What do you write and how long have you been painting?
I write Krak SP and the usual variations of the name (KrakIzm, Krak Money, Mad Krak, etc.) I actually started writing, or I should say became addicted to writing, way back in 5th grade. One of my classmates pulled out this amazing, never-before-seen book (at that time anyway) called “Subway Art”. I think I was like 11 or 12 and I remember those fold-out pages in the middle of the book, the Seen, Dondi and Blade top-to-bottom whole cars. I’d never seen anything like that before and all I knew was that THAT was what I wanted to do. I was always into art & comics but once I got my hands on “Subway Art” that was it. I was hooked immediately. In the early 90’s I was doing a lot of bombing, from 1992 or 1993. I was never king or anything like that but I used to get it in. I kept that up for about 3-4 years until I “lost my way” and got caught up in the streets & all the drama that comes with that madness. I started up again in 2005 and started my business in 2006.
D’you remember Borden or SWP Krylons? Early AA’s & PT’s? Any other obscure small brands?
HELL YEAH! I definitely remember the old Borden Krylon notchtops. My pop used to have a bunch of paint in the basement and I remember the caps with the notches cut out and “New Color For The 80s” stickers. They’re still one of my favorite cans today. I also remember the Martin Paint with the gold crown on the can, which is one of the best labels in my opinion, and the old Channel cans and the K-Mart brand. Oh and the American Accents & Painter’s Touch cans in all the hobby shops.
Did you save any old cans from over the years? What prompted you to start building your collection?
Sorry to say I didn’t save any cans from my younger years; back then I used to just get it and use it. I just started collecting vintage cans back in 2010 thanks to Pre1 Bold Art (shoutout to Pre). He gave me a couple of his doubles of some SWP Krylons and that was it. I been diggin’ since then.
Can you still find old paint stock in your area?
Sorry to say I can’t find anything in the immediate area surrounding where I live. There were a few spots but I cleaned them out a while back. Now when I wanna dig for cans I gotta drive outside of Philly to the surrounding counties. I also go outta state once in a while when I start fiending really bad!
Do you miss any favorite old paint spots? (Mom & Pop hardware stores) Can you describe one or two to us?
Yeah there’s a real old mom & pop hardware store a few minutes from my house. The owner is cool as hell, he used to let me ransack his shop’s basement for old cans and sold ’em really cheap. Another great spot I got a lot of nice cans from is Siperstein’s Paint in New Jersey. Pre put me on to that spot and I got cool with the manager who actually had one of his workers go through the warehouse looking for older stock. He had this guy just bring a truck full of old stock to the store for me. I wish it was that easy every time.
Any early racking adventures with us!
I never really racked like most others do, ya know– running out the store with a hand-basket full of cans or whatever. I used to do bodywork on cars and I was in charge of ordering all the detailing & bodywork materials, so I would just take the liberty of ordering cases of spray paint for myself. Sometimes I would take orders from other shops for whatever materials they needed, order & pay for it with the company credit card, then sell it at half price and buy whatever I needed. I rarely, if ever, actually bought spraypaint with my own cash– fuck that noise.
Best discontinued paint, and why?
That’s a hard question for me to answer. Pretty much ALL the older stuff was great compared to the paint sold today at all the big box stores like Home Depot & Lowes. My other answer might sound a little weird since it’s not really discontinued, but I’d have to say Krylon– Borden Krylon that is. I remember that the Borden brand actually covered! It was real paint that worked and covered great and not one or two certain colors. Just about every color Borden made was damn good, and that smell. I love the smell of old Borden Krylon! It seems that every time there is an exceptional paint on the market the [paint] companies get these bright ideas to go and screw it all up. Another excellent paint that they stopped selling was Kilz with the weird cap, the can you could spray upside down…remember those? They came in like four or five colors, smelled like shitty celery but they covered great! That was probably the best paint ever for tunnels, and of course, they discontinued it. The white was super-bright and the blue was insane. Damn shame.
Worst paint you ever used? Most notorious colors to avoid?
The worst paint I ever used was this dollar can shit they sell at Home Depot, this flat black/water combo. It just runs and drips and seeps into the wall like you wouldn’t imagine and actually doesn’t even smell like paint. I should have known but the completely plain label that said “spray paint” on it…what a joke! And that Valspar bullshit at Lowes. I’m not sure what the hell they’re thinking with that. No coverage whatsoever! And they sell it for the same price as the Rusto– ripoff yo! And those Krylon cans with the plastic wrap-around labels on em: Watermelon, Celery, Ballet Slipper…all trash. The white was pretty much clear. I think there was this color called “Denim, another sad color. Don’t get me wrong though– there are some good dollar cans out there…Wal-Mart/Colorplace silver is good silver and the grey primer is pretty decent too. But nowadays, in my honest opinion, I feel like all the “hardware store paint companies” (Rustoleum, Krylon, Valspar, etc.) are actually trying to make a shitty product. Out of everything available in hardware stores today, I’d say the best paint would be the PT2X. Rustoleum is still good paint but they went and screwed up the caps so….
What cans are you still looking for to fill those gaps in the collection?
Right now I’m looking for two or three Jungle Greens that I don’t have. I have the notchtop, the barcode label, the ingredient label and the name label Jungle Greens. I’m also ALWAYS looking for Krylon notchtops and Sparvar cans…love Sparvars. I need to get my big face Rusto game up too…looking for those as well. I kinda stopped buying every and any can I come across so I can focus more on what I need and want. I’d also love to get my hands on a Hot Raspberry, Icy Grape, and a Pineapple Yellow. I actually just lucked out and got a Clear Rusto Woodsaver that I’ve been hunting for over a year so I can finish the collection. I’m happy about that.
Your most treasured cans?
My most treasured cans would probably be an old paper-label big face Red Devil can, an old grenade Champion, a grenade Plasti-Kote can, the full set of Rustoleum Woodsavers w/2 color charts, my Jungle Greens, Rusto Cascade Greens, Rusto Green Aluminum, and all my Krylon notches and Sparvar cans. Oh and I recently came across a 1955 Rustoleum paper label pint with the old black & red logo– very ill!
Your thoughts on specialized, “writer specific” paint?
I think it’s great. Just like anything else, if you have the correct tools for the job the end result will always turn out perfect. Right now it seems everyone is trying to jump on the bandwagon and make their own paint, which is cool, but it seems that some companies are more concerned with simply getting the finished product out there instead of the actual quality of the paint. Why put out a shitty product quickly instead of taking your time and putting out a great product everyone loves? It’s awesome that nowadays we have such high quality paint with a ridiculously large color selection, transparent colors, acrylic and bitumen-based paint that covers silver, paint you can use in the rain & freezing temperatures, varied pressure cans, micro, pocket and tall cans, and all the different kinds of caps. I think it’s great and helped a lot of people perfect their hands and styles, plus the pieces, burners and productions nowadays are bananas since there’s so much color to work with. What I can’t figure out or understand is why the huge American companies like Krylon and Rustoleum refuse to recognize the potential in writer-specific paint. I think Krylon released an “artist” line or something a while back but nothing ever came of it. Anyway, they’re set in their old anti-graffiti bullshit ways– to hell with them fools.
The pros & cons of owning your own store?
Good question. I’d say the pros would be not having to work your ass off for someone else. I run my business as I see fit and don’t have to answer to anyone. I work when I feel like, I always have a huge stock of supplies and I don’t feel like I’m actually working when I am working since I do what I love. Plus not really having to “work” to get paid is friggin’ awesome! There’s nothing like making 600-700 dollars while you sleep!! All I gotta do is bring some packages to the post office or FedEx. Oh yeah and no overhead is real nice. All I need is stock and an internet connection and I’m good.
The cons include that I have to deal with some ignorant people, people who try to get over on you, people who think they know everything. One thing I hate is since I make my own products, some people assume that I have tons of money or I can just give away all kinds of supplies to complete strangers. They don’t realize that all these products, all the material to mix the ink costs money, shipping costs money, labels, bottles, mops & markers all cost money. You should see some of the e-mails I get: complete strangers asking for 100 cans of paint and in return they’ll “tell people I sell suplies.” Ridiculous. But I wouldn’t trade in working for myself for anything. It’s the best.
Any projects going on right now or in the near future?
As a matter of fact yes. I’m actually working on re-branding the Illadel products: labels, websites, everything. I think that as a business grows it should develop into something bigger and better and that’s what I’m doing right now. I’m going from just the ink and graff supplies and moving into the clothing and vinyl as well, like t-shirts, hoodies, stickers, etc. I want everything I sell to be done in-house. All I will have to buy from someone else is the plastic bottles & empties.
All the Illadel inks and paint are already hand-mixed and bottled here in Philly. I don’t buy that cheap shit that a lot of graff companies cop from China or Taiwan. I try my hardest to make all my stuff as high quality as possible. I also plan on opening a brick & mortar shop sometime in the future, maybe in a year or two if the economy doesn’t completely turn to shit.
Your thoughts on CMC documenting spray paint history?
I think it’s goddamn awesome! You guys are doing something nobody else is doing and I’m glad it’s working out so well for you. I never knew how many vintage paint collectors were out there until I came across your site a while back. It’s also good that you know the history and are not just posting pictures. I see some of the interviews and pics and stuff you post on the site and y’all know what you’re talking about…al the color codes, the years, the label designs, the manufacturers. And the grading chart too… always use that on eBay when looking for cans to buy. I can’t wait for the book! I hope it’s done soon.
I just wanna say thanks to CMC for the interview, Meal & Slyle for the occasional trades & help finding cans I need, thanks to all the cats online I trade with, thanks to the artists, vandals and criminals who plaster their cities with my ink & paint and make shit look good, a huge shout to all the wholesalers, distributors and retailers who slang Illadel products in their states & countries around the globe and most of all the customers!! If y’all keep using it I’ll keep mixing it.
-JaySki a.k.a. Krak~Money.SP.