What you write?
Syms

What crews do you push?
Droids Crew, Sheer Terror, and AAP.

How long?
Let’s see.. probably around, uh… I started in 2003, probably since around 2004 seriously. Yeah.

What kinda paint were you using when you started?
Initially when I started I was working in a hardware store. (Really, that’s interesting) Yeah, but we didn’t have paint. It was two sides, it was like a lumber place basically. Our side didn’t have any paint and the lumber side which I didn’t really have access to, had some of that old Krylon… it was waterbased.. Living Color. So when I first started I was working at this hardware store and I would go and buy my paint at Walmart or Home Depot or wherever, just as much as I could, those kinda shitty dollar cans. But then one day they were liquidating all the paint at this hardware store next door to me, at the lumber side. Yeah, the Living Color was not doing so well. They had this box of like 50 cans of paint, and I was like, “oh man I’ll give you like 40 bucks for those 50 cans” and they went for it. And so the whole day I was like ecstatic, like “man, this is the biggest come up!” I was so excited, they had awesome colors, awesome colors. I mean, there were a couple Rustos and a couple normal Krylons in there.  So I went as soon as I could with a couple of friends to this tunnel in an east suburb of Cleveland we used to go practice in, to try out all this paint.  It turns out that the colors were awesome but half of the paint didn’t work, it was just not.. problematic paint. It didn’t go well on the wall. By the time I got halfway through that box of Living Color I wasn’t half as excited as I thought I was gonna be! But in any case, that kinda taught me that there are other ways other than buying paint at full price, if at all.

What colors do you remember from Living Color?
From Living Color? I don’t remember the names to tell you the truth. I remember they had a bright pink that was pretty awesome, they had a light blue that was pretty awesome, a little bit deeper than Krylon Baby Blue.

What kind of caps did you use?
So at the time I was just getting into graffiti, I was excited about every possible aspect of it… making markers, trying to mix paint, and I was making caps, trying to adjust caps. We hadn’t really met any established writers yet, we were kinda just trying to figure out things on our own, and what we could hear from people and what the experienced writers we’d contact would kick down to us. So we would try to kinda pin caps like shaving cream, like we would do as teenagers to make a bigger hole, that didn’t really work. We’d try to adjust the stem, make that ridge bigger or smaller to control the paint. I don’t think we had much luck trying to make any cap, but we did learn how the valve systems worked and how to screw it up. We did also find Rusto fat caps on certain detergents, certain caps, Elmer’s Spray Glue we’d rack them off of.

Any good racking stories you can share?
Didn’t rack too much, mainly ended up being getaway driver most of the time. Other than that, I would moreso go into mom and pop shops, as shitty as it sounds, fill up a box and tell them, “these cans are discontinued, you should give them to me at a discounted rate.” Talk them into that.

What is your theory on paint? Where do you get paint and why do you use what you use?
I guess, I kinda subscribe to the philosophy that, if you’re in it 100%, you shouldn’t and it should be basically impossible to pay for your paint. Granted, I was never big on racking.. I think if you’re going out every single night and painting a shitload of spots, panel pieces, wholecars, whatever, I would just be impossible unless you were some kind of millionaire to pay for your paint. And out of principle, I feel like it’s a writer’s duty to find clever ways to steal paint or get it one way or another. For the first couple of years of painting I probably paid for most of my paint, but I discovered dollar stores. So I was finding the second brands, finding old 1991 Krylon cans in Cleveland. For whatever reason, in every corner dollar store there would have $1 Terra Cotta’s. They were just everywhere, you couldn’t get away from it, which was cool in a way, even though we got sick and tired of it.

What else came out of those dollar stores?
In Cleveland, I would scour the city, all up and down the east side, I would get as deep into the hood as I could to find these places ‘cause I figured that would be the most untouched paint spots for the most part. So there was a spot off of East 55th, just kind of a no-name dollar store that I used to go to on the regular. It was always..  just to see what kind of bizarre paint they were getting in. And I knew for a while they were getting these paper label Rusto cans, Post Purple and Union Pacific Yellow. I know at one point, a couple crewmates of mine, Anoy (who also wrote Spend) and Ridl, found a dollar spot on the west side that had the same distributor as my west side spot, except I think their spot got it first. So I think they pooled their money together and bought maybe 2000 cans, or something ridiculous, of Post Purple and U.P. Yellow, and they kinda funded a little graffiti tour around close cities to Cleveland. Chicago, Indiana, stuff like that, all based on selling writers those cans, which they were eager to pay like $3 or $4 a can for, whereas they were getting it for like 50 cents on the can. This was probably around 2004 or so I think.

Nowadays what it is you use, and how do you get it?
Now, like currently at this moment, I’ve unfortunately got out of my phase of having an endless amount of paint. So I’ll still go to Home Depot here and there and I’ll still buy a can of black or a can of white Rusto just to supplement some of the other iffy paint I’ve got left over.

Do you ever save any cans?
I had a grip of collector cans for a while, and got rid of most of them because they were just kinda weighing me down. But my favorite ones, it was just a cool looking can, it was this naked lady, clear glass frosting you spray in your shower. I got a big kick out of it. I came across a million Rusto Scotties, those were always my favorite. I would try to save those or try to sell them, give them to friends who would appreciate them. If they were kinda too screwed up to sell, then I would use them. But for the most part, I would try to hang onto those. I probably would only keep about 10 or 15 collector cans for myself, because otherwise I just felt it was too much to store.

