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Where and what year did you start writing on the subway?
I started in the summer of '79 hitting out sides and insides with pilot markers on Ol' Broadway. I used to write "DIZZY DEE", then in 1980 I started writing "HYPO" and from 1981 to very early '83 it was "ACTIVE". I fashioned that name after "ALIVE 5", finally from '83 to date it was and is SAK.
What borough are you originally from?
I am originally from the Bronx, but I spent most of my life in Manhattan
How did you get your name?
I used to hustle in a local supermarket and I happened to walk by some garbage bags that said "cinch sak." I needed to shorten my current name "ACTIVE" because when I painted it seemed too long so SAK worked out perfect for me.
Which writers inspired you to become a writer?
It goes back as far as '72 when I first saw a whole car painted by WASP with a city skyline, that car blew my mind, later it was CHAIN 3, KEL, COS, SHY147, KASE, BASE 2, 2MAD CYA, DAZE, MITCH, PJAY and KOOL 131. He used to bug me out with his big face characters. There was one he did with a side vision top to bottom face. I don't remember the pieces so much but the character looked like his style.
How did you develop your style?
when I was a kid I used to see burners that I would go home and try to copy on paper, but I would say my major influences were TACK FBA and SKEME TNT. Those two cats really stood out.
What crews have you written for?
My crew which was MBT stands for Masters Burning Together, FBA, CBS, TOA, TNB, TAC, TAT and MSK.
Who were your most successful partners?
I would say my two close friends RIZE and KC.
What lines have you hit?
I have hit the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 lines. Looking back I wish I had hit the CCs they were hurtin' for some real artwork.
Where were your favorite places to hit trains?
Well of course the Ghost Yard which was practically across the street from me, then it was the 1 tunnels in the winter and the lay-ups, on 103rd to 116th Street and the least favorite was the elevated lay-up at 225th Street.
During the 1980s the 1 Tunnel could be pretty tough. Did you have any memorable experiences there?
Damn sure do, I'm tellin you I felt like an urban Indiana Jones in the temple of the one tunnels, shit was very real and very scary to a skinny little 15 year old kid which is how old I was when I first went there in '81. I remember like it was yesterday, I was writing Active at the time and it was me, NEL TC5 (rip),RIZE who wrote MALIBU, and SWAN 3, me and NEL did a silver car together while RIZE and SWAN painted, then all of a sudden we were surrounded by like 12 guys jumping from in between the parked cars, it was the mighty Ball Busters, leading the pack was PANA and RASK. PANA robbed all of us for our paint only to give it back 10 minutes later, then they both told me to start pushing their crew CBS. I was open because when TACK and AIRBORNE wasn't pulling out cars, PANA and RASK were. They were classic FBA. Their cars were hot, but not as tight as TACK's and AIRBORNE's.
Then about 1984 I was in the tunnel every weekend and sometimes during the week when I wanted to avoid this fat bastard named CHAZ who for some reason was heavily on my dick. I was weighing about 125 pounds to his 250, and at one point it was an every weekend thing, like a new episode of Tom and Jerry. I would be painting then he would jump out from between the cars and chase me, I could tell this bitch wanted blood, cause I never seen a fat person run so fu*kin fast. In any event he never caught me. I look back and laugh. I remember he wanted to catch me so bad that he chased me out of the tunnel right down the middle track of the station on 145th Street, all the way out the station. I would turn to him and call him names just to piss him off even more while he was all bent over out of breath. He would say "I'll get you. You little fu*k." and I would say "Fu*k you fat fagg*t." something like that, but he got a hold of some of my cars and really massacred them.
Do you have any good raid stories?
