Crew: TF, DBM, DOA & FHC
City/Country: Providence, Rhode Island
When did you start writing? I started sketching in 2001 but I didn’t pick up a can until 2004.
Whats graffiti for you?
Graffiti is a creative outlet to express myself and also an escape from the real world for a brief period of time. It helps mellow me out, there is no better way to forget a bad week than spraying some style with the homies.
Influences come from everywhere. Graffiti, street art, illustration, fine art, woodworking, music, movies, nature and everyday life. Creativity has many forms and everybody sees it differently.
Tell us about your city, How is life and graffiti there?
Providence is a very small city in Rhode Island, it is very diverse in culture and the people are full of life. Located in the center of New England we pull style from New York, Boston and Connecticut. Even though there are many similarities to the cities around us, Rhode Island definitely has a style of its own – strong stylish letters with a little funk to define our personalities.
What keeps you still writing?
Writing is who I am, its what I do. I work hard all week and look forward to painting a dope piece on the weekend. Also I’m very competitive with myself, therefore I always want to paint something better than the last one.
What first made you interested in graffiti and how did you end up on that track?
My high school was a half hour away from my house, which meant a long bus ride. This also meant a lot of time looking out of the window to pass the time. Ive always be artistic in one form or another. At the time Perve, TM7 had the highways on smash, and I would always get excited every time I saw something new. It simply started with me trying the bite the Perve stuff I was seeing on the ride to school. Next thing I knew, I had 3 sketchbooks filled cover to cover and was really starting to develop my own style. Since I was naturally artistic, I decided to study art further. I received a BFA in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design. Post graduation I decided to go in a different direction, but I still apply a lot of what I learned in college to my graffiti. After all graffiti is the illustration of letters.
What trends are you seeing now in the graffiti world that you DONT like?
Any of that hipster stuff that more and more people are thinking is cool. Sloppy outlines, party dots, weird cracks, 100 arrows are just some of the things I think are unacceptable. In my eye, graffiti is clean technical letters and people should not mess with that.
What do you do when your not painting?
I’m just a normal dude, working towards the American dream. I work as a scenic artist for movies, I also do commercial decor installation across the Northeast, and every once in a while I bang nails. Most of my free time I spend with my beautiful girlfriend, going to the beach, traveling, eating and drinking. We also love bowling and going to the movies. I enjoy being around my family and friends, watching football or having Sunday dinners. My parents have supported me throughout my entire life and for that I will never be able to thank them enough. The support from my family and friends to not only keep painting but to improve every time I go out to paint means the world to me.
How would you describe your style?
My style is HIP-HOP! A clean technical letter structure, always with a little funk to create movement and balance throughout my piece. I have a hard time doing the same piece twice, which is why I am always trying to evolve my style further. It is harder than you may think as my name starts and ends with O. My approach to color also plays a big part of my style. As long as you can create contrast between your color palette you can get anything to pop.
Can you remember the first piece you painted?
I convinced my dad to buy me 3 cans of krylon, a can of flat white, banner red and ultra flat black. A couple kids I knew from the neighborhood were already into graffiti and they took me to a tunnel down the street from my house. Right away I tried to pull out all the tricks. I did a solid red fill with a black outline and a complete white inner outline. It did not come out too great, but the smell of the ultra flat blackout me hooked for life.
I just want to live a long happy life with my family. Painting graffiti is a privilege to me, I am grateful for every piece I get to paint. Regardless of the future I am going to keep pushing my style until the day I stop.
Do you adapt your pieces and tags to the spot/surface?
You have to. If you roll up to a raw wall you don’t want to blast color on it, the wall is just going to soak it up. When in doubt chrome it out. Sometimes you might have to use color to create contrast with the environment. Every spot is different and if you don’t adjust to it your piece will not be at its full potential.
What do you think about the younger generation of writers in your city?
I don’t really know the new generation in Providence. I do know the city is smashed right now and there is only a few writers that do it with style. It feels different from when I was coming up, there doesn’t seem to be anyone trying to be a style writer.
What are the worst/best aspects of graffiti?
One of my favorite aspect of graffiti has to be the spots. I am able to go to some of the most amazing places in the world (such as Ireland). Places that everyone else has forgotten about. There is nothing more satisfying than finding a new spot that is completely unknown to everyone else but its right under their noses. On the flip side my least favorite part is the drama and egos that come along with it. I am past all of the bullshit, I just want to paint with cool people with good vibes.
Who do you paint for?
As of right now I don’t paint for anyone. If the day ever comes that I am lucky enough to be sponsored, I would be honored for the opportunity and would try my hardest to represent for the people that have pushed me to where I am today.
What writers have inspired you?
I pull all my inspiration from the local writers I grew up idolizing. Most of my style comes from Etips and Swerve, but other writers such as Above, Perve, Nerve, Nysto, Ster, Wizart, Tomb and Jusone have also helped me get to where I am today. As I have gotten older and started developing my own style i have looked to writers like Kem and Ges to help push my style even further.
Can you ever feel tired of graffiti?
No, graffiti is constantly changing, it’s hard to get tired of something that keeps pushing you to do better. I always look forward to the next time I have the opportunity and time to paint, and until that changes I will never get tired of it.
What do you hope people will think and feel when they see your stuff?
I don’t really care how it makes people feel, I paint for myself and the people that support me. I just hope my work inspires someone along the way. The thought that what I spray today will push a future generation to keep developing the Rhode Island style that I love is enough for me.
Spray Paint: Ironlak
Markers/Pens: Molotow One4All
Surface: Raw cement
Cap: Level 1 Montana