confronted that person in person, and there was two ways to settle it..battle or fight…but I feel over time it became less about skills and more about being the tough guy. When I left Miami in 94 it was all about fighting, shit not even fighting cause I can at least understand that to a point but straight out gunplay…I mean I had my boy Gorilla’s intestines on my shirt when he got shot…what did that resolve? Nothing..what did it accomplish nothing but the death of another human and for what? It was like everyone had a death wish, and to be honest I kind of blame some of it on hurricane Andrew. After Andrew peoples lives felt so displaced and lost that they had no compass, no reason for being and that reflected on how the dealt with others. In Puerto Rico the violence is too much 1200 homicide averaged a year on an island that is only 100 miles by 35 miles, so the graffheads over there are more likely to battle than go to gunplay because their lives are over saturated with death and violence, but then I get here from PR and things are all weird..the internet helped and hurt. People don’t really talk face to face but instead gossip and act up behind the cover of the screen. We became over sensitive, you can’t tell someone “yo, I’m not feeling that blend” without them acting a fool..on the net that is ,cause when you see them in person they act like there is no way you read that or that because it’s in the internet it’s less offensive..I don’t know, to me I try and treat people with respect both in life and virtual land, that doesn’t mean I’m soft..just real and if you battle and lose go back and get your game up and if you get beat in a one on one than take it like a man and move on.
–What is your affiliation with the Collective Project?
My wife and I created the Co11ective as a proactive retaliation to the politics of how Art Basel was being done. The idea of the locals being pushed out was wrong and so we decided we would do a show were the out of town artist would be forced to have a dialogue, paint, clean and work on a space together. This created a bond between the artist that was much more interesting the “fly’m in superstars” that were around, look I like to see all the writers from around the world here once a year..it’s dope but they should paint with you know..break bread, the opportunities should be equal but they weren’t. It felt like an invasion with a lack of respect for the local scene…and I don’t mean every out of town artist .but you know which ones were cool and which just wanted the limelight and coke. So when we created the Co11ective I had to fund most of because i didn’t have the support of the galleries and that type of stuff. it was a success, pieces sold writers met and relationships were built..which is what should be happening.
-Agree with you 100%. What do you guys have planned for this year? Are you working with any other groups to support locals ?
-Any meaning behind the “11” in there?
The number 11 typographically replaces the L in Collective but also it has to do with a proper marketing plan for artist that my wife and I came up with. We noticed that a lot of the shows featured dozens of artist, and while the show gets lot’s of press and publicity the individual artist get lost in the mix. So when we did collective we wanted to do things right, not like a street art event but just like a high brow gallery would. We minimized the amount of artist to maximize the exposure for each individual artist plus print high res catalog with bio’s and work just like you would find in the actual art basel expo.
-Why do you think Wynwood is all about non-native artists making money while locals are barely get any shine? Are you doing anything to change that?
I think the reason is we are not respected, not by artist abroad or our own local patrons. That super star factor is too much. We got people here with real skills but don’t have that status in the “ART” world which really to me is just a popularity contest.In other cities the galleries work hard at developing their artist..getting them print or in books and shows and having the produce art..that support has allowed those artist to develop styles and techniques that artist that don’t have the money ( paints and supplies and prints and printing books etc are expensive) can’t keep up with..this has hurt us. I have tried to me best abilities to create projects that highlight both local and non local together on the same playing field…and I do this year round not just Basel.Even Basel we hire people from Wynwood to help and we even had a night where we invited people from the community and their families to enjoy Co11ective VIP style…they were there first you know.
-Is Art Basel helping or hurting? Why?
Both…the politics are killing our local scene. I know it’s all about the money for the people in power but to me that’s a narrow vision. If things were done right Miami could have something special on a long term.
-Graffiti is such a vast medium with so many different interpretations. When you paint, can you try and explain what you are trying to get across with your style?
When I was younger my focus was about being the best or having the dopest style..I don’t know if it’s my age or what but now I try to focus on a bigger picture. What impact does this public work have on it’s community..I want to put out dope work that engages both the aerosol/graff heads as well as John Doe civilian.The style itself varies because i want to learn all techniques not just realism or cartoon but all the different ways I can use a spraycan..and aside from some drips all my murals are straight aerosol no stencils or stuff..
-As another artist who refuses to use stencils or other methods of cheating, I commend you… I’ve caught some guys using tape during Basel, no tape for you?