I was the summer of 1984, I was rolling with the MSK crew, we were 20 deep. I knew in my mind that it wouldn't be a good night, but to make a long story even longer, we did a total four cars that night on the 225th Street lay-up. One was the "Back to School" whole car by me KC and DIA, the next car said "Keep the Torch Lit" with the Statue of Liberty at the end and two window down cars. It was on the downtown side so anyone could just walk on the station and see shadows painting, back then the wood planks were corroded and weak. My boy RUN (rip) was with us one day and he fell though the wood up to his chest. If he had fallen he would have broke some bones, then be hit by a car or bus.
Gettin' back to the story, while we were all painting, I heard someone say "Raid raid!!" I looked at the platform on 225th Street where we were like 20 feet from the station and there were cops with flashlights coming to the end of the station. I then looked at the next station and cops were coming down onto the tracks with flashlights there too, we all scattered like a bunch of roaches but me KC and CHI ONE climbed on the roof of the train and started running on top to the uptown side of the 225th Street station. Guys from the projects were throwing bottles at us while we were running. I could hear the wizz of the bottle that just missed my face by inches. We actually ran to the middle of the bridge and climbed down and ran to 218th Street. Me, CHI and KC were walking trying to make it to safety when a police car with lights off screeched in front of us. We all ran is different directions. CHI ran towards the river by the bus depot and I ran across the street and hid behind a car; KC just vanished, anyway the cop car chased CHI. I could see the police lights bouncing off the bus depot.
This white guy walked by and saw me hiding, he then nonchalently crossed the street and obviously dropped a dime. Now I was hiding behind a car parked on the corner of an intersection. I seen the cop car back up with CHI inside, I said "Whew they didn't see me", but they did cause they drove full speed over to the car I was hiding by and slammed on the brakes. I then ran across the street by the bus depot. I said to myself now I can't outrun a car and I can't get busted or that's my ass, so I used my head, I ran up against the wall of the building they tried to block me in with the nose of the car. I then ran around the car which gave me a few seconds to bolt for it, luckily there was this narrow alleyway and at the end was a tree stump and a wall about 9 feet high. I was so out of breath that I fell in the alley and my hoodie got caught onto some old barb wire, while laying on the floor I looked back and the car pulled up, I just ripped the hoodie and used the stump to help me climb up on the fence. I was so out of breath that I was just hangin on the fence, the cop said "Okay, fun times over lets go." I said Okay, but still kept climbing.
Once on top of the roof everything was spinning I had no moisture in my body I was mad thirsty and dizzy. The cop just watched in amazement as I climbed up the fence for some reason he didn't make much of an effort to grab at me. They circled around the building in their car like four times then left, I stayed up there until 7:30 in the morning to make sure they were gone. Oh yeah, and also luckily for Me, KC and DIA we got to finish the car before the raid and lost no paint just the paint that dropped down to the street which is what might have gotten us raided in the first place, days later CHI said when he was in the car when they were chasing me he saw my feet hitting my back and the cops were saying "Let's run this little nigger over".
At which stations did you bench trains?
At the infamous writers bench on 149th....ah you know, Intervale, East Tremont, Simpson, Baychester.
When did you quit writing?
Well I would say in 1987, but I still do pieces from time to time, it never really leaves your system.
Who were the most popular writers of your era?
Let's see, TKID, RACK, SEEN, TATs Cru, SHAME 125, POEM, TACK had stopped writing at around '84, JON, KYLE, CASE, to name a few.
Are there any writers you feel made significant contributions to writing that have been over looked by history?
Yes. I will just mention their names, Me (SAK), POEM, RIZE, COS 207, DEL, MOOSE 106, JEM from the 4s, MITCH77, LEO, FED 2, PAUSE CYA, 2 NEAR, 2MAD. That's about it off the top of my head. We made considerable contributions but somehow weren't acknowledged.
Are you currently involved in art in any capacity?
Occasional walls or a commissioned mural or two sometimes.
Do you have any closing words?
To all new and upcoming artist, don't be ignorant about us old schoolers. Log onto at149st.com and STUDY YOUR HISTORY!!!! And remember....there's no fruit without the root. Thanks for the interview.....Out.
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