Giant – 20 Questions

L-L: What crew(s) do you paint for and what are the underlying meanings of the acronym(s)?
GIANT: BA – Burning America – is the only crew I push seriously. I’m also down with BOM – Brothers of Metal.
L-L: Where are you from and/or where did you start?
GIANT: I started writing in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1989.
L-L: Who influenced you the most coming up?
GIANT: Doc and Agree. They schooled me in almost all aspects of being a graffiti writer. See: http://www.graffiti.org/giant/mentors.html
L-L: How long have you been active?
GIANT: Over 10 years. I took most of ’99 off to concentrate on tattooing.
L-L: What is your favorite surface to paint and why?
GIANT: Smooth concrete, with a good coat of latex paint as a base. That’s just the best surface to work on.
L-L: Have you ever traveled outside the US to paint?
GIANT: Yes, I painted in and around London a bunch when I lived there in ’98. I also got to paint in Japan in ’97 when I was on tour with Tribal Gear.
L-L: Have you had any run-ins with johnny law for graffiti?
GIANT: I got arrested once in Albuquerque in ’92. I was painting under a bridge during the day and just got caught red-handed. I did 75 hours community service, picking up trash on the freeway with serious felons.
L-L: What do you think about the documentation of graffiti on the web?
GIANT: I think it’s a great resource for exchanging the work we do. It’s helped make graffiti writing a worldwide phenomenon.
L-L: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
GIANT: Probably doing the same stuff, with the addition of a family.
L-L: What is your current occupation?
GIANT: I make tattoos, that’s about 90% of my income.
L-L: Which do you prefer doing, black or colored ink work?
GIANT: I like making tattoos. I don’t think I prefer one style over another. I let the client decide how it works out.
L-L: Do you consider graff a part of your lifestyle or just a hobby?
GIANT: It’s definately a lifestyle. It affects how I think, so it’s much more than just a hooby.
L-L: What area of graff is your strongest?
GIANT: I try to be really well rounded. I’d definitely say I’m known more for clean wildstyle pieces, but I love throw-ups, tags, and simple styles equally. It’s all graffiti, and it’s all important.
L-L: What is your biggest graffiti related accomplishment?
GIANT: I don’t know. I just keep doing graffiti because it’s fun. I don’t really have a goal in mind. I’ll just quit when it isn’t fun anymore.
L-L: Do you think using brushes/markers/rollers/wheat paste takes away from the original concept?
GIANT: No. To me, as long as you’re putting stuff out there without permission, you’re doing it right.
L-L: Was there ever any static between you and Shepard Fairey?
GIANT: Not really. We started around the same time, so when we finally heard about each other, we were pretty established in our own styles. I like the stuff Shepard does. It gets on my nerves a little when kids think I put up the “Andre the Giant” stuff, but I’m sure he gets his share of confusion too.
L-L: Do you see a difference in East/West coast graffiti?
GIANT: Subtle differences, but in the big picture we’re all doing the same thing, no matter where you are.
L-L: Any productions planned in the near future? if so, with who?
GIANT: I don’t plan productions anymore. I’m pretty happy painting by myself. If the crew hooks up a big wall and wants me to get down with it, I’ll hook it up. But it’s not something I seek out anymore.
L-L: San Francisco is a fabulous place but, if you ever moved from there, anyideas of where you would go?
GIANT: Well, I’m planning on moving to Oakland soon. I’d like to live in Amsterdam for a little while to check that out.
L-L: Your favorite web-site?
GIANT: I’d have to say Art Crimes. I still dig around on there a little every month. I also spend too much time on thehun.net. What’s the internet without free porn?