Favorite old paint stores?
I think it was all discount stores, I was hitting garage sales for a while. I wouldn’t even look at what they were selling, I would just ask them for their paint and convince them to give it to me for free. Well, if I don’t use it for some kind of business, then I would have to pay to get rid of it, and they would always go for it. It worked a handful of times. I had a pretty great come up of American Accents, about 40 cans out of someone’s garage, unused and brand new. It makes my mouth water just thinking about those colors.

Best discontinued paint and why?
Really, the first thing that comes to mind were those American Accents cans. The colors were incredible, the paint was thick as hell. Autumn Gold, Cinnamon, that deep red color… Summer Squash and Autumn Gold were just an unbelievable combo to fade into each other, or even use it as an outline if you could control it. You always had to shake the hell out of those cans, for like probably 5 minutes apiece sometimes otherwise they would clog immediately. Especially if you were even thinking about going out bombing with them, you had to sit there for maybe like a half an hour ahead of time shaking those cans to make sure they weren’t going to like shit the bed on you, make you spend too much time and end up in jail.

Worst paint you ever used?
I remember Zynolyte being awful, I remember the new Family Dollar paint being entirely unusable. There’s always the risk of old cans blowing up… OH! 1983 Rusto cans, bad year for Rust-oleum! I would look at those cans and would be thinking of a color scheme to go bombing with… I would NEVER, EVER take a 1983 Rusto can. After like one or two debacles where they either exploded or just wouldn’t work whatsoever, any color.

Best painting experiences?
First that come to mind, I guess sitting in freight yards in the Midwest and layups in Massachusetts with really good friends, there was one yard in Akron Ohio, south of Cleveland. You could go summertime, in the daytime and paint this yard. And it was just absolutely incredible, you’d be there with your shirt off, the sun’s on your back. I didn’t drink, but like everybody would be drinking beers and you’d crush out maybe like 4 or 5 pieces in a day if you wanted to. You could just sit back and look at your piece and just enjoy the day, and the people you were with, those were some pretty incredible moments.

How do you feel about Euro paints?
I don’t use it ever, kinda out of principle. Just cause , AAP, All American Paint crew, I’m with that. But moreso I just don’t want to pay for it and can’t figure out any clever way to steal it or get it yet. I have gotten it, I’ve had people buy it for me or hand off to me and I gladly use it, they have great colors. I remember having a kinda funny argument with Jaber about European paint, Belton and Montana and that type of stuff. I remember thinking, aw man that paint’s such bullshit, who wants to pay that money for it and I think you should be able to make your color schemes work out of just whatever you can get a hold of from dollar stores or hardware stores. And he on the flipside thought, man, this paint saved graffiti, this paint saved the colors that were going out when Krylon was phasing out, and Rusto was phasing out colors too. So I can’t entirely argue with that, I had to agree to disagree on that one with him.

A few cans on shelf?
To paint with or to hang on to? I never want just a few cans, I would want thousands of cans. I wanna comment on that really quick. I felt like I couldn’t really write graffiti until I got that paint gig where I had endless amounts of paint, or when we could occasionally go racking and just have hundreds and hundreds of cans of paint. ‘Cause then I could go out and paint as many spots as I wanted, paint as many wholecars as I wanted and not have to worry about, like man, that wholecar cost me $65 in paint, it just didn’t matter. It didn’t matter whether it worked or not. That kinda gave me free reign to paint as big and as often as I wanted to. But as far as a couple of cans, really that Autumn Gold just makes my mouth water to think about it. Really, to use, I would have a case of Autumn Gold, and as far as to look at… there was an old picture can, the Alpine Blue with the spiky boot, that was a great can, I’d love to have that. That’s probably about it.

Any future projects?
As far as painting, just trying to readjust how much bombing and that type of stuff I’m doing in the city I’m at now. I’m interested in traveling and getting up in different cities and I try to keep a presence in this city also.

What’s your thoughts on CMC documenting spray paint history?
I think it’s cool, I think it’s cool that somebody does it. For a while I got a little bit sick of all the hype on Ebay and stuff like that, people spending a shit-ton of money on cans, but I think mainly I was just jealous because I started to sell paint after people were finished with it and I wasn’t making money. I still think people are crazy to spend hundreds of dollars on a vintage can of paint, but yunno what, if it makes you happy, it makes you happy.

How do you typically plan your color schemes?
Really most of it for me is out of utility. I wouldn’t say I put a ton of time into thinking about color schemes, unless I’m doing some kind of production piecing wall, which probably happens like once a year. But on freights, I get pretty excited about putting color schemes together. My dude Norms turned me onto doing outlines in colors I would never have messed around with, like doing a dark fill and doing an outline in yellow. Or doing a dark fill and an outline in like light blue. For whatever reason I just couldn’t wrap my head around that early on, so he just turned me onto kinda experimenting with color schemes I never would have checked out otherwise.

Any comments or shouts?
I think I’m good for now. Yeah, no shouts. Thanks.