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What inspired you to become involved in writing?
Being around graffiti writers. I was envious and wanted to write my name too!
Did you have a mentor?
Not really. When I first started painting, I was going solo. However, I did have people close to me who were inspirational. ZEPHYR, DONDI, SHARP, and SANE SMITH. They were the ones who would tell me crazy stories and paint my name all pretty.
Who influenced your style?
ZEPHYR and SHARP influenced my style when I was a beginner. I would always try to piece with those ZEPH style letters, but I could never do it. Then the nature of my writing changed from piecing on walls and freights to more of raw bombing. I started to really concentrate on doing tons of throw ups and tags. MQ was a huge influence on me at that time. MQ is the most influential of all.
How did you get your name?
Scratching up niggaz backs with my long nails! JUST JOKING! It derives from my real name. CLAW has been my nickname from when I was a little girl.
What area you originally from?
Queenz, New York City... of course!
Where and what year did you start writing on the streets?
In the late '80s I was a wild party girl. My writing consisted of taking a tag here or there. My boyfriend at the time, a writer, would do pieces for me and always put me up, so I was content with that. One day, one of my boys dissed me, and called me "a wanna be." He was right! I needed to get to work! SANE SMITH was the first person I ever bombed New York City with in 1989. I was a serious toy! I thought I was such a bad ass. But I was a TOY. I moved to Paris that same year. That's where I did my first piece. It was in JON ONE's studio. I didn't start aggressively bombing until 1990 when I returned from France. When I came back to New York City, I was on a mission to bomb.
You launched your career as the New York's transit era was coming to a close. Have you ever had the opportunity to paint MTA subway trains?
Only motion tags, never a throw up or piece. I am a street bomber. I never associated graffiti with just the subways. It's two different things to me.
Who were your most successful partners?
When I first started writing, I was writing with a bunch of different friends, like DEVO KGB, DONTAY TC5, CL2 and SENER. No one as a full time partner. I would also paint often by myself. Then in 1994, I met MQ. And after that we were inseparable. We painted seven nights a week back then. He has had the most impact on me. We went crazy painting together from '94-96. Then I stopped painting anything remotely resembling graffiti. I needed to step away from that life and all the DRAMA that was unfolding all around me. Alas, the story does not stop there, my current partner; MISS 17 is truly the reason why I started painting again after a six-year absence. She is my inspiration. Two women out painting together. It is a real feminist assertion. I really feel that this is my remark to society as a woman. When I first started writing it was about me, very self-obsessed and ego driven. Now it is about my statement as a woman, to and for all women.
What was it like for a woman to be part of a male dominated field, what were the advantages? What were the disadvantages?
Being a hot girl always has its advantages. But I would never have accepted just that "girl writer" bullsh*t. I am a bomber. The gender is inconsequential. The funny thing is, it really confuses people. That is really one of the huge advantages. The element of surprise. The disadvantages are the same as for all woman. The everyday struggles to fit into a man's world.
How did the your male counter-parts treat you?
With LOVE. I was/am surrounded by wonderful friends who encourage me to be the best that I can be. I am so lucky and blessed!
How do you feel about how women are perceived in this culture?
I feel if more women put in some work you would not be asking me this question. Women need to step up and take control. LADY PINK was the first and you have to give her respect. She did her thing. There are others that deserve acknowledgement as well. ABBY TC5, LADYBUG, SS and CHICK. And I know there are more. Currently the QUEEN is 17 - she is the undisputed, all city KING of New York City! She is going for it and making her mark. We need more females to be unapologetic, fierce and valiant.
What crews have you written for?
KGB, Violators, 333, IBM, but now I only push RTW, TC5, FC and PMS.
How do you feel about the state of writing today?
I love it. Graffiti just keeps evolving. It is always has a new name that catches your eye. That is the beauty of it. It keeps renewing.
Do you have any advice for up and coming writers (females in particular)?
Bomb, kill, rape and pillage!
Any closing words?
Much love to EVERYONE and LADIES FU*K SH*T UP.
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