SB1 – 20 Questions

1. What crew(s) do you paint for and what are the underlying meanings of the acronym(s)?
SB1: Network (no acronym) FS (freight Slayers) UCA (Under Cover Agents) CRE (Catch Reck Everywhere) AMF (Action Makes Fame).
2. Where are you from and/or where did you start?
SB1: Originally I’m from Brooklyn NY, I moved here in 89 and definitely consider myself an Atlanta writer because I’ve done most of my shit since I’ve been here.
3. Who influenced you the most coming up?
SB1: Mainly writers from the NY subways in the years between 1983 and 1989. Its hard to say exactly who, but my favorite writer is Sent from NY. He is without question a style master general.
4. How long have you been active?
SB1: Well since the freights are the only thing that really counts I’ll say 12 years. I started hitting freights in 1988, but didn’t really take it seriously until 1992 and I’ve been more or less active since then.
5. What is your favorite surface to paint and why?
SB1: Steel, Over all else. That’s all I’ve really painted. Walls are cool to socialize, I do them on occasion, but steel is where its at for me. That’s the only thing I’ll risk my freedom for. I could go on for days about why but I’ll just say train pieces last longer and they travel further.
6. Do you rock with stocks or custom tips?
SB1: Stock and fats, that’s what I learned with and that’s all I know how to use. I’m kind of stuck in my ways.
7. Any insight on the new school attitude/style?
SB1: Well I consider myself part of the new school. A lot of kids who have been writing 5 years call themselves old school. Old school to me is writers from the 1960’s and 70’s. I like the current generation. I think kids don’t stick with it very long these days though. Most kids don’t write for more than 3 years, and that’s sad. I wish kids stayed in the game longer. As far as style if its original it’s fresh to me. Like there can’t be a hundred Totems, only one ya know. A lot of newer writers jump right into the complex stuff, the colors the characters and never really develop the fundamentals. The hand style, the thro-up, the bombing. I don’t mean to sound judgmental though, its just an observation.
8. What’s your outlook on the current ATL scene?
SB1: I’ve always liked the Atlanta scene. Like I said I consider myself an Atlanta writer. I think people expect it to be some kind of Utopia, but what city has a perfect scene. I really dig the fact that a lot of kids are hitting metal now. Yeah the politics and the drama sucks, but I’m glad with what we have.
9. In your opinion, who’s the hottest writer in Atlanta today?
SB1: Oh man thats a tuff one. Outside of my own crew(s): Dizo, I like his shit a lot. He’s killed shit and he has a very original style, TNA crew, they are the kings of coal cars, Hense, Humble, Hear, Totem, UAA crew, really anyone who’s name I see on trains often is Hot to me.
10. Any particular person or people you love painting with?
SB1: Honestly I’m kind of an asshole in this sense but I really only like to paint with my crewmates because we understand each other. Daks is my partner to the heart. Lern, Save, Leon, Brayne, I really used to enjoy painting with Chase. I’ll paint with anyone who is as methodical about the mission as I am. People who know how to scope shit out right, people who know how to react in a raid before its too late, people who know how not to make a lot of noise and not tag all over the lay-up (that’s a pet peav of mine).
11. Have you ever traveled outside the US to paint?
SB1: Nah, not to paint. But Id like to go to Amsterdam for the Cannabis cup though, and maybe rock some freights over there.
12. Have you had any run-ins with the law for graffiti?
SB1: Of course, but knock on wood I’ve never been bagged. I’ve been in 4 raids, two of which were pretty intense. I’ve always managed to slip away, even when other kids I was with got caught. It is the result of being extra anal about missions. I’m not saying I’m invincible , I just take it a lil more serious than the average writer, and that has paid off for me.
13. What do you think about the documentation of graffiti on the web?
SB1: I think its great. Even though I get bored with it sometimes. I like the freight message board most of all. What I think is of utmost importance is the fact that writers are responsible for the abundance of web documented graffiti. Whereas in the past graffiti media was always controlled by people who didn’t write, and it has given newer generations a somewhat distorted view of the way things were. Writers will always tell a more accurate story because we are living it. In a thousand years all these websites will be in some database for future generations to research, so that’s a good thing.
14. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
SB1: Still painting, still benching, still streaking just like I was 10 years ago.
15. What is your current occupation?
SB1: I’m a jack of all trades.
16. Do you consider graff a part of your lifestyle or just a hobby?
SB1: This is definitely life. Maybe for the first couple of years it was a hobby, but since like 85 when I started taking/collecting fliks its been, my culture, my religion, and my life. I mean my family is always first but train graffiti is always second.
17. What area of graff is your strongest?
SB1: Speed. My aim was obviously never to be the freshest, just to be able to get in and get out of a spot quickly and undetected. Like a Stealth Bomber*.
18. If there was one spot anywhere in the country you could hit without getting bagged, where would it be and why?
SB1: Marta Trains, just because its never been done. I’ll never do it though. When I risk my freedom its gotta be for something that’s gonna last.
19. Do you think using brushes/markers/rollers/wheat paste takes away from the original concept?
SB1: Yeah I think it does to a degree. But putting my personal opinion aside it is progression and adds variety to the game. Me personally I use aerosol exclusively I’m kind of thick in the head about that. But I like seeing different shit in the street.
20. President in 2000?
SB1: I think its high time for a female president, a fine one. Id like to see Toni Braxton or Jennifer Lopez address the nation in a bikini.

