Miami Graffiti

July 2007
1) What do you write and what crews do you represent?

Wies - FS GPK KMD (I quit writing in 1994, but my crews are still brothers and family)

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

My cousin in Brooklyn came up with it for me, so I rolled with it. The letter choices and combinations were dope and easy to rock. It also was a flip on "Wise", because I was always the laid back thinking cat and ready to be sparking up the knowledge on the street and late night black book ciphers. While cats were talking bullshit I'd flip the cipher with comments on politics, globalization, religion, ancient civilization, cops and the rest of the military industrial complex. But mainly I'd just sit back and chill, that was Wies.

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

That shit was around me like air, therefore a part of me since I could remember. Since around 3rd grade kids in my elementary school were b-boying and writing. We were kids, we just copied what the older cats were doing, like everyone else does. Every Friday, if we behaved, we could use the stage for breaking in the cafeteria, while every chance we got we'd be drawing our wack little bubble letters and blockbusters which moved into more complex pieces with arrows and whatnot. I wouldn't say I was a real writer until I was 16 and actually stopped just racking markers and it turned into racking paint and thinking about getting up on rooftops and piecing instead of just books and people's gear. I came from Queens to Broward, not Miami, since most Colombians are trying to find peace, and get away from drama and politics (live in Colombia for a couple of years and you'll know why). So my knowledge and travel to Miami was limited to visiting relatives or festivals. So I'll say I respected the whole Miami underground culture as a whole, minus all their homegrown drama which didn't have shit to do with me. But I'd give props to Bravo and Dens for giving me the 411 on the 305. We only met one time, but this cat Bravo, he was down with AIM, STV and WOW. Me and his cousin, this Ecuadorean kid from Astoria used to chill up in Broward and catch his black books from Miami and then go to places like Tropical Park and chill. Back then it was all about black books there wasn't little fanzines, web forums and instructional videos, though by the early 90's the globalization of graff was starting. My boy Dens, my illest partner in crime, put me on to the work of DFC, 7UP and VO5. Miami started making sense amongst the heavy gang wars that was everywhere in South Florida at the time. As far as other influences, in Woodside: AV (TA-7) crew. In Bushwick: Pema aka Wewe, 2 Tone, Joe 5, Hops, VIC, OUS, BH crews..... And later, Baser the Honduran motivator, who got me into the freights more when he started FS with Clear, Axe, etc here in Broward. Some other late influences: Nor, Axe, Keen, Imo & Yusef, Kash, Hump, Faves, Jif, Kvee, Terms, Kemek, Best, Krank, High Sea,...

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

Anyone that knows FS crew, since day one, the mission was about the freight trains, or rolling stock as my boy Baser called them. But Hialeah Penit and Hallandale Wall for what I'd consider semi-legal since I never felt much danger at those spots from writers, gangs or cops, though we'd run into all of them several times. So these were some of the spots in the late 80's and early 90's you could roll out with your crew 10 deep with beers, blunts, radio and a trunk full of cans. And you could just paint all day and build with your brothers. Both were favorites because of convenience more than anything, since we lived in Broward. Hallandale which is on the Dade-Broward line and the Hialeah Penit which connected by the Tri-Rail with the Metrorail on 79th Street. Shit was like going to a park. I remember the Crack Kills spot off of I-95 near Griffin, this cat Kemek bringing and sparking up a BBQ while me, Baser, Serc, Clear, Kvee and other cats painted. As much as these cats then and now want to fantasize about re-inacting the "big city beef" they saw on some video or they might have actually had, Miami is a laid back place thats pretty safe for writers. Stories of stick ups, cats getting jumped, robbed, etc. but in the end you're still breathing. So you could actually concentrate on your painting not the teenage soap opera. We all did dumb shit, but 97% of us are still alive to talk about it, so these 2 spots represent growth of skills for those times.

5) Is there any crazy story that sticks out in your mind from days at that Penit/Wall??