I have used tape twice in my work, but more like the way you would use it doing a block buster, and both times it failed horribly. First time I was painting a wall made of wood (25ft by 40ft) and the background was woodstainied so I need help keeping it from running. The second time was to get so tight sharp angles but after I did the line the work felt soulless so I redid it with my one eye instead. Being a purist in that way is hard when you see all these people giving Ooo’s and Ahh’s to wheat pasting and stencils and such…I mean use what you need to do what you do ,but again for me it’s about skills. On the boom box I painted with Chor Boogie from SF and he doesn’t use anything at all, so when it came time to do the speakers there was no rope or device to get that shape right..25ft circle on a beat up ladder free hand…it’s about skills and pushing your abilities.
-I hear the word mural or muralist thrown around a lot nowadays but don’t really see the overall composition. Tell us about how difficult it is to execute a full mural.
Muralism to me is dudes like diego rivera in Mexico and those old school cats that painted great public works of art, but currently if I say to a civilian graffiti it has a negative connotation..if I say to a graff head what I do is graffiti then it becomes a discussion over me not doing letters, which by the way is a stupid argument, while fundamentally correct, I do letters, I have just been feeling characters for a while..but trust me I still have mean wild styles and ill 3d letters. So the best word I can think of without using something silly like street art or urban art is Mural..but I approach a mural the same way you would a burner or production..same tools….it’s more about semantics than anything. My murals or production average in size about 25ft tall by 75 ft long and I do them by myself 80 percent of the time. I almost never have a outline or sketch, in fact I usually just have a picture or reference picture on my phone and I freestyle almost all of it. They take me about 4 to 5 days to finish and I do one that size at least once a month..thing is I don’t always paint here. I travel and have works up in PR, Hawaii and other cities in the U.S. and then I do smaller walls in between the big boys to cure the itch if you know what I mean..you get used to painting big like that..for me it’s like an endurance race..you start off strong then half way through you start doubting you can finish it or get it right but then you just keep working and pushing an eventually you reach a breaking point or a runners high that gets you through it..and this happens every time I paint but it’s really no different from a Burner or Production.
-Let switch it up here, are you into anything else besides painting that you’d like to share?
Actually it’s funny cause in Puerto Rico very few people know I paint. I studied and taught at a Art university and my little nephew (Bik Ismo) know but I was known more for a band I played in..some cutting ass shit in the early 2000 named Oruga.. i also released a bunch of IDM and Noiseart albums under a different name and toured as a bass player for an artist named Osunlade from New York.
–Miami Question: HEAT, Dolphins, Marlins, the U, or Panthers? Who are you following?
Heat..since the beginning..I even placed 3rd in a competition in the magnet schools here to design the logo for the team when they first started. Love the pace of basketball.
My favorite line up for the heat was actually the Tim Hardaway days..not cause I am comparing to the current success but it felt genuine. Miami for the most part is a man made city..the beaches are kind of artificial, the decor is art deco which is does not have any organic fundamentals and we are also known for our plastic surgery. So the idea of building super teams to me is kind of wack, when we did it with the Marlins , what did we do after the championship? break the team apart..no back bone..so while I am happy the city has the Heat to celebrate a championship ,I miss the realness of the Hardaway years.
-Give us a name of a local writer not affiliated with your crew that you think is dope. Why?
From 305..Meer. i learned characters from him and he was always pushing different styles and techniques and subject matter. He did illegal, legal everything. I felt that to ever have respect with my murals I would have to be able to be on his level. He was doing all that character stuff that popular now back then.
–What’s your opinion on what you’re seeing in 2012, related to the craft or not?
We stand at a cusp in terms of where it will go here in Miami. We are either gonna stand tuff and make them respect us, or we are gonna do what has been going on this whole time..fight each other over scraps while others come here and prosper.
Last one’s not a question. It’s a chance for you to speak. Say what’s on your mind that you would like to share with South Florida.”
If anything i want to give respect to all crews not just STV and WH but everyone that has spilled life and blood here friend or foe..but if we can’t get it together it’s gonna be for nothing..I believe in the skill and talent we have here and I know we can compete with other cities and parts of the world..this is not to say there aren’t those doing it on that level..but I would like to see the whole 305 get the respect it deserves.
Shout out to Bane RM for conducting the interview!