Con – 20 Questions

1. What crew(s) do you paint for and who put
you down?
CON: My crews are BA, FU, FGS, and NSF. BA is my original crew that Jase put me down with in Baltimore. FU and FGS are my LA crews that Big5 and Apart put me in respectively when I lived out there. NSF represents Pittsburg and Philly and I was just put down by my boy Necs this year.
2. Where are you from and/or where did you start?
CON: Started in Baltimore. Lived in LA for a bit. I’m in DC now.
3. Who influenced you the most coming up?
CON: All the old Baltimore heads were my greatest influence. I really didn’t start doing pieces until the year before I left for LA. Since I was really starting to develop my style, I picked up on a lot of stuff when I was on the west coast. But I’d say NY styles influence me nowadays.
4. How long have you been active?
CON: I started in late 93. Was a street bomber with my boy Super for 2 steady years. Started doing characters and eventually doing pieces. But I haven’t slowed a bit. Just focused in different directions.
5. What is your favorite surface to paint?
CON: Metal. Since the beginning, I was put onto freights. Me, Super and Resk started a crew called CSX when we started. It was our fr8 crew that eventually took over the scene in Baltimore back in 94-95. Baltimore has an incredible fr8 scene though. You’re missing the point if you’re not doing trains.
6. What is your preferred brand of paint?
CON: Rustoleum. And Groco which is now American brand I believe. It was a brand you’d get for $.50 at swap meets in LA. They had great colors and it’s super thick.
7. What are some nice color schemes you’ve used lately?
CON: Cinnamon/Raspberry/Indian Spice fill, Violet/Black 3-ds with Grape highlights, Sunset Orange outline, Teal green border.
8. Any particular person or people you love painting with?
CON: Anyone who has heart for fr8s and quality pieces are my favorite people to paint with. Actually anyone who can get super faded and pull off a slick piece or ill spot – those are my boys.
9. Have you ever traveled outside the US to paint?
CON: Nope. My rule of thumb has been to hit the US first and then move on to other countries. I’ve gotten almost every major city under my belt except for the northwest and chicago.
10. Have you had any run-ins with the law for graffiti?
CON: Tons. Been charged with multiple felonies but never convicted. We have a good BA crew lawyer we use if problems like this arise. My most recent time I got popped was in the South Bronx for benching in a fr8 yard. Spent a few hours in jail but we got off. They thought we were breaking into trains. The cops that booked us were surprisingly cool about it. My boy Zine BFK asked if the cops would take a flick of us in the cell on his camera. One of the cops was gonna get in the cell with us for the photo shoot, but changed his mind. So we now have flicks of us locked up in this ill ass cell in the South Bronx. It was pretty funny. I could go on about chase/cop run-ins, but that would be a long interview.
11. What do you think about the documentation of graffiti on the web?
CON: I think it’s cool. It’s a natural progression. It’s a great way to see what’s going on in other parts of the country or the world without as much bias you’d find in a mag because anyone can make a site. Plus it gives me something to do at work.
12. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
CON: Dunno. I take each day as it comes.
13. What is your current occupation?
CON: Web programmer/animator.
14. Do you consider graff a part of your lifestyle or just a hobby?
CON: Definitely a lifestyle. I spend way too much money on it. I fly from coast to coast multiple times a year just to paint. It’s a problem.
15. What area of graff is your strongest?
CON: Freight pieces. I can rock a mean character if I need too. Love doing Simpson characters.
16. What’s the current D.C./Baltimore graff scene like?
CON: Baltimore is hot right now! So many kids are out bombing the streets like no other time in the city’s history. Same with the freight scene. DC on the other hand is kinda quiet at the moment. And the freights are non-existant except for the handful of us killing them. It’s kinda nice because there’s no toys blowing it up.
17. Do you do most of your steel in yards or lay-ups?
CON: In Baltimore I hit secret lay-ups and the yard on the occasion. Too many kids burned out our spots so we got new ones. In DC I got a yard to myself.
18. If there was one spot you could hit without getting bagged, where would it be and why?
CON: It’s still in the plans so I’m keeping this one on the dl…
19. Do you think using brushes/markers/rollers/wheat paste takes away from the original concept?
CON: Nope. I think any tool is game for getting your name out there.
20. Where can people find out more about you?
CON: https://www.conoperative.com/

