Miami Graffiti

October 2008
1) What do you write and what crew do you represent?

Primarily Dekae One (DK, DKAE, Decay, Dekay). I still do Saint and Media pieces, as well as tributes to the pioneers of FA like Ask, Mega, Lucky Seven, & Zec. As for crews I primarily push Free Agents, & Urban Warriors these days, although I was one of the original STV founders, as well as a member of the Inkheads.

2) Where did you get your tag? Any special meaning behind it?

DK was a result of seeing Scam and Icey throw ups, Scam always did "SM" throw ups, while Icey did "IC" throw ups. I thought it was dope that Icey had the option of doing two letters that sounded the same as his whole name, while Scam's throwups could be easily confused for those of anyone with an "S" and an "M" in their name (ie., Seam, Skeme, Same, etc.). I decided to seek out a name with the same capibilities, at the time I listened to a lot of old school punk rock, and bands like "UK Decay" and "DK (Dead Kennedys)", the DK came from the names of those two bands.

3) When did you start writing and what were some of your early influences?

I was a B-Boy (or tried to be) in the early eighties, I did a lot of cardboards, blackbooks, etc. in 1983-84. I started doing actual pieces in 1985 under the names "Georgee Cee", "G-Ski", "Emerge", and "Insist", but it was mostly neighborhood stuff, behind sheds, on streets, and little beginner spots. I did all of that with Omne, and Cobalt. My early influences were my brother (who wrote "Carlos"), Biz One, Robbie D, & Mega. As I grew up and realized that there was graff outside of my neighborhood, and discovered Subway Art, it became Sar, Senik, Sneek, Klue, Seam, Glove, Dim, Ask, and above all Hec, plus Seen, and all of the NYC greats. As far as dudes I painted with, definitely Mega, Style, Seel, & Mek.

4) What was your favorite Penit/Wall and why?

The Fountainbleau Penit would have to be my favorite building, at its peak, it was like no other place. It was ridiculously scary as a kid, but you always knew you were in for an adventure. The original Coral Way "Wall Of Fame" was the best wall in Miami's history. The FA wall was seven blocks from my house, and became an easy outlet for me, although as far as impact goes, it was bullshit compared to the other two spots.

5) Is there any crazy story that sticks out in your mind from the early days?

There was a lot of violence at the FA wall, for some reason toys that had beef with us felt safe there. We honestly crashed a lot of suckers at that wall, but no one wants to read about that. The Penit however, was the site of huge rumbles, gangs like TKK and the Spanish Emperors roamed that place preying on writers. We were in there on the second floor catching tags one afternoon and saw a huge group of gangsters come in the bottom level, we started to dip towards the stairs, and at about the same time an equally impressive number of dudes came down the stairs from the third floor. We thought we were fucked, but they hadn't seen us yet. We considered jumping out the windows, but decided to run for the stairs at the other end. We got spotted by the upstairs guys, and they started chasing us, we made it to the stairs and down to the dark first floor. There was no light there, but we knew the first group was down there. We were trying to be quiet, but the upstairs dudes came down the stairs screaming and shit. Before we knew it, the lower gangsters, upper gangsters, and three fourteen year old writers (myself, Crom [from Kendall, not MSG], and Moe) were within twenty feet of each other. Apparently the two other groups were on opposite sides of the Folk vs. People Nation thing, and they went at it, in the dark, throwing rocks, bricks, and swinging pieces of re-bar. It was brutal, but we somehow escaped without a scratch.

6) Name a Miami writers work that you respect a lot (thats not in your crew/associated crews) and why?

As for old school, it's Hec from M.O.B. crew, he was a true king. But as for new guys, there's three actually; Junk, Rekal, and Typoe. Those three are by far my favorites. I like the fact that they seem to do their own thing. Typoe's piece with the cloudy "E" blew me away recently. I've watched these guys evolve through this site, and I feel they're the top dogs down there. They've got distinct styles, sick color combinations, and an ability to make their walls cohesive.

7) Any good stories about a time you got chased or busted?

The scariest story involves Seel and Mek. We were in North Miami Beach at some abandoned hotel right on the ocean, it was a TCB/ TN7 spot. We had huge beef with those guys just because they were from Broward and we were from Dade, they used to toy our stuff regularly. Seel had the bright idea to go to their spot, and do pieces. We parked next door, and got spotted sneaking in. Within minutes of entering the building we saw at least a dozen cops pull up, K-9 units, paddie wagons, and squad cars. They wasted no time bum rushing the building, we had no choice but to keep running up floors. We were literally entering the stairs at one end of the floor, and we could look back and see their flashlights, and hear the dogs coming from the opposite staircase. We got to the roof and could hear helicopters en route. Seel was a genius at both getting us in, and out of trouble. He climbed a little wall on the roof, jumped over to another wall underneath a little maintenance shed type of thing that was full of AC units, water heaters, and electrical breakers. We climbed up into the shed, and pushed either an AC unit, or water heater over the opening. We laid down on it, over the opening. We could hear the dogs on the rooftop, as well as feel the cops pushing up on whatever it was we were laying on. To their credit, Seel and Mek were calm, I was a complete quivering bitch. I thought we were going to get beaten to death, eaten by K-9 units, and thrown off the roof. They talked me into acting like a man, and we stayed in that hole well into the next day. We eventually climbed out, and snuck out onto the beach trying to blend in with the sun bathers.

8) Whats the biggest problem with Toys nowadays?

I hate to say it, but the internet. Kids literally cut and paste style. There's no such thing as mentors, and apprentices anymore. There is also less distinction between cities stylistically. You used to be able to tell where a kid was from based on his/her style. That's gone, it's been replaced by internet forum gangsters. It's weak, and disgusting.

9) Tell us about the beggining and history of FA crew?

Sorry if this gets long, there's 23 years worth of crew history.

The Free Agents (FA) Crew was started in 1985 somewhere between Washington DC, and Miami by Glove (aka Lucky Seven/Beer). According to Glove (who started his graff career in Miami as the founder of the legendary ATBO crew before attending college in the Washington DC area), the "Free Agents" name came from a hockey team in the D.C. area. Glove used to travel between D.C. and Miami and push FA in both cities. Glove recruited SMK, Cha, Mesk, & Siek in D.C., and Mega, Zec, Risk, Ask, Kae, Bones, Saint, Miner, and myself handled Miami. The dope thing about the crew was that unlike the hip-hop based graff crews, we were all skaters, and punk rock kids.

In 1988 Glove & Mega started VS (Visual Systems), and I took over FA. I added Omne, Style, Scoope, Lep, Crom, and Raven. I got kicked out of Sunset Senior High and was sent to Macarthur South, at that time it was a gladiator school. It was what you would expect out of the worst kids in Dade County, a lot of writers and gangsters. I met Seel, Skee, 2Bad, and Mace there. School became a place to plot, or better yet, listen to Seel plot. FA united with the AIM crew, and I feel we rocked every facet of the graff game from street bombing, throw ups, silvers, illegals, to huge legals. The AIM-FA partnership eventually evolved into the AIM-FA-RA partnership, which led to the AIM-FA-RA-WBB partnership. Recognizing that four crews was simply too much to write, we formed STV. In theory, we were supposed to put up our primary crew, plus STV, which represented the other three crews (ie. FA-STV actually meant FA-AIM-RA-WBB). In addition to the members of the four crews, STV included two individual writers Bekay & DS both from NYC. It's funny because I'm not sure at what point STV became its own thing, but those dudes have kept it going for a long time now.

In 1990 with the help of EDEC, we united with the Urban Warriors (UW) out of The Bronx. The UW partnership led to a huge NYC presence for us, which was unheard of for Miami writers (outside of Dash) until that point. We also added King Bee, Jew, and Merk.

In the mid-nineties, we partnered with Jacksonville Florida’s CTC Crew (Color The City), and expanded once again by accepting Rezen, Slue, Kes, Smaze, and Ceaze.

In addition to partnering with crews, the crew itself was rapidly expanding. Raven started a Providence, RI subset (where he was attending college) with WizArt, Caesar, and Vase. In 1990 I moved away for college (Savannah, GA) and expanded the crew to involve Ease (who was attending the same school), Ganz (from NJ), Cere and Raze (Savannah), Dask (Ft. Lauderdale), Maz (Panama), & Joice (Germany). I was travelling up and down the East Coast painting in all of the major cities and I met a lot of cool kids along the way. I recruited Esher (Philly), Rogue (Pittsburgh), & Kemos (NJ) on the East, and King 157 on the West when Miner moved to the Bay area.

In 1993 we were killing shit all up and down the East Coast, and we started the InkHeads thing. It was almost all FA guys (Ease, Rage, Raven, Shie, and myself) plus Dash, and Edec. It's funny looking back, because when I lived in Miami, I had beef with just about everyone in that crew except for Raven and Rage.

The last 15 years have been pretty much the same thing, a lot of painting, and a lot of travel. I'm just an old man now, I'm 36 with a wife and two kids, so I've slowed down a good bit. I'm in Atlanta, but try to paint at least twice a month.

Their have been over 100 members in FA. Outside of Miami, we've recruited in Orlando, Jacksonville & Tallahassee FL, Washington D.C., Atlanta & Savannah GA, Providence RI, NYC, New Jersey, Pittsburgh & Philly PA, Baltimore & Bethesda MD, Boston, San Jose, San Francisco & Los Angeles CA, Phoenix AZ, Panama Central America, and Berlin Germany. In the 23-year history of the FA crew, we've done pieces in Panama, Colombia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Europe & over half the states in the US.

I'm proud of the fact that we're still relevant.

10) What do you think of the Graf Scene in South Florida and Where do you think its headed?

Thanks to your site, jams like the True Elements event, and the new kids that I mentioned before, it seems to be on the upswing. The only downside is the beef down there. I can't really say shit because I was a beefing bastard back in the day, but in comparison to the other cities I've hit, Miami just seems to be worse about dwelling on old bullshit forever. There are still dudes down there that hate me over shit like "Your throw up went over my tag in 1989". I don't have the time or patience for that garbage anymore.

The ego thing is necessary for graff, but at the same time, dudes need to be humble enough to get schooled by more knowledgeable writers. The whole mentor system is gone, as a result the new kids don't learn shit properly. It was common back in the day for more experienced members in your crew to do your outlines, pick your colors, and even do your first and final outlines on the wall. Coming up, Mek, Mega, Style, and Doze all helped me out. All those dudes can take credit for my earlier pieces. I still respect that system, and I think its loss has hurt the talent level in graff as a whole. Regardless, there's a lot of talent down there, I always look for new kids to push the crew. The last dudes I put down in Miami were Rear, Cove, and Memz about ten years ago. I guess I need to get down there more often to recruit.

On a final note, my albums were all stolen in 1993. If anyone has good clean shots (or any shots for that matter) of the "Dekay Meer" at McMillan with the fish tank fill ins, or the Dekay Meer in the Fountainbleu penit with the pencil character, or the DK (Psycho Candy) from the Coral Way wall of fame, or the "Colombia" off of Miller and 142nd Ave. by Carlos and Baby (early eighties, possibly 1982-85ish) I would gladly pay money for the flix. I've recovered a lot of stuff over the years, but those have eluded me thus far. It sucks that there's so much of my early stuff missing, I would really like to recover it. Hell for that matter, the "Georgee Cee" with the octopus character, the "AD" (Almost Done) with Omne, or any old Emerge, Insist, or G-Ski flicks would be great to recover. Please let me know, I'll pay cash.

Dekae has uploaded some flicks to go along with this interview of some of his productions from around the world:

Dekay Harlem Wall of fame 1990

Dekay Bronx Hall of Fame 1990

DK Free Agent 8th St. & 122 Ave., Miami, FL 1991

DK Mesk Philly, PA 1991

"Miami Funk" By Ese & DK Harlem Wall Of Fame, NY 1992

Dekay Savannah, GA 1993

Dekay Bronx, NY 1994

Dekay One Panama, Central America 1994

DK Maz Jacksonville, FL 1995

Dekae Salt Jacksonville, FL 1995

DK Bronx, NY 1995

DK Patterson, NJ "Graffittiathon event" 1995

Doze By Dekae Savannah, GA 1995

DK Savannah, GA 1995

DK Washington DC 1996

DK Medellin, Colombia 1996

DK FA Medellin, Colombia 1996

Mega by Dekae Savannah, GA 1997

Saint By Dekae Savannah, GA 1997

Dekae Savannah, GA 2002-3

Saint By Dekae Savannah, GA 2004