In the Beginning

It all started way back in 1986 after I saw the Beastie Boys on Top of the Pops and thought they were cool. At the time I was listening to bands like Bon Jovi and Europe, hairspray heavy metal and nowhere near as raw as the Beasties. For a pubescent teenager looking for an outlet these guys were ideal, they trashed things (like rolling cars over in the street when they came to the UK), drank beer, liked girls, were lewd and loud. Perfect role models!

On tour at the time with the Beasties were RUN DMC so I started listening to them as well and basically discovered Hip Hop. From there it snowballed. I started hanging out with another guy called Carpo who was also in to the Beasties and through him got copies of the Electro albums. We’d also do this thing each time we got a new album where we’d look at the dedications on the back. Here you would find names such as Schooly D, T La Rock etc and so we’d check their stuff out, check their dedications and find more. As we were now properly into the whole Hip Hop movement it was only a matter of time before we got interested in the other elements. We were both crap at dancing so breaking was out, DJing wasn’t a possibility as we couldn’t get hold of the equipment (we were living in a small village in Wales i.e. Nowhere) but we could both draw.

I first started drawing graffiti properly after seeing a billboard ad that T-Kid painted for TDK tapes in a magazine. The image is below…

I copied the style, which is basically a tarted up block letter piece, and drew different designs forming new letters. At about the same time a friend from school also started drawing graffiti. He was a total natural and started pulling off really stylish letters from the outset. He’s still painting now under the name Dime One (see the links). Through him I discovered the local skateboard bowl where guys that were already painting, such as System, Storm and Spy, had put up paintings. Then we got hold of ‘Subway Art’ followed a few years later by ‘Spraycan Art’ and that’s when it really took off.

At this point all my efforts were strictly on paper, however the petrol station at the top of the road where I lived shut down and soon became a dilapidated building that kids played in. One day Carpo and I climbed in there and put up our first hits in paint. We were aware of the fact that our first attempt might look pants and so were considerate enough to paint inside the building. From that day I continued to paint, developing my style and skills, got to know more and more people who were into the scene and started hanging out with other writers such as Spy. I carried on painting graffiti for the next five years, had some of the most memorable adventures and got a criminal record on route.

B-Boy character from 1987

News trackside piece 1988

Got busted doing this one. At least we managed to get it finished before the boys in blue arrived.

Yeah! His royal flyness. Again from 1988

Doing another trackside hit. As if it wasn’t stupid enough to do it in the daytime we also took photo’s. Concrete evidence if ever it were needed. It wasn’t as it happens as we got away with it.

I think part of the reasons I was attracted to graffiti in the first place was the rebellious aspect of it. I always loved to draw but this was something different. At the end of the day you are breaking the law and running round in the dead of night with a bag of paint on your back is a great buzz. Going back the next day to see what you painted, and watch people stare at it, is also a fantastic feeling. After five years, however, it was time to move on as Acid House was knocking at my door.

It’s not very often in life that you get that fire in your belly and do things because you have a passion for it and graffiti was definitely a passion that consumed me. Watch the video below and who knows, it may just get you fired up….

The Beastie Boys – (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)
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