Joker BA IHU – 20 Questions

1. What crews do you paint for and what are theunderlying meanings of the acronyms?
JOKER: The collective Transcend… look it up, IHU… I Hate You,BA… Burning America and WOW… Weapons of War.
2. Where are you from and/or where did you start?
JOKER: I’m from the Virginia/D.C. area and I started in the summer of

1985… in Reston, Virginia to be exact.
3. Who influenced you the most coming up?
JOKER: Etch (who originally wrote Joker) taught me just about everything I needed to know to get started. He also showed me how to do letter connections and characters. As time went on, in those first few years, I became very influenced by T-Kid, Mack and Bio.
4. How long have you been active?
JOKER: About 15 years.
5. Do you see a difference between West and East coast graffiti?
JOKER: When I first came out to the west I noticed a severe difference in styles and hands. I think it was a really good experience for me as far as learning diversity. These last five or six years though have been more about the states as a whole and not just the East and the West. There’s some phenomenal stuff coming out of the rest of the nation.
6. What is your favorite surface to paint?
JOKER: I’m particular to concrete, but love hitting steel, too.
7. What is your preferred brand of paint?
JOKER: Rusto. But I’m a sucker for Clover green and Dove gray.
8. What are some nice color schemes you’ve recently used?
JOKER: I always seem to stick with the greens and purples… I don’t know why. I just like ’em. I did do a piece not too long ago with a variance in gray’s and hint of pistachio and meadow green. The outcome was pretty nice, but I got horrible photos. The piece itself wasn’t that great, anyway. I think “Cloud Cover” has a good photo of it on their web site.
9. Any particular person or people you love painting with?
JOKER: Nah… not really. I mean I like painting with friends, but it doesn’t really matter. I’ll paint with whoever… I just like to paint.
10. Have you ever traveled outside the U.S. to paint?
JOKER: I’ve been to Tokyo, Hamburg and London… in London I did the silliest piece, but at least got to paint with a good friend. That was more important.
11. Have you had any graffiti related encounters with the police?
JOKER: Unfortunately. I guess this is where I’m suppose to glorify a chase scene or something… nobody likes to have run-ins with the police. And those who get caught hate it even more.
12. What do you think about the new era of writers coming from middle to upper class backgrounds?
JOKER: Whatever’s clever. I wasn’t aware that graffiti was structured for lower to poor class backgrounds.
13. Do you have any advice for new writers on the process of laying down a piece?
JOKER: Practice before you go to the wall. Believe me… it’ll make all the difference.
14. Have you ever had beef with someone for disrespecting you art?
JOKER: Yeah, and I hope to never have to deal with that kind of ugliness again…
15. What do you think about the documentation of graffiti on the web?
JOKER: It’s definitely a neat tool. It’s out there for everyone and I’m not sure yet if that’s a good or bad thing. I like being able to see what’s going on in another part of the world with the click of a button. And the communication is awesome, and scary.
16. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
JOKER: I think I’ll still be painting, but maybe not as much. Graffiti is a hard habit to break.
17. What is your biggest graffiti related accomplishment.
JOKER: Progression.
18. What is your current occupation?
JOKER: Grunt worker for a big retailer… it’s a lame job, but I’m somewhat ambitionless.
19. Can you elaborate on your abstract style? Did you give it a name?
JOKER: The style I do isn’t all that original. I mean it may be definitively mine, but others long ago were doing styles that were inspirational. I had been doing the same stuff for so long, and it just got to me one day. I had to make a change. I’m not sure where it comes from or how I got about it, but for the most part it feels right. I feel like it’s what I should be doing. I do wish I were a little more patient with the painting process of it, but that’s okay. I’m not too pressured to speed myself up. I have a lot of ideas and I sketch them all down, but most of them are just ideas. Nothing I would really put up, but it’s part of the process. I don’t have a name for it… people keep telling me I’m on “some next level shit”… so maybe I should call it that.
20. Where can people find out more about you?
JOKER: https://www.flickr.com/photos/joker_transcend/

