CRIME 79 INTERVIEW
©2002, 2003 @149st Do not republish without permission.
Where and what year did you start writing on trains?
I started writing graffiti in 1977. I wrote around the neighborhood on walls, handball courts and a lot of paper.
What borough are you originally from?
I grew up in East New York where many of the great graffiti writers have originated out of.
What inspired you to become involved in writing?
I lived in a neighborhood where I would see writers hanging out when I was a kid. I would look at the way that they would be respected. Even at a time when New York was flourishing with gangs. Gangs would respect the writers for being outlaws as well. Growing up in my neighborhood I would see writers hanging out in Highland Park handball courts like DIKE, TO, SID THE KID, JESTER, TO TOP aka MICKEY 729, JAMES TOP, HULK. Yet I didn't know them, but they would be pointed out by people. They created somewhat of a secret society that only certain members knew about. I felt that I was part of that secret society when I would look up and see the train rumble by on the el and knew who did that tag.
Did you have a mentor?
No, I was self taught. You know how it goes. When your the new toy on the block no one wants to take you under their wing until you prove your self. So I took it upon myself to start bombing by myself. After doing several pieces and getting up on the insides,is when other well know writers would come look for me to do whole cars together.
Who influenced your style?
When I first started I admired the works of the CIA crew. I lived by the J yard and that's what I mostly saw bombed in my neighborhood. After I was established I admired many of the works of the IRT writers and soon fell in love with wild style and became addicted to the style till this day.
How did you get your name?
I wanted to have a name that would cause impact. I remembered when I first started writing and seeing SIKO tags on the M line and it stood out from all the rest. 79 came from the year (1979) that I officially started heavily bombing.
List all the other names under which you have painted?
CRIME 79, BC, WAVE, SUPRA ONE, 79ER
What subway lines have you hit?
All city, I started with the J, M, LLs. I then moved on to the CC, A, E, F. In those days if you hit those lines you also would be up on the D, RR, G, N lines because they would switch lines. I then started doing insides an the IRT trains then pieces ion the 2 line. I also did several pieces on the 5s. All city.
Which crews were you a member of?
CIA, SIS, TMW, KND, TB, 7DS, amongst others.
Who were your most successful partners?
BABY 168, PEO SIS, BID, NEK, NEL 106, SABU 002, SAIN TOP, DURO, SES, FLIN TOP, PG and WEISER.
When did you quit painting subway trains?
I stopped painting trains in the summer of '85. The buff was getting stronger and many of my pieces wouldn't even make it out of the yard before I could document it. Also many of the writers that contributed to the BMTs had slowly started to fade away. We stopped graffiti not the MTA.
Are there any writers you feel made significant contributions to writing that have been over looked?
There is a lot to be said about those that wrote on the IRT lines but much props to BABY 168, PEO SIS, BID, NEK, NEL 106. SAIN TOP, DURO, SES, FLIN TOP, SABU 002, PG, WEISER, OE 3, P13, BOLTISM, ATOM LOC, UN ONE, SIKO, RISCO, LS 7DS, NA, and all who contributed to decorating and continuing the beautification of the Broad Street line...The BMTs. Much props.
Are you currently involved in art in any capacity?
I had shown in several gallery. After graff. I went on to do graphic design, I am currently an account executive in the graphics field, as well as freelance graphics and visual consulting for many fortune 500 companies.
Any closing words?
Graffiti has taken many twist and turns since I was a writer. Many writers today call them selves writers merely because they have artistic ability. Remember, graffiti carries with it a revolutionary quality. A quality that makes us a underground culture. Many have used this art form to pimp themselves with the headline as being "URBAN". The true creators and dreamers of my time never dream that it would come to a world wide attention that we see it today . Much props to those that have taken this art form to another level. But let us not forget about the true old school dreamers that had no commercial interest and just wanted to paint. Maybe someday those times will come back... someday. Remember this is your art form, We created it... don't let them take it away.
Crime 79 forever 2002.
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