Area : Manhattan
Writing Groups : SA , Acid Writers , WS , 3YB
I think itís very hard to explain to people
that are even just a few years younger then myself the impact of the New York
magazine article in 1973 on kids throughout the city.
When that came out, Iíd say 50% of my classmates were already cloning their favorite tags in their notebooks. I could already do: SNAKE 1, COOL CLIFF 120, STAY HIGH 149, TAKI 183, and SOUL SLICK who had the bottoms of most of the lampostís in Central Park, but to actually see a photo of STAY HIGH with that beautiful tag next to it. That article really helped start a movement. By 1974 I had really started to write, which to me means street tagging or motion tagging, I was a toy, but at the end of the day I reeked of flo-master. So I was a keen observer from the early 1970's, but I would never dare to say that I had written before 1974.
I was at least an established toy when NOGA opened itís doors. I had copped a tag with STAR 3 at the 88th street
station, he was like a second generation broadway boy
that got lots of fame from ďThe Faith of
GraffitiĒ. When I went to grab a tag I spraypainted myself in the face by
something Iíve seen other writers do. NOGA was
right around the corner and SCORPIO was kind enough to clean me up, thatís how
I met those guys. UGA had this roster of great artistís with graff credibility
and NOGA was much more democratic. So while I didnít meet PHASE 2 until 1981,
at NOGA I could jam with STAN 153 on drawings, most of the guys were
really positive if you had talent.
since I had been copying names of famous writers since 1970, and wound up as a
graffiti archivist; I was at NOGA, maybe one day, two days after STIM had died.
It was like 1:00 AM and I walked into the back room and started drawing. There
were a lot of tall black guys hanging out with long leather jackets and big
afros, I was like three feet tall. There was just like this anger in the room,
BLOOD TEA wasnít playing the congaís and it was real quiet. I didnít know
what happened. So one guy keeps peering into the back room where I was alone and
heís talking louder and louder about how the ďmanĒ had killed STIM, and
they should smoke a cop.
This dialogue was just sort of floating into the
back room and I
knew as the white kid that I was gonna get thrown a beatdown.
I found SCORPIO and started talking to him
really quickly to show the room what great friends we were and I slowly backed
out of there. Charles Thomas, the first graffiti fatality. As scared as I was I
empathized with them and like everyone else
I tagged up STIMís name for months. STIM was not executed by a cop as rumor had it. I would eventually attend CAINEís funeral and SANE, some 15 years after STIM.
Things cooled down at NOGA and I continued to write GEN 2 with the Acid Writers, me, OPIE,SPACE,LIT,ROCCO 158 had all done pieces, oh yeah SHY 3, who sort of grew up with DAZE. My brother, who had great tagging style as LSD 2001 and his writing partner CLOUD 9 were grabbing the RRís and the 7ís. We were getting style and then it just ended, going to high school totally broke us apart, and NOGA moved in 1976, but not before HINDU 2 kicked my ass for sheer entertainment value.
From Ď76 to Ď79 I didnít do any
writing, except BUTCH 2 and I would sometimes do outlines during math class at
Music and Art, that was cool because I had no idea of just how famous he was. At
M&A I hung with two really early B-boys, the Sisco Kid and Stedroy, I love
both those guys to this day. They were both so fucking talented at everything.
Sisco hung out with Diane Sleigh and now Iíve got custody of her, sheís the
third and final person I love from M and A. Curtis Blow used to sell loose
joints in front of the school but I didnít hang with him.
and I watched as a lot of the middle class writers
started to come back, I mean I had no home and was living in this ping
pong parlor on broadway and 96th street so I used to hang at that station late into the night thinking about writing. The Soul Artistís started their comeback in 1979, so I changed my name to FREEDOM, bought a uni at Bombay Stationary and started
to hit the city. I had no responsibilities so I
could walk around all night and grab tags, thatís how I met CHRIS 217. He
actually had a life, a job and everything, but me and him would roam the city
all night going street tagging and writers hated us, well, CHRIS actually. I
came from the old SA mentality that one nice tag was worth ten quick ones, and
CHRIS was the opposite multiplied by hundreds. But I never had a better writing
partner, the guy knew his shit and got me out of a lot of jams. I mean he could
get us in and out of the one tunnel in Ď83 at a time that it was really hot. I
also wrote with CLOUD 9,
but he didnít do trains, and JERRY 1 who was an early partner of HAZEís from their IS44 days. JERRY did nice Ď75 style bubble letter pieces with me while I tried to play catch up to the new guys. We did some Acid Writers end to ends, I did some with CHAZ a few years later even though I had given the crew to CHRIS, and he gave it to SAND 217, eventually SANE wound up with it.
I started painting in the FREEDOM tunnel back in 1974 with a lot of the old acid writers, I went back in in 1980
to paint the Mona Lisa, at the same time ALI was restoring the old Soul Artistís wall which was two blocks away, so we kept checking up on what each other was doing. As I kept painting down there through the early 80ís CHRIS was usually helping me out, few people know that. Years later SMITH was a great help to me and rarely gets enough credit for it. Heís the one that dubbed it the FREEDOM tunnel. That was a nice 16 year run, and I think cemented my reputation in the graff world, whatever that reputation is.
The definitive history of subway writing on the
Broadway line. The film features , STAN153 ,BAMA ,
CRASH , PART , TERROR161 , KET RIS . For more
information check out WWW.Movieplace.com/graffittiorder.com