Totem2 – 20 Questions

1. What do you write and who for?
TOTEM2: Totem2, TATS Cru, 3A, GSK, DotCom, Hoodat, BurnUnit…
2. Where are you from and where did you start?
TOTEM2: Atlanta…
3. Who influenced you the most coming up?
TOTEM2: Jaz, Sense431, Haze, Noah, Case, and Notch…
4. How long have you been active?
TOTEM2: I started in ’91, this is my ninth year…
5. How did you get introduced to your crew(s)?
TOTEM2: Just painting with heads all up and down the east coast…
6. What is your favorite surface to paint on and why?
TOTEM2: Rusty rolling steel…and gritty cinder block…
7. What are some hot colors or schemes you’ve recently used?
TOTEM2: I’m not sure of the names but any Montana color burns, my favorite color is Belton purple velvet…
8. Any productions planned in the near future? If so, with who?
TOTEM2: Nothing planned yet, but I’m always open…
9. Any particular person or people you love to paint with?
TOTEM2: I’m down to paint with anyone who keeps a positive attitude and doesn’t get caught up in that ignorant shit…but I would say my main men Hesk, Nerv, those dirty duo Kem5 and Ges, Nicer, BG183, Bio are crazy fun…
10. Have you ever traveled outside the US to paint?
TOTEM2: I’ve been to Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Amsterdam, and the Philipines…
11. Have you had any run-ins with Johnny Law concerning graff?
TOTEM2: Nah man I run fast, but I had to kick a rail worker in the face once, it was a pretty bugged out situation…
12. What do you think of the present day graff scene in Atlanta?
TOTEM2: I think that people tend to hype shit up that they shouldn’t, and cling to things that they feel safe doing because they know that it is accepted, and forget that graff is about self expression, not just putting up your name. Also people tend to be negative where negativity is not needed, when you can simply stop and control yourself and think about the situation, you might avoid a big mess….
13. Do you think attitudes about graffiti vary from city to city, region to region?
TOTEM2: Different cities is tight, attitudes…see question #12. I haven’t been out west yet but the scene looks fresh…
14. Have you ever had beef with someone for disrespecting your art?
TOTEM2: Yeah this kid Yores, he’s a muthafucka…aside from him…nope…
15. What do you think about the documentation of graffiti on the web?
TOTEM2: It’s cool you can see what people are doing outside of your city, but there’s an excess amount of trash talking…I’m known to solve problems by talking it out first or the occasional headcracking…
16. Where do you think graff is heading in the new millennium?
TOTEM2: Hmm who knows. I hope somewhere good…
17. What is your biggest graffiti related accomplishment?
TOTEM2: #4 Line NYC train, and #2 Line German DB train. I love burning steel…
18. What is your current occupation?
TOTEM2: Martial Arts instructor, B-boying instructor…
19. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
TOTEM2: Hopefully still rocking, hopefully still have control of my bowels…I don’t wear my mask enough…
20. Has your reason for painting changed over the years?
TOTEM2: Nah it’s still about fun, when the fun stops it won’t be the same game.

Can2 – 20 Questions

1. What do you write and who for?
CAN2: I’m writing the name CAN2 since 1986, after all those years it’s still a hobby for me and I’ve never takin’ it TOO serious…I just have my fun with it…

2. Where are you from and where did you start?
CAN2: I’m from Mainz/Germany and I also started here…

3. Who influenced you the most coming up?
CAN2: The one I got most influenced by is SEEN, but also a lot of other old school N.Y. artists…

4. How long have you been active?
CAN2: I’m 29 years and I’m active since I was 13 years (1983)…

5. How did you get introduced to your crew(s)?
CAN2: I was in a lot of crews during my career, but soon I got tired of all and founded my own crew (STICK UP KIDS). We are all friends in that crew, regardless of how famous each member is, that’s very important to me. 1999 SEEN got me into UA, which is a real big deal for me…

6. What is your favorite surface to paint on?
CAN2: Anything is good if the colors cover…

7. What are some hot colors or schemes you’ve recently used?
CAN2: I use BELTON, MULTONA and MONTANA. 1997 I chose some colors myself which BELTON filled into Cans…they’re called OXYGEN COLORS…and I really love the Creamblue and the Menthol…

8. Any productions planned in the near future? If so, with who?
CAN2: I’m invited to Portugal at the 26. Jan., but there’s no big production planned…maybe in the summertime…

9. Do you see any difference in European graff and American graff?
CAN2: To say it real short, America got the skills and the roots, but Europe got the better colors and the better technique… but please don’t take this personal everybody…

10. When is your next visit to the states?
CAN2: I’ll be in Las Vegas for the trade show in September this year and after that San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose…strictly a Westcoast holiday…

11. Have you had any run-ins with the law concerning graff?
CAN2: They once caught me taken pics of a “GEPSY” pieces on a train…that’s it…

12. What do you think about the new era of writers coming from middle to upper class backgrounds?
CAN2: To be honest, I’ve lost my view on the scene a long time ago…too much people doing too much Graffiti…and I see a lot of Bullshit in some Magazines…but there are some talented writers in between which let’s me hope… x

13. Do you have any advice for up and coming writers?
CAN2: Learn the history of Writing before you grab a can…

14. What do you think about the documentation of graffiti on the web?
CAN2: That’s very good…people get informed really quick about what’s going on in the world of Graff…

15. Where do you think graff is heading in the new millennium?
CAN2: A lot of new laws, a lot of wasted money by the government and the scene will get more underground again…

16. What is your biggest graffiti related accomplishment?
CAN2: The foundation of a good crew with good people (as humans, not as writers) and being a member of UA…and all the pics I gave for “On the Run” issue one…

17. What is your current occupation?
CAN2: I’m working at a print company and be responsible for all the graphics and the layout and Design of the websites we’re doing…

18: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
CAN2: Still doing Graff, some Kids who do Graff too, and a real nice woman…

19. Has your reason for painting changed over the years?
CAN2: I’m still doing it for the fun of it…

20. Where can people find out more about you?
CAN2: www.cantwo.de

Mike Giant – Interview 1996

@mediaexplosion spent a lot of time with pre-tattooed Mike Giant in the late 90’s working on a graffiti documentary, which was never widely released.This was filmed in San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles. It features stills, doodles, stickers from Mike’s sketchbooks, some classic skateboard graphics, live painting with Persue in SD, collabs with Felon and Sope in SF. And a couple shots of Giant’s beef with Kept. The main interview was filmed during a wander through SF Chinatown, after a long night hallucinating at a rave. SF was a graffiti wonderland at the time and there are background pieces from legends like Twist, KR, Rem, Bles and a bunch more if you keep your eyes peeled.