GEAR ONE INTERVIEW
©2000, 2003 @149st Do not republish without permission.
Where (what yard or lay up) and what year did you start writing and why?
I started writing in spring of '75. I used to go to school in Manhattan and began to notice all kind of names on the trains I always loved art so the style behind the names caught my attention especially STAY HIGH149 and MICO. I knew that I wanted to put my name up also so of course I made one of those homemade markers and started hitting trucks and busses. I normally hit the RR layup in Astoria Queens it was real peaceful there back then.
Did you have a particular inspiration or mentor?
Yes. There are numerous writers that I looked up to back then, bombing was the order of the day so guys like CLIFF 159 and IN and DON 1 for his style, were definitely an inspiration there were many others like TRACY 168, CAINE 1, BLADE these guys were breaking ground with characters and whole cars and on my line (RR). The POG guys, HEAT, TAIN, SHIP they had nice pieces for those days.
What lines have you hit?
RRs which converted to M, and J. The 7, E, F and occasionally would hit the 1,2,3 lines.
What borough are you originally from?
Manhattan; moved out to Queens but continued to go to school in the city.
What crews have you written for?
BYB, early MAFIA, TFA, TOP, NCB, TCK, DEAN and I tried to keep 3YB going.
How did you get the name GEAR?
My real name is GUILLERMO (William in english) my mom would call me Guiller for short so I just modified it a little.
List all the other names under which you are known?
GEAR ONE, KD, JD, IT
Who were your best partners?
DEAN for overall bombing, DON 1 for insides. I wrote by myself a lot of the time.
Have you mentored any younger writers?
when I first started writing in Astoria there were no graffiti writers except for DON 1 and I afterwards DEAN moved to Queens. I introduced SMOKE to the layup, later on he and the TKC crew kicked ass on the RRs.
Where was your favorite place to watch trains?
Queensboro plaza I could watch both the RR and 7.
Who were the main cops that were active on your lines?
Two flat footed guys named Wasserman and Rodin or something like that.
Do you have any good raid stories?
One of the first times I went to the RR lay up with CLIFF 159, DEAN, JINX 2, TAG and I think CHAIN3 might have been there, we got raided we were between stations on elevated tracks and the cops were coming in one direction and the train in the opposite direction there was no place to except to jump of the tracks on to a parked truck below it was about an eight foot drop. I was the last to jump I was 14 and scared as hell. After that DEAN and I practiced climbing up and down the beams which saved us on a few occasions.
Do you have any good racking stories?
We just racked anywhere we could all the way from Greatneck Long Island to Canarsie, Brooklyn.
What do you think of the global expansion of writing?
I think it's cool that it caught on the way it did although it's important to remember that it all began here and some of the crudest writers were the pioneers.
Are you currently involved in writing or any other art form?
Yes I love art as I stated before I definitely enjoy just trying to do things that come out on paper or canvas spontaneously sometimes I don't even know how a drawing or painting will turn out. I experiment with all schools of art but probably surrealism is my favorite, although I try to mix it all up into one.
How do you relate surrealism to subway art?
The idea of using tons of steel covering miles of track as a medium for self expression is indeed as surreal as you can get. The Surrealist would have loved it, they tried go against the establishment and were considered antisocial and loved to shock the mainstream population, which is how society viewed graffiti back then before it went mainstream and there were no stuffy critics we were the critics, kids from the streets it was real.
What writers from your time period are under represented in today's era of broad documentation of graffiti?
CAINE1, DON1, and DEAN (rip), all the other cats from the 7 line ROGER174, CHINO174, TAGE, FLAME, DOC. The 7 is definitely under represented.
Any final comments?
It was good to be part of something that is still alive and going strong today, who would have ever thought it was going to turn out like this.
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