Miami Graffiti

May 2008
1) What do you write and what crews do you represent? - all South Florida crews.

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

The domain was acquired in 2003, shortly after the destruction of the Hialeah Penit. It was the last major Penit left from the era of the major Miami Penits (Doral, Airport, Malibu, Hialeah, Agripost, Griffin) that began coming down after 2000. I felt the need to promote and preserve Miami Graffiti after the loss of its major epi-centers because I knew things would probably change soon.

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

I moved down to Miami from Orlando in 1992, I was impressed by the North Miami bombers like GB, Crome (and the early MSG's), Siner, and 7S crew, who were destroying shit up and down I-95. Once I started going to Penits/Walls I started to respect people like DAM, FS/BSK, AIM, Tekx & Sero, GC, etc. who were really doing ill pieces and productions and pushing the Miami scene forward at the time when things were really developing. Eventually I started to make my way south of Flagler and start to recognize the mid-1990's Kendall heads like the Weve era STV's, Ster on US1, Deed on Bird. Not to say there weren't other people getting up before or after the people above, those were just the people that were doing there thing around the times I encountered certain places/areas geographically, and thus influences.

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

Hialeah Penit cause it was just so immense and charismatic. Airport is a close second just because it had a certain charm to it because it was alot smaller and more chill. When you were there painting, you were forced to deal with, talk to, observe, anyone else there at the time, so you made some connects and expanded your horizons. Hialeah was just huge as hell, so you could say whats up to someone, go do a piece, and never see them again, but its immenseness and pure urban industrialness just made it one of the dopest places to ever witness.

5) Why are you guys so picky about the info that goes with a flick?

The point of the site is to document and archive graffiti. Once its on the site and off the main page, the only way you and everyone else is going to be able to find it, is to search for it. The more text info thats attached to a picture, whether its a proper location, or a date, or just a submitter name that you know puts up good stuff, the easier it will be to find the picture. So one day when you're trying to find a flick of something to show someone, having that information on the picture will make it easier for you to find that exact picture if you know it was on a truck, or a trackside, or done in 2002. We know its a pain to fill in all the boxes, but its a one off thing, that will payoff for as long as the picture remains on the site. Spreading knowledge, art, and fame for the writer and crew who did it.

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

Due to the nature of the site, we try specifically not to play any favorites. So I'm gonna go ahead and list a pile of people just to hand out some props. First some contemporary duos: Stres & Kombs, Typoe & Murder, Cure & Msix, all doing good piecing work. They all have very clean lines, great letters and overall smooth and unique styles. I think those guys are definitely a good representation of contemporary piecers in Miami. I also definitely have some respect to give to Crome for steadily evolving styles and destroying stuff constantly, Rumor/Chisme for an insane amount of ups, Meks for repping forever, Theme for his cleanliness and colors, the list could go on. Those guys are all filling a niche of graffiti perfectly and have mastered sections of Miami street art that they'll always be legends for. Theres a pile more but i'll just stop here for the sake of neutrality.

7) Why are you guys so picky about the way picture submissions look?

You may do a production, piece, throwup or whatever. It may run for a day, a week or a month. Once its buffed, the only thing thats going to live on forever is the memory of it, and the picture taken of it. If you're just doing graffiti for the fun of the act, then why even take a picture? If you want your art to live on, then you should clearly spend as much time, effort, and money on getting a good documentation of it as possible. Because thats all that will be left eventually. So get a nice camera, take your picture in good lighting, stand directly in front of the middle of the piece, try not to use a flash. Simple things you can do, so the time you spend making your graf look dope, translates into the picture that will exist of it forever.

8) Whats the biggest problem with Toys nowadays?

Its been said a dozen times before, but I think the heart of alot of problems is a real lack of respect for the old school, the roots of the graffiti, and the rules of graffiti. I understand that kids nowadays really may not feel a connection with the 80-90's era miami graffiti, just like someone born in the 80's may not like music from the 60-70's. But you have to respect and understand the rules, systems, and styles that came about at those times, to continue on now and get respect now. Back in the day you were assigned a tag by an old school head who knew the tags of previous writers, and they assigned you something meaningful, and you respected the fact that someone of that stature had given you a tag. Nowadays kids just pick any random tag or crew abbreviation that sounds cool to them, regardless of the fact theres a crew or writer that had that name for a decade straight before them. Some advice and knowledge for you kids to ponder: First off, people need to stop listening to mindless entertainers about ways to live your lives, and start paying attention to people who know what they're talking about, and aren't just selling an image. Nobody gives a shit about your tag in some random spot nobodys ever gonna see. Once you get roped for that, you'll understand what a stupid waste of time it is. If you line somebodys shit, you straighten out your beef next chance you get. You don't get any respect for obviously spot jocking someone, or going over a superior writer. You dont write shitty ass tags in the background space inside peoples pieces or around their productions, thats just wack. You don't go over a nice production/piece by an experienced writer, with your stock tip practice session that nobody wants to see. You get fame and respect by doing dope shit, in dope places. Remember that.

9) Why didn't you accept my submission?

First and foremost its nothing personal between the site and you. We never enjoy deleting pictures, we appreciate the effort people go to, to help the site. If we delete or reject a picture its for strictly administrative reasons. Those being a violation of the rules and guidelines we've set for the site, to try and keep it useful and focused. To be more specific, pictures will be deleted if the quality of the picture is poor, theres no reason for us to keep a badly taken picture on the site. They will also be removed if information on the picture is clearly entered wrong, obvious writers not given credit, crew names abbreviated incorrectly, or just overall poorly done job of putting info with the picture. We do not have time to waste fixing stuff like that, so it will be deleted. Also, just like they dont put practice/sketches in musuems and gallerys, we are not interested in having it on the site. So if something looks like it was done on a piece of board in your backyard, or random simple stuff done in spare space at a penit or behind a shopping mall, theres no reason for us to document that because other people are not interested in seeing it. This site is about documenting good pictures of good graffiti, if you get fame from that, then so be it, but if you don't, you need to figure out what you're doing wrong and step it up. The bottom line is this: If we put every single picture of graffiti onto the site, it would be completely flooded and bloated and would no longer be interesting or useful.

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

Well, thanks to the now dying 'real estate boom' in South Florida, alot of the Penit's we knew and loved, and that kept the scene focused, have long since been knocked down and built into boring typical urban real estate. Miami really needs a revivial of the underground, energetic individualism that embodied graffiti across the city in the 90's. The 80's were great too, but it was such a small scene then, its hard to really compare it to how it blossomed in the 90's. Nowadays its all caught up in the fantasy side of hiphop and being fashionable. Jay-Z, P.Diddy, Marc Ecko, and all the fat white guys running hiphop in New York, don't need anymore money. You all need to support and buy stuff from Miami stores, by Miami brands, by other Miami artists. This scene will go nowhere if we are constantly dick-riding other cities, beefing with each other, and hating on everything else local. Ultimately graffiti is about the following: bringing awareness non-traditionally, sophisticated communication, enhancing your surroundings, being creative as hell, having fun with your boys, and creating a lasting, and hopefully aesthetically pleasing mark on the world around you. Graf has been hollywoodized by commercial fuckers like Marc Ecko and anyone trying to sell hiphop to you. That whole endless beef, graffiti fashion bullshit was never what it was about. Thats what they've sold you its about, so that you buy their products, and support their ends. Wake up South Florida. Its time to take things forward, and build on the diverse city, culture, and history we have down here.