Depends what you'd call crazy. That's why I call these places semi-legal, they had much too many people coming, going, and staying while you worked, to feel like you're on this mission, breaking in and really destroying shit. At the Hallandale wall we confronted: redneck dirt bike and ATV crews, crackhead hookers, European tourists, gang members, undercover cops and of course other writers. Hialeah Penit: A ghost (not the writer), kids looking to strip the pipes for copper, homeless people, drug addicts, gang unit, crazy Nicaraguans, packs of wild dogs..

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

As fellow street soldiers, for the most part I'd say I respected everyone. Though I'm sure I disrespected a few out there, but that's life. As far as respect for a specific writers "work" in Miami, no one really. I'm not saying I'm mad ill, just no one was rocking anything or bombing anyway that was ground breaking or amazing. When I was a kid, I saw train lines and the whole system in NYC running with letters, words, colors, ink, paint, etc.. Nothing these cats in London, Miami, Tokyo, Germany, Paris with their 3-d and fancy shit, will ever top. Its about the respect I have for what I witnessed as a kid. Ultimately most cats don't even know the meaning of the word respect, especially growing up in this country. But like I said before respect to the Miami underground culture as a whole, fuck pats on the back to individuals.

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

Those are never good stories, so no.

8) Whats the biggest problem with Toys nowadays?

Toys 101. Man everyone is a toy at one time. This thing we did took skill. You're not born with skill, it takes training, son. Then once you got skill you got to perfect it, like making a sword. And then what you do with that sword determines how people will remember you. Use it for evil, to kill the next man, or you use it to cut fire wood so everyone can eat. With that being said, toys need to stop taking themselves and the drama so serious. You're not in the "do or die" jungles of Colombia, neither are you in the 80's crack wars in NYC. You all gotta tone it down a bit and learn to build skills, massive crews and respect for each other. That way you can take back this city, that's been whored out by jiggy industry and corporate interests. These interests cause more police, because the role of police is to protect the property of the elite, not protect you and me. Don't spend so much time on the high school drama extension of who's better or worse than you, just plan, organize, and paint. Its all up to the younger kids and the kids you inspire after you to keep wrecking shop.

9) Why did you stop writing, whats the story behind that?

I was with another person that was not a writer while I was painting. I got rolled up on by gang unit cops and a reporter (who didn't identify themself as a reporter). I got flashed guns and badges, they patted us down for weapons and grabbed my wallet to check ID, and I was given 2 choices. 1. you and your friend get arrested and go to jail or 2. you and your friend answer some questions for this reporter. So they went and took all these photos and published all my info in some newspaper. So I quit writing, Wies... R.I.P. Six months or so later I decided to move back to NYC. I got into some other things which shaped things for what I do now. I found my calling which isn't so far off from what I was doing before, but I always get that old itch.

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

"Graf scenes" are always wack. So if you ask me, I'm going to tell you there was always a "scene" and it was pretty wack back then and now. Scenes are VIP hipsters, galleries, museums, magazines, tight shirts, looking at each other to see who's cooler at clubs, art critics and kids with $500 shoes that cost $1 to make in a sweatshop. For some I understand it's a way to expand and grow as artists, which is cool. Just don't think the scene isn't wack. You'll also find these scenes never really go away, just the names and faces change. The underground culture, that is something else and it seems to be going steady. Kids are still wrecking shop on anything in sight. Freights, billboards, street signs, rooftops, walls, trucks... all getting served as always. Where this is headed, I got no idea, but where I wish it would go thats another story. I'd like to see leadership and diplomats within the culture reach out, squash the beef, unite and organize all South Florida writers and crews (or at least alot of them). Not some holding hands corny steez. But on some shit like: lets map out the city step by step, divide up the work, lock down supplies of paint for the everyone, learn and communicate pig patrols to each other and make Miami beautiful, so that the next generation has something to be inspired by.

Peace to all the immigrants struggling worldwide, this is The nasty Overlord Wiesone... transmitting